Ersao – the name brings back memories of milk teas and fried, spicy squid & chicken snacks on a paper cone and eaten with barbecue sticks (you make tusok tusok the fried squid).
Ersao started in Grace Village 15 years ago selling Taiwanese snacks (the aforementioned fried squid and fried chicken) to students from the nearby schools. The spicy snacks were a hit! It’s freshly fried food, generously flavored with spices, and at a price within a student’s reach. Of course they were a hit
A little more than a decade ago, there were only very few places selling Taiwanese-style milk teas with sago in Manila, but we did have them. When the bubba craze hit the US, I was actually perplexed because we’ve already had milk teas with sago here in Manila for some time, and Ersao was one of those places where you could get them.
Er Sao (二嫂) means second sister-in-law, or second elder brother’s wife in Mandarin, which is the owner’s position in the family. As the owner’s daughter, Christine, humorously relates, her mother was bored just taking care of the kids so she started a small food business.
Fifteen years later, Ersao now has a flagship, main branch in Banawe St. It is located in that “newer” part of Banawe near the King Chef area, past Del Monte Avenue if you are coming from Quezon Ave. The branch is hip & modern – they also have a second floor where you can hold small gatherings.
Aside from their original snacks and milk teas, they are also offering rice meals and Taiwan-style noodles.
NEW DISHES AT ERSAO
This is the Signature Beef Noodles (P280 for a Large serving):
It is one of my favorites – it is slightly hot (maanghang), but is flavorful and has generous chunks of beef. It also includes some fresh pechay, Chinese dried vegetables, fresh noodles and topped with my favorite herbs – spring onions and cilantro (wansoy).
My other favorite is the Sate Squid Noodles (P180):
This noodle dish has a fuller, heavier, more savoury, spicy taste – perfect for those who don’t like light flavors
Their Seafood Noodles (P140 for Small, P210 for Large) is a light-flavored noodle soup with prawns, meatballs, squid balls, fish balls, vegetables and light, clean-tasting herbs.
The final noodle dish we tried was the Maki Mishua (P140 for Small, P180 for Large):
For the Rice Toppings, try the Hong Ma Rice (P170):
This was the favorite dish by group consensus. You get two generous slices of super soft, soy-flavored pork belly, soy sauce egg and rice.
They have other dishes, too, like Chicken Curry Rice, Curry Cream Dory Rice, Taiwan Beef Rice, etc… They also have rice topping versions of their Spicy Chicken and Spicy Squid. The Spicy Chicken Rice and the Spicy Squid Rice are priced at P100 each.
Of course, you can’t go to Ersao and not try their classics.
These Steamed Dumplings are classic, and are only P65 per order! (5 pcs)
This is the Spicy Chicken (P75). It is bite-sized boneless chicken, battered and fried and spiced some more! It’s not spicy as in hot, yes, it is slightly hot, but it’s more spicy in the sense that it is dusted with salt, pepper, and various other powdered spices. It now has some crisp-fried basil in it for added flavor and visual appeal.
They also have Spicy Squid (P75). It looks like this but uses squid. I seem to have missed taking a pic of it.
And my personal favorite – the Radish Cake (P70):
The Radish Cake was fried crisp and aromatic on the outside, but still soft on the inside. Ask for some of Ersao’s Chili Garlic Sauce as a dip! Personally, I prefer using Hoisin Sauce as a dip for Radish Cake, but Ersao’s Chili Garlic Sauce is close enough. Other people prefer dipping it in the orange red Chinese hot sauce usually available in Chinese dimsum places.
If you haven’t tried fried radish cake yet, please give it a try when you get a chance — it’s something very few outside the dimsum-loving community have heard of, but it’s a dish everyone whom I’ve introduced it to always ends up liking. Don’t let the name turn you off, it doesn’t taste very radish-y at all. It’s more of a savoury side dish. It’s not a sweet dessert cake!
Don’t forget to try some of their blended teas, milk teas and fruit shakes! They have a dizzying list of drinks available! Prices for the regular size range from P55-85, while prices for the large size range from P70-100.
COMMITMENT TO QUALITY
One thing I like about Ersao’s noodles is that they use fresh noodles. Fresh noodles have more bite and are “springier” than the usual dried noodles.
For their bubbles (sago), they maintain quality by only keeping their cooked sago for 4 hours. After 4 hours, they stop using the old sago and use a new, fresh batch. All the new dishes are still being developed by Christine’s mom – and she makes sure to use only healthy ingredients and stays away from toxic chemical ingredients – they are really very strict about this. Serving quality food is very important to them.
Ersao keeps their prices within reach of the average student. But it’s not only students who patronize Ersao – families dine there, too. It’s a good place to get quick, filling, healthy Taiwanese-style Chinese food at an affordable price.
They also have promos – just ask the staff what the current promo is. The recent Summer promo is: Buy an order of Spicy Chicken and you only need to add P10 to get a Yakult or Raspberry Green Tea, or add P20 to get a Taro or Pearl Milk Tea. *drinks are in 360ml cups only
Ersao Taiwanese Restaurant
Unit 1, 213 Banawe St., Brgy. Manresa, Quezon City
Tel. # 261-6651 415-3042
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