Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie is out to impress with its HK specialties

8 months ago


We walked into Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie craving for their snowy buns, only to be greeted with a cheery “bonjour!” The servers were wearing berets as they served spicy curries. Glass chandeliers hang from the ceiling, while cans of Hong Kong’s leading milk brand line the counter top.

In a country where budget-friendly fast food and high-end tea houses have made Chinese food seem ubiquitous, Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie offers something different: authentic Hong Kong comfort food in a French ambiance.

But in spite of their modern interiors, Tuan Tuan’s recipes stay close to the Hong Kong originals—just the way their regulars like it.


We looked around Tuan Tuan and every table has at least one order of Crispy Barbecued Pork Snow Buns. Served hot, with juicy pork bundled in a sweet, flaky crust? I could have a snow bun any time of the day. Apparently everyone is a fan of the dish too as Rockwell’s branch makes around 1,500 pieces daily.

“The secret is after they wrap the bun, there’s a special icing they put on top,” says marketing communications manager Katrina Hernandez. “When it’s baked, it melts down and coats the entire bun.”

The other must-try is the signature Halibut Soup, made with Canadian halibut simmered for hours until the broth becomes infused with hearty flavor. With 10 soup bases, 7 kinds of noodles, and 34 toppings to choose from, each bowl becomes endlessly customizable.

First-timers can spring for Tuan Tuan’s recommended sets, but it’s more fun to build your own combination from scratch. My pick? Laksa with wide hofun noodles, topped with sliced cuttlefish and mushroom balls. Go for a combo meal to have it served with a deep-fried fish fillet and a hot or cold glass of nai cha (milk tea).

Tuan Tuan’s varied menu reflects Hong Kong’s cha chaan teng, or teahouse culture, where a wide array of dishes is tied together by virtue of being comfort food. These include the Pork Meatball Congee that’s slow-cooked until the rice disintegrates into a delicate smoothness served with a separate plate of fried crullers, and rich Chicken Fillet Curry that go perfectly with a heap of steaming rice.


Hole in the wall joints in Hong Kong usually offer Macanese dishes, and it’s no different with Tuan Tuan. We tried the House Special Trio, which blankets fluffy rice with baked seafood, wild mushrooms, and pork chops. The Portuguese-influenced flavors are heavier—the tomato sauce suddenly calling to mind a Filipino-Spanish dish—while good-for-sharing servings give bang for your buck.

We close our meal with Pineapple Snow Buns, a sweet take on their famous buns filled with pineapple bits and topped with a swirl of pineapple syrup. If you’re sharing dessert with a larger group, try the Fried Black & White Milk Bread. Soft mantou cubes are topped with crushed peanuts and served with a cup of Black & White condensed milk, a Holland brand synonymous with quality cafés in Hong Kong.

“You won’t find Black & White milk in groceries, even in Hong Kong. They’re very picky about the restaurants they supply to,” shares Katrina. “My father had to go to Hong Kong and Taiwan to convince them!” Pro tip: Level up the creaminess factor by pairing your desserts with a cup of Horlicks for drinking and dunking.)

Whether you’re there for a full-table family meal, on a date where you share several dishes, or just want to spend quality “me time” with comfort food—Tuan Tuan’s attention to quality and East-meets-West aesthetic creates an experience that’s familiar and fresh at the same time.

Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie. 3rd Floor, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati City

Words by Ceej Tantengco
Photographed by Ron Mendoza of Studio 100

The Chinese certainly have an influential way of cooking their food:

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