Cantonese Soup Kitchen at Banawe

Banawe, QC is not only a place for car afficionados, it's also a place for foodies. Razon's, Mr.Poon, Chinatown's Best, Le Ching, Tramway, Savory, and Causeway are just some familiar names you'll see along the stretch of this well-known street. Then, one day:

"Hello fellow bloggers, See you tomorrow at 7pm for the food event. Venue: The Cantonese Soup Kitchen (although the signage says Canton Soup Kitchen) Unit C-847 Banawe cor. Linaw St., Quezon City. The restaurant is located right beside Figaro."


I'm a frequent customer of the the place across Figaro (Slice 'N Dice, not the other one, you naughty naughty you) but I've never seen Canton Soup Kitchen. I didn't want to google so I wrote down the address on a piece of paper (because I'm old school like that) and made my way to the venue with a huge heavy bag filled with flashlights (don't ask).

The restaurant, which was quite small, was filled with customers when I arrived. I proceeded to the 2nd floor where Rowena (thanks for the invite, btw) welcomed me with a smile. She then said, "order ka na ng soup kasi it's good for one only." I was handed the menu and was surprised, curious even, with the different varieties of Chinese Herbal Soup being offered.

The caption reads: "Chinese Herbal Soups Menu is a most natural dietary way to good health. Adding Chinese Herbs to soups is a long tradition and a distinctive feature of Cantonese Cuisine. Chinese herbs have very well-known curative functions for the human body. And one of the mose common way to use Chinese herbs is to brew them together with meats over slow fire for 2 to 3 hours, releasing all the essences and nutrients of the ingredients into the soup - which the body can absorb and assimilate quickly without having to digest and breakdown the meats and herbs. This is the most ideal and natural way to obtain loads of nutrients minus the calories."

I was quite hesitant to order anything from the list because I don't want to eat anything with herbs. We have chinese tea at home and I don't drink it because of the taste. Don't like. :( But I decided to give CSK a try so I ordered the Cogon Grass with Spareribs Soup (Php170).

served on a tall slim bowl, filled to the rim

It's description on the menu says: This soup is concocted to act on the heart, lung, stomach, and urinary bladder channels and acts on the Qi in the lung and the stomach. This herbal soup is recommended by traditional Chinese doctors to help heal nose blead and alleviate pain in urination.
The urinary bladder part got my attention because I have annoying UTI problems. The Qi part I didn't understand at all. The nosebleed part made me lol.

cogon grass with a hefty portion of meat

you need not eat the meat nor the grass, just finish the soup because all the nutrients are there, k?
The owner of the restaurant was nice enough to sit down with us for a casual conversation. He shared that most of the Herbal Soup recipes originated from his wife's aunt in Hong Kong. "But the challenge is to make herbal soup without the herbal taste," he added.

Well, sir, congrats on that! My cogon grass soup didn't taste herbal at all! It actually tasted like nilaga minus the usual oil (read: bad cholesterol + calories) from the meat. The spare ribs are soft and tender while the soup itself is light and smells really great.

 thank you :)

must-mush of the day: the kid on the right is the owners' son

Another must-try, according to the restaurant owner (sorry i forgot the name) is the Sibot w/ Duck Soup (Php195). Jennie, Jeff, Bong, and Iris tried this dark-colored variant and they also noted its non-herbal taste. Plus, I heard the duck meat was tender as it was slow-cooked for several hours. Maybe I should try this next time? Need. To. Be. Brave.

Here's an interesting fact: Sibot soup is perfect for women who just gave birth. So if you'll visit a friend or relative at the hospital, why not consider giving herbal soup as a present instead of monays and cakes and what-nots that the patient won't eat anyway?

Sibot is one of the oldest and most popular Chinese herbal soup recipes. The soup is famous for restoring energy and strengthening the immune system, and is very good for men and women of all ages

Aside from the soup, CSK also offers quite a number of awesome dishes that you should try. On our table are the following:

Seafood Fried Rice (Php190)

Yang Chow Fried Rice (Php170)

Other special rice varieties include Salted Fish Fried Rice (Php170), Chorizo Fried Rice (Php170), Curry Fried Rice (Php160), Pork w/ Vegetable Fried Rice (Php 170), Mixed Vegetable Fried Rice (Php170), and Garlic Fried Rice (Php120). These are served in a stainless bowl and good for 2-3 pax. If you're on a solo food trip, a cup of plain rice is sold at Php35.

Steamed Fish Fillet Garlic w/ Japanese Tofu (Php230) is wow. You know how some Chinese places use the same sauce on different dishes? *cough*MannHann*cough*NorthPark*cough* I hate that. With CSK, every item I tried (except for the fried rice) has its own characteristics. Especially this one. I like how the sauce compliments the fish and tofu. The bell peppers and green onions don't only add color, they also lessen the fish smell.

Cold Tofu with Pork Floss in Special Sauce (Php120). Generous servings of tofu slices with bits of pork floss (if you've been to Breadtalk, you know what floss is) on top. The special sauce is not just soy sauce because it is....SPECIAL. Huhlolz. Perfect appetizer, reasonable price.

Garlic Burst Spareribs (Php190). This Dragon Ball-inspired dish may seem ho-hum at sight but you'll change your mind once you've taken a bite of the crunchy fried pork. CSK wasn't kidding when it said 'garlic burst' because you could really taste garlic in each piece. I don't mean the 'ewww garlic' taste but the 'yummmm garlic' taste. But the downside? Small serving (around 8pcs per order) and most of it are bones and/or fat. Also, I was kidding when I said 'dragon-ball inspired.' Come on, Garlic Burst? Who wouldn't visualize two spareribs going hadouken on each other? Oh. Wait. I think that's a different story.

Moving on, below are some of the basic dishes offered at CSK. By basic, I meant the items you would order in any other Chinese restaurants. Of the three, I would highly recommend the Seafood w/ Brocolli.

 Seafood w/ Brocolli (Php280)

Beef Brocolli w/ Oyster Sauce (Php240)
Honey Glazed Pork (Php210)

For dessert, I ordered the Mango Sago (Php55) which turned out to be a thicker version of ripe mango shake mixed with sago balls. My seatmates Christa and Bong (who lol-ed over a Chinese joke about egg, chicken, and duck that only them could understand hehe) got the Mango Pudding (Php65) which is very very cute with its heart-shaped gelatin goodness <3

AAAAANNNNDDDD, Buchi. Hello there.

Read more yummy entries on CSK from:
Jennie / Jeff

Group shot by Pinayads.com

The Cantonese Soup Kitchen is located at Unit C-847 Banawe cor. Linaw St., Quezon City, open everyday from 10am to 11pm. Credit Cards are accepted.
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