I’ve been meaning to try this place with A, but it’s in SM Aura, and we almost never go to SM on weekends. Our only mall time is when we do groceries in Market! Market! on Saturday mornings. So to break my three-time streak of dining solo at Toast Box every time I run errands in SM, I’ve decided to solo-dine at Ping Pong Diplomacy.
Dark blue isn’t a color you’d normally associate with food, but that made the interiors of Ping Pong Diplomacy so interesting for me. It definitely stands out and makes you wonder what kind of gastronomic adventure you’d get to experience once you step in.
When alone, I normally dine past 2pm to avoid the lunch crowd. (Also to have a couple of hours more added on to my fast.) There was nobody in PPD when I got there; I could take a big table if I wanted to.
My first dilemma was that my orders were confined to noodles and some sandwiches or appetizers, as the other items were dubbed ‘big plates.’ They offer this Oriental Burger + Hong Kong milk tea set during off-peak hours so I thought I’d go for that, and maybe one of the noodles.
I ordered the Szechuan Pork Belly Noodles–a best-seller, according to the small icon. My husband would normally just look at these Best Seller! or House Specialty icons and order what a restaurant claims to be really good at every time we dine at a new place, but the Oriental Burgers (toasted baos) were suggesting the Szechuan Pork Belly again, so I went on to be a rebel and ordered the Five Spice Chicken Oriental Burger instead.
And you know when there are days you regret not doing what your husband / dad / boyfriend / girlfriend / mom / wife says, and that if they were present you’d get the “I told you so,” line?
That’s how Five Spice Chicken Oriental Burger felt like.
On my first bite, the word ironic popped in my head. Five Spice, but ironically it begged for more spices. Even salt and pepper would be a step to redemption. The dryness of the shredded chicken sandwiched between toasted baos was too depressing.
My second bite determined it would be a waste of carbs and calories. I’ve decided not to finish this burger, and patiently waited for my noodles.
Took a sip of the Hong Kong Milk Tea and asked for more ice. I’m glad it wasn’t sweet, but it wasn’t mind blowing either. Quite honestly, I could’ve gone to Chowking and ordered asado siopao and nai cha for much cheaper, and be way more satisfied.
And then this glorious smelling bowl of noodles (good for one hungry person) arrived.
It’s savory, filling, and very tasty. As a Filipino, it’s like a tasty pancit that you’d either want to pair with rice, or a piece of bread. As I told my husband later that day, this bowl tasted like a really good ramen minus the broth. And that Szechuan pork belly portion was so tender and flavorful as if it was the equivalent of your chashu pork on most ramens.
So that was weird and–again–ironic. I only ordered two things and one was something I couldn’t even finish, yet the other was absolutely wonderful. Huh.
Yay or Nay?
If not for the noodles, I’d totally say I won’t go back. But it might be worth another try. So that’s a maybe for now.
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* I paid for my food and dined as a regular customer. You can read full disclaimer / disclosures here.