With a grandiose space and sumptuous menu that’s guaranteed to impress, Li Li humbly opens its doors to guests who want to indulge in a lavish and extraordinary Chinese dining experience in the metro.
Upon entering you’ll notice how every inch of its space is patterned to evoke a residential feel albeit a luxurious one—all thanks to its gracious host, Li Li. The restaurant got its concept from a madam known in Hong Kong’s elite social circles. As the story goes, Li Li would entertain her friends at her home while serving deliciously diverse Cantonese cooking. The restaurant’s layout is patterned after her residence with function rooms namely the living room, library, drawing room and a wine cellar decked with vintage Chinese fixtures and antiquities serving as the perfect backdrops for those seeking a lavish Chinese feast.
Li Li’s dishes are made only with the highest quality in terms of presentation, texture, and flavor. It’s all thanks to its executive Chinese chef Raymond Yeung, who is in charge of developing the restaurant’s exciting array of traditional and contemporary Cantonese offerings. His expertise in Cantonese cuisine is evident in his ala carte creations using local and imported ingredients prepared with traditional Chinese cooking methods. While we suggest trying these dishes on a grander occasion (we greatly recommend the Salt and Pepper Squid together with the fried rice with roasted pork belly and dried shrimp and “Yeung Chow” fried rice), for first-timers, it’s best to experience Li Li with what they are known for—their “All You Can Eat Dim Sum” lunch, with over 30 kinds of made-to-order specialties.
Their Yum Cha menu may be overwhelming at first, so best to start with some familiar dim sum dishes made special with premium ingredients. Start off your feast with the Har gao (steamed shrimp dumpling), Siu mai (steamed pork dumplings with dried scallops), Chinese chives dumplings with shrimps, juicy pork spare ribs with taro bits, and XLB pork dumplings.
Other old-school must-tries are the honey-glazed barbecue pork and the succulently roasted pork belly appetizers.
For something out of the ordinary, we suggest these delectable dim sum delicacies: steamed rice roll topped with Cantonese-style peanut sauce, pumpkin dumplings, bean curd roll stuffed with beef coated with a rich egg white sauce, fresh scallop dumplings topped with asparagus, fish dumplings with sea conch, and the Rabbit Bun made decadent with black truffle and mushrooms.
Li Li’s deep-fried dim sum selections are also not be missed like the baked barbecue pork pastry puff, Cantonese-style crispy wonton, and pan-fried radish cake.
Wrap up your meal with Li Li’s exquisite selection of desserts. The Chilled Mango Pudding is a fruity and refreshing choice. Dig into layers of silky mango pudding topped with fresh mango bits then drizzled with heavy cream and tangy mango purée plus a rolled tulle pastry for crunch.
Li Li’s Piggy Buns may be too adorable to eat, but these soft and fluffy piglet-shaped buns stuffed with milky custard are hard to put down, addicting even, once you get started on them.
For a pleasurable meal ender, order the Masachi Balls, which are only prepared upon request. These heavenly bite-sized treats are made with sweetened glutinous ground rice and are dredged with fine-grounded peanuts. The indulgence comes from the melted white chocolate filling that oozes out at first bite.
But why travel all the way to Li Li just to eat Chinese food? That’s because this upscale Cantonese restaurant hidden in one of Manila’s exclusive business hotels offers a unique and unforgettable food experience that needs to be discovered and shared.
Li Li’s all-you-can-eat dim sum lunch is available at Php 1,088 nett per person from Monday to Saturday, 12:00PM to 2:30PM
1588 Pedro Gil cor. M.H. Del Pilar, Manila. For reservations, call (02) 252-6888.
Photographed by Miguel Abesamis of Studio 100
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