Din Tai Fung Philippines Celebrates XLB Day

DEC 2016

It’s been nearly one year since Din Tai Fung opened its first store in the Philippines. To herald the year since the world’s most famous Xiao Long Bao reached its shores, Din Tai Fung declares DTF Xiao Long Bao Day! Last December 8, which marked the anniversary, diners were treated to one peso Chocolate Lava Xiao Long Bao for every order of Xiao Long Bao of their choice. Lines flocked the original store at SM Megamall and the newest location at Bonifacio High Street Central. Steaming baskets of sweet and savory Xiao Long Bao alike landed on tables during lunch and throughout dinner time while fun games and freebies entertained those waiting in line.

Baskets of Chocolate Lava Xiao Long Bao were wiped out that day but the festivities don’t end there. With a single receipt purchase of P1,000, diners can win a three-day-two-night trip for two to Taiwan, the birthplace of Din Tai Fung. The promo is inclusive of tickets care of Eva Air, hotel accommodations, a city tour care of Jeron Travel, and special visits to the first ever Din Tai Fung outlet and to the world-renowned Din Tai Fung Taipei 101.

The celebration of DTF Xiao Long Bao Day continues beyond the anniversary date and remains the everyday occasion in Din Tai Fung Philippines.

World’s Most Famous Soup Dumpling Shop, Din Tai Fung, Comes to Bonifacio Global City


NOV 2016

Hailed as “The World’s Greatest Dumplings” by Forbes, and a basket of “small miracles” by Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold, the world-famous soup dumplings of Din Tai Fung have finally made their way to the bustling district of Bonifacio Global City.

On its opening day, the store awarded the first person in line, Lorenzo Villanueva, with P12,000 worth of gift certificates for waiting in line for over 28 hours. And for the entire opening week, 50 free baskets of Xiao Long Bao were given away. Inside the 200-seater restaurant, there was more in store for diners who braved the lines on opening day. In addition to the six kinds of Xiao Long Bao available at the first Megamall shop (pork, crab roe and pork, chicken, green squash and shrimp, truffle and pork, and foie gras and chicken), the newest flavor debuting at Din Tai Fung BGC is the Pork and Roasted Garlic Xiao Long Bao. Also new on the menu are Philippine exclusive featured dishes that now come in portions good for 1-2 people or for groups of 3-4: Salted Egg Yolk Squid, Hot Garlic Spareribs, Sweet and Sour Prawns, Steamed Fish in Superior Soy Sauce, Shredded Pork Fried Rice.

Fitting for a business and lifestyle district like Bonifacio Global City, the new location’s space was designed to keep diners coming back. Interiors are decked by unique and local art pieces. Visual artist, Mars Bugaoan, has created a suspended installation of heated plastic, which resembles a chandelier that casts shadows on the wall—an effect of light hitting the art work. In the main dining area, diners are met by a wall-mounted triptych on which Bugaoan makes use of heated plastic, defined by arresting colors of red, black, and purple. On the opposite end is digital mixed media artist, Reese Lansangan’s chronicles of Din Tai Fung’s roots through digital print collage on canvas.

Moment Group is responsible for bringing Din Tai Fung to Philippine shores. The restaurant group is known for cutting-edge restaurant concepts 8Cuts Burgers, Manam Comfort Filipino, Phat Pho Manila, Linguini Fini Manila, Ooma, Mecha Uma, and Bank Bar. Fast and friendly customer service plus a commitment to the decades-old Xiao Long Bao recipe is key for TMG founding members Eliza Antonino, Abba Napa, and Jon Syjuco, who acquired the franchise in 2014.

8Cuts Burgers Launches a New Menu


NOV 2016

There’s a new mantra going around 8Cuts’ burger joints – dishing out only the good stuff between our buns, starting with the beef. First up is the crowd favorite House Blend that mixes in brisket, short rib, and quality ribeye, lending out that juicy burst of flavor between every gob. Its partner in crime is a grass-fed burger patty, that’s lightly salted and leaner to the bite, with its mix of sirloin, round tip flank, and short plate; with less fat on its back for all those out there with a hankering for a good burger, without all the guilt. Melding with these juicy patties is a choice of house blend cheeses. We’re talking beer cheese with Belgian wheat, béchamel gruyere, blue cheese, house cheddar, and parmesan crusted mozzarella.

