Almost mythical. That’s how this little eatery felt to me. I’ve read about it on everyone’s blogs, I’ve heard recommendations from friends, but I haven’t eaten there myself. I couldn’t find time for it. Who would’ve thought that a failed lunch time expedition–we were hunting for a totally different restaurant–would bring me there instead.
Looking for 6404 Camia St. is relatively manageable once you’re in the area. From Estrella, turn right at Amapola (assuming you’re coming from EDSA and going to JP Rizal) then turn left. Drive down the street until a plain white gate, numbered 6404 greets you.
As we pored through the picture menu, we found out that the restaurant actually had a name. You Jie Xiao Chao, it says on the front. After ordering, we didn’t have to wait long until our food was served. Out they came, plate after plate, each increasing our appetite as it came.
We had Beef Hotpot, served in a small frying pan. Thinly sliced strips of beef, sauteed in peppers, onions and chili flakes. A tad spicy and very very flavorful. We also had the Gong Bao Chicken, a sticky chicken and peanut dish that was pleasantly spicy.
“I want Mapo Tofu,” I kept clamoring, so my companions relented just to make me shut up. The silky tofu, cooked with chopped chilies, ground pork and spring onions was another winner. We went for another Chinese restaurant staple, dumplings. The ones we chose were fried, quite reminiscent of gyoza. Like the rest of the dishes, these disappeared quickly as well.
Our group likes pretending we’re healthy, so we ordered vegetables. We got Fried Beans, a salty-spicy dish that can’t possibly be healthy, but is nevertheless yummy; and Bai Cai, a steamed pechay (I surmise) dish that offered a refreshing respite from the sticky, oily, spicy food orgy happening around us.
Like most Filipinos, ordering rice is essential. We got some Fried Rice, Egg Yangzhou and Beef Fried Rice. Initially. We ended up getting more because we couldn’t stop eating!
“It’s not as spicy as it used to be.” The spicy dishes, while hot, was pleasantly so. None of the scorching, painful heat that can burn your mouth for days. Possibly toned down to suit local palates? If so, it’s perfect for my palate at least as the spiciness was delightfully appetizing.
The dishes flew off the serving plates as fast as they could be served, as blissful sounds of eating permeated the table. We ended ordering more of the food we were eating, washing it down with cold Tsing Tao Beer when we discovered they had it, too.
That day was epic, as far as office lunches go, and one we hope to repeat in the near future. There was nothing overrated about the place, except maybe the difficulty in getting there–it was quite easy! Despite my general unfamiliarity with cuisine from Hunan, it made for a pleasant comforting meal. I guess home cooking exudes the same warmth and comfort, no matter where it’s from.
You Jie Xiao Chao
6404 Camia St., Makati City