‘Hakaw,’ ‘laksa,’ ‘spicy chicken wings’  and yogurt  – all in  one-stop food tour

A short and quick tour with lasting gustatory impression.

Yes, this was exactly the purpose of the recent food trip organized by FooDee Global Concepts highlighting its four newly opened brands at Gateway Mall 2 in Quezon City — Tim Ho Wan, Hawker Chan, Pound and LlaoLlao.

“In preparation for the ‘ber’ months, we simultaneously opened four restaurants within the same mall on the same week,” said Eric Dee, FooDee chief executive officer.

FooDee Global Concepts is one of country’s leading and largest multi-brand, lifestyle food and beverage group and home of well-loved restaurants. It operates more than 180 restaurants nationwide.


Tim Ho Wan’s updated menu
It’s Tim Ho Wan’s ninth branch at Gateway Mall 2. This favorite dim sum house has been in the country since 2015 after opening its first store at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City. It was founded in 2009 in Hong Kong by chef Mak Kwai Pui, who was the executive chef of Lung King Heen, a three-star Michelin at Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong.

“He left the hotel industry and decided to open Tim Ho Wan, which was a 20-seater restaurant in Mongkok district serving all kinds of dim sum. Fast forward a year later, he was awarded one Michelin star as the cheapest Michelin resto in the world at that time,” narrated Dee.

Then the rest is history. Tim Ho Wan now operates about 84 stores around the globe.

“I don’t know if everyone knows but Tim Ho Wan worldwide is now owned by the Jollibee group,” disclosed Dee. “But for the Philippine operations, FooDee Global Concepts still owns and operates all the existing stores for the next eight to 10 years. It will still be under our operations.”

“We are working together with the Jollibee group and their headquarters in Singapore to make sure that everything is up to standard. Last month, chef Mak was in Manila to audit our food. So, there are some improvements in our menu, such as the barbecue pork buns which is not as red as you’d expect it to be. We also updated some of our items for the better.”

The brand team also made some chef’s specials from the previous menu a permanent part of the menu, such as the tofu pork floss, wasabi salad prawn dumpling, beef balls with beancurd skin and hakaw.
Fried rice, which was only part of the chef’s special, is also now on the permanent menu.

“We were selling about 100 to 200 fried rice every day. We had to include it in the new menu,” Dee said.

Tim Ho Wan, which is still popular for its signature baked pork buns, pork and shrimp dumplings and pork congee with century and salted eggs, remains to be the most famous Michelin-star dim sum restaurant in the world.

HAWKER Chan’s Laksa.

Hawker Chan’s ‘soya sauce chicken’ and ‘buchi’
This is Hawker Chan’s 14th store and its famous soya sauce chicken got tastier and more tender. It uses freshly slaughtered chicken — never frozen, according to Dee — and slowly poached at the master broth from Singapore. The chicken is dipped in the soy broth and cooked slowly for 30 minutes at 96-degree Celsius, making the chicken dish even more packed with umami goodness.

“Fun fact,” offered Dee. “Hawker Chan is the first-ever Michelin-rated restaurant as a hawker coming out of Singapore and it’s currently the cheapest Michelin star in the world.”

Start your gastronomic journey here with Hawker Chan items in bowls, such as wonton noodle, chicken noodle, charsiew noodle, beef wonton noodle, and get that spicy kick in laksa bowls like chicken laksa, fishball laksa and seafood laksa.

Sample also at least three to four main courses. Noteworthy are the charsiew, roast pork, fried pork, roast duck and salt and pepper fish.

“We are now in version 2.0,” Dee said. “The original version is more like a quick-service type. Now, we want to elevate it a bit to justify our prices. You can still order from the food counter or you can opt to sit down and we take your order and serve you. We also updated our look with relax and comfortable seats.”

“We also added new items on the menu, such as the duck and more noodles dishes like laksa which was not in the original version,” Dee added.

Diners should also try its homemade chili and pickled chili to help cut through the richness of its dishes.

For dessert, don’t miss the underrated and oh-so-good Peanut Buchi.

Dee said Hawker Chan is already open for franchise. There’s now Hawker Chan in Sorsogon City, Legazpi City and Baguio City.

LLAOLLAO’S refreshing yogurt.

Pound’s spiciest challenge
For its 11th branch, Pound presents its spicy wings, in collaboration with the Philippine Hot Sauce Club. This homegrown joint known for its burgers offers six hottest sauces in the country with levels from one to six — six being the spiciest (yes, it’s so spicy enough to make your body feel warmer, your face flushed, your nose run and your eyes water).

The sauces pair well with any of Pound’s favorites morsels, including the chicken wings, crispy chicken sliders, rosemary chicken and pizza poutine.

But you can jumpstart your meal with starters, such as onion cube, truffle French beans, parmesan fries and crispy goat cheese salad.

“We first opened in 2016 and we are really doing well even up to this day,” shared Dee. “But, from the original concept of being a burger place, we now transformed into a gastropub serving wines and spirits. If burgers were the star back in 2016, moving forward we are now known as a chicken place. We prepare about hundred kilos of chicken wings every day within the Pound stores and it’s currently our number item on the menu.”

Llaollao’s healthy yogurts
“Nothing is new in Llaollao but lately, we are surprised that there is always a long queue in every outlet,” Dee said.

Well, people line up to get a taste of this Spanish frozen yogurt with a wide range of flavors and toppings — chocolate, honey, pistachio, wild strawberries, dulce de leche, fruits of the forest and many more.

Llaollao is now on its 36th store at Gateway Mall 2. It aims to hit 50 by year end. It’s also open for franchise.

“It’s our superstar right now,” claimed Dee. “We just opened four stores last month and it is run by my sister. We already have Llaollao in Iloilo and soon to open in Cebu, Davao, CDO and a few more within the region. I still don’t know why we have long lines.”

So, if you ever find yourself wandering at the new Gateway Mall 2, these are the places you should stop in for real gustatory dining experience.