The new menu has rolled out in all 11 8Cuts burger joints, but the formal launch was set in the TMG Test Kitchen housed at The Moplex, home base of The Moment Group. Guests enjoyed the two burger patties in slider size, with house-made buns and the freshest vegetables with an array of the good stuff like sugar glazed house-made corned beef, house-smoked bacon sliced on site, bacon-onion compote, black truffle oil, and a range of sauces made from scratch. Joining the party were a couple of 8Cuts’ signature sidekicks – Skinny Fries and Onion Rings which now comes in bucket size. For the big finish, desserts came in the form of Turtle Pie Ice Cream and Peach Cobbler Ice Cream Sundaes.

Give this beefed up menu a try at any of our 11 shops: Alabang Town Center, Eastwood, Greenbelt 2, Promenade Greenhills, Rockwell, Salcedo Village, Serendra, SM Megamall, SM MOA, Trinoma, and UP Town Center.

P.H.A.T. Pho Opens in Rockwell


SEP 2016

To much of Rockwell’s anticipation, Phat Pho opened its second outlet in Manila since it came to the capital in 2014. Phat Pho, originally from the esteemed Abaca Group of Cebu have collaborated yet again with the Moment Group so that more diners can enjoy modern street style Vietnamese fare.

Phat Pho’s signature pho is pretty hot and tasty as ever, with the Seafood Pho now permanently on the menu. In addition to this Vietnamese classic, the restaurant also serves up the crowd favorites such as the Saigon Baguette Banh Mi, with house-made baguette; bite-sized and addicting rolls of Goi Cuon; your choice of tender skewered Pork Belly, Chicken, or Angus Beef Satay; and the cravable carb staple, Com Chien.

The Vietnamese kitchen continues to dish out a variety of pho, alongside a delicious array of modernized Vietnamese street food fare, making it everyone’s upbeat and casual noodle bar of choice.

The Moment Group Opens The Mess Hall in Makati


JULY 2016

An apostle for gastronomic innovation, The Moment Group is in constant search for food ideas worth one’s salt. Their latest venture is a peek into their own private playground: the Mess Hall.

Located at the ground floor of Moplex—TMG’s headquarters and central kitchens—Mess Hall is an addition to the rapidly expanding food movement along Pasong Tamo Extension. The place acts as a cafeteria in adulthood, from the self service counters to the long communal tables. A perennial pop-up of their ingenuity, Mess Hall will be serving up and dishing out meals from The Moment Group’s personal concepts—beginning with Manam. Featured in Mess Hall’s Manam spin-off are 19 of the restaurant’s choice diner favorites, from the Sinigang of Short Rib and Watermelon, to Oxtail Kare-kare, to the Lechon Batchoy.

Like any of TMG’s other homegrown brands, this spectacular first setup is only the beginning for what the Mess Hall has in store for curious diners

Ooma Opens in Rockwell


JUNE 2016

Following the success of its inaugural outpost, The Moment Group’s Ooma now opens its doors to a brand new neighborhood: in the Edades Tower of Rockwell, Makati.

With the introduction of this second outpost, a range of new items are making their way to the menu, which include a Maguro Zuke Taco Maki; an open faced temaki wrap with a soy and olive oil-marinated piece of tuna, with an egg yolk dipping sauce. Joining the rundown of Aburi Makis is an oyster variant that packs a crunch and creamy cheesiness to the bite. The new menu also introduces a dish inspired by Ricketts’s recent trip to Japan: an Anago Truffle and Mushroom Soba, which has fresh water eel tempura above a mound of steamy buckwheat noodles in hot broth.

