Good Earth Tea Room is where I go when I want Chinese cuisine that’s very different from the usual. Somehow, the food here isn’t as oily or as run-of-the-mill, both of which are not bad things because sometimes I want oily and run-of-the-mill.
Good Earth also doesn’t look like a Chinese restaurant, unless you count the statue of a towering Chinese soldier situated in the corner. The place has a very Zen feel to it, very conducive to meetings and when I want to have a long, quiet lunch with a good friend.
Popoy’s Delight (P350) is without a doubt, THE most popular dish at Good Earth. Everyone is drawn to it for their own reasons, but I think it’s because this steamed fish dish with ham is a more healthy choice, thus less guilt-inducing. The fish fillets are always cooked just ”˜til tender, and the sauce is delicately redolent of ham.
Good Earth can be counted on for their creativity. Consider this crispy chicken pao (P130): a dumpling wrapper enclosing a chicken filling and then deep-fried for maximum crunch. So artistically appealing. It poses a bit of a dilemma however, as to how it’s to be eaten ”“ should I just bite the middle? Nibble it around the sides and work my way in? Attack it with a fork? Or throw all caution to the winds and stuff the whole thing into my mouth? Ah, eating is an adventure. I love it.
I’m mad about taro and anything that it’s cooked with, so I’d naturally fall for this roasted duck with taro and lychee (P495). Admittedly, the lychee bit is a bit disarming, and I’m not all that convinced that it belongs with this dish. Still, the duck is exquisite, a crunch of skin followed by the alternating softness of duck meat and then taro. Of course, me being the taro nut that I am, I wish there were more taro here.
This is Good Earth’s version of lemon chicken, that Chinese restaurant staple. Here, it’s called Shantung spicy chicken (P350). Exponentially more crunchy than the usual, this has a vibrant lemon flavor that sits on the palate and brightens with every bite.
When in the mood for something lighter, duck siopao (P75) always pleases me. How can I not be enchanted with something so mini and so all for me? Of course, the plate of cold cuts (P290) that I call the “welcoming committee” in any Chinese restaurant is a no-fail starter. I don’t know about other people, but there are never enough century eggs for everybody.
Anything that has the word “grasshopper” attached to it usually means mint, a flavor I’m wary of. But when this grasshopper delight (P150) arrived at the table, I all but jumped on it like an excited … er, grasshopper. Quite ingenious this one: buko-pandan flavored gulaman balls, mandarin orange segments, a scoop of mantecado ice cream (a hybrid of vanilla ice cream), and a chocolate barquillo, which I felt was quite out of place. Still, I embrace any dessert that makes me feel like a kid again: the gulaman balls felt like marbles and nibbling on a little barquillo that I didn’t have to fight with Boo for is bliss.
The best combination in any dessert is one that masterfully combines both elements of hot and cold. This icy hot banana (P105) has little banana fritters taking cover under a scoop of mantecado ice cream. A pistachio nut sprinkle and the thin blade of green has this dessert cross over from dessert to creation.
Oriental Cuisine and Bar
The Fort Entertainment Center
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
887-5100 / 887-7500