An added element to Ooma’s new outpost is an homage to The Moment Group founders’—Eliza Antonino, Abba Napa, and Jon Syjuco’s—shared affinity for sake. Because of this, a sake den has taken up residence in Ooma’s second floor, featuring a wide variety of sake.

Bold Japanese Flavors at Make Your Own Havaianas 2016


APRIL 2016

Summer in the Philippines became official with one of the most awaited annual event in the country, Make Your Own Havaianas. At the VIP kickoff event held last April 21 at the Mega Fashion Hall, we said konnichiwa to 11 years of fun and thrill in creating a bespoke pair of flip-flops in various colors and pins of choice. This year’s theme was a tribute to traditional Japanese designs weaved from the Shibori technique. Alongside the intricate flip-flop patterns were one-of-a-kind pins like the sakura flower, zori sandal, Japanese fan, ramen, Sumo wrestler, empress, robot, sushi, ninja, Japanese beer and Japan lettering that had guests testing their creative prowess in selecting their pins and have them placed strategically on the straps.

A perfect match to the Japanese theme was Ooma Japanese Rice Bar and guests were treated to bold new flavors in the form of Spicy Tuna Maki, crunchy Ebi Tempura Maki and Corn Kakiage. As a nod to the Brazilian Caipirinha, OOMA created a “Sakerinha,“ a light refreshment made with a sake base, lime wedges and sugar cubes.

Next to enjoying a new pair from the Shibori collection, MYOH goers also received reward cards from Linguini Fini, Ooma and 8Cuts, all at the Mega Fashion Hall, perfect pit stops for the hungry new owners of MYOH 2016 flip-flops!

The Moment Group and Bank Bar at Madrid Fusion Manila 2016


APRIL 2016

Madrid Fusion Manila, the biggest gastronomical congress that brings the world’s most renowned chefs, was an event clad with inspiring presentations from culinary mavericks who came to share their experiences with food and new techniques. One of the highlights of the event were the Regional Lunches organized by the Department of Agriculture which featured Filipino chefs who showcased distinct and sensational Filipino flavours.

Participating on the final day of the festivities, which was curated by Town&Country executive editor, Alicia Sy, were The Moment Group and Bank Bar who whipped up dishes and drinks in line with the theme: Philippine Street Food. Fully embracing the theme, the two stalls were hard to miss with a towering rainbow umbrella, plastic barrels brimming with street drinks, and colourful table covers resembling the humble street canteens in Manila.

Corporate Head Chef Robert Bolanos at the helm of the Moment Group creations, turned turon into a tartlet with poached banana in peppered Palawan honey and langka mousse. Next to these addictive treats were the Laguna delicacy, binatog. Creamy roasted yellow corn tossed in house-made cheese whiz salt in coconut fritters.

Right beside the TMG stall was Bank Bar. True to its reputation for inventive cocktails, Bank Bar came up with a playful roster of pampalamigs and pampalasings – Filipino street coolers mixed in with local liquor. There was a Pinoy Pickleback showcasing burong mangga: pickled mangoes with whiskey, chased with a nostalgic Boracay inspired longga burger. The refreshing Buko Pandan Daiquiri was Inspired by the local buko pandan. The Green Mango Margarita with green mango infused tequila offered a sour kick while the Drunken Sago’t Gulaman posed no pretentious potency. Mimicking the simple sago’t gulaman enjoyed in the streets, this cocktail’s actual sago and gulaman were infused with Don Papa Rum to give an extra burst of alcohol in every sip and bite. Even Virgilio Martinez, Latin America’s number one chef, stopped by for this crowd-pleasing liquid courage.

Taking the service of street food to heart were the Moment Group’s very own Eliza Antonino, Abba Napa and Jon Syjuco who joined TMG chefs and bartenders in handing out the street treats and drinks.

Manam Opens in BGC



Nothing feels more Filipino than being welcomed into one’s home and being invited to eat at the table with heaping mounds of homemade fare. Manam Comfort Food, which takes its cues from the word malinamnam—heartily tasty—was born from this tradition of unfolding homeyness to anyone and everyone. Since 2013 it has managed to guide diners, from the city and beyond, into a semblance of home in the Philippines.

Now on its 4th outlet in Bonifacio Global City (after Greenbelt 2, Mall of Asia, and Ayala Fairview Terraces), Manam is happy to add house-made ingredients like kesong puti and local sauces like vinegar and soy sauce, as well as new heartily tasty dishes to the mix, still in classics and twists. There’s the all-day breakfast with House-made Tapsilog or the Sugar Glazed Corned Beef. The all-day Pancit Sisig is sure to satisfy, with Manam’s award-winning House Crispy Sisig (currently No. 1 on Spot.ph’s list of the Best Sisig in Manila!) on top of addictingly flavorful Pinoy pancit canton, alongside equally tasty Pancit Bihon and Pancit Palabok. Sweet and memorable additions to the menu include a full roster of merienda favorites, like Bibingkang Galapong of Salted Duck Egg, and for a twist, there’s the Bibingkang Ube served with a swirl of ube and drizzled with a generous amount of grated coconut. These new dishes are perfect all day but especially for the Pinoy mid-afternoon snack or merienda. All these new malinamnam flavors at Manam’s new outlet is matched by a lovely high-ceilinged space, bright and as comforting and enjoyable as the food. A private room, good for 10, is available for any occasion.

“And that is at the heart of what Manam is meant to do for Pinoy cuisine – expand its occasions for having it. With atmosphere and with portion – so you can dress up or dress down and feel fine here. You can dine solo as a tourist or with your entire family or barkada and can enjoy Pinoy fare the way it is supposed to be enjoyed – with lots of ulam to choose from on the table,” says Abba Napa, one of the Moment Group restaurateurs.

This is the kind of house we’ve built, and nothing more feels quite like home than welcoming you to Manam’s tables.

Din Tai Fung Opens in the Philippines



The very first Din Tai Fung in the Philippines was unveiled last December 7, 2015 at the Mega Fashion Hall of SM Megamall. To mark the event, Din Tai Fung owner and chairman, Warren Yang, flew in with his Taiwan team, to celebrate the local launch and oversee operations. Together with the Moment Group restaurateurs Eliza Antonino, Abba Napa and Jon Syjuco, and SM Prime Holdings president, Hans Sy, Mr. Yang led the ceremonial ribbon cutting. No less thanPresident Benigno S. Aquino III graced the formal unveiling ceremony of Din Tai Fung Philippines. The presence of the family and friends of the Moment Group completed the auspicious affair.

The Grand Launch space was clad in prosperous-red. While awaiting the unveiling of one of the most sought-after franchise in the world and biggest restaurant opening of the year in the Philippines, free flowing champagne was served. Upon the formal unveiling of Din Tai Fung Philippines a bright and spotless open kitchen, where Din Tai Fung’s Xiao Long Bao are made, was revealed to the delight of the crowd.

Din Tai Fung Philippines is the 120th branch and the 14th country to hold and continue Mr. Yang’s tradition of meticulous attention to detail, excellent service, and the best Xiao Long Bao known the world over. The restaurant has accumulated numerous accolades, including the distinction of being hailed by The New York Times as one of the top 10 restaurants in the world in 1993 and number one on The Daily Meal’s “101 Best Restaurants in Asia” list in 2013. To top it all off, a Michelin star has been awarded to Din Tai Fung’s Hong Kong branch for five consecutive years since 2010.

After the formal unveiling, dinner was served to the guests consisting of the classic Pork Xiao Long Bao and the Crab Roe and Pork Xiao Long Bao; along with other dishes special to the Philippine branch such as the Black Pepper Beef, Sweet and Sour Pork, Salted Egg Yolk Prawns, and for dessert, the Golden Lava Salted Egg Yolk Bun.

Din Tai Fung Philippines opened to the public the next day, December 8, 2015 – truly a milestone for the Philippine dining scene to bring in a restaurant that has been acclaimed all over the world for nearly half a century. After traveling from one continent to another, the perfectly pleated and methodically steamed soup dumplings and more have finally made port in the Philippines.