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Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Good Chinese Food – and a Good Cause

Dezsa C. Rubio - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Anywhere in the world, Chinese restaurants and Dim Sum houses are common. The Philippines is not an exception. Filipinos have long come to love the Chinese savory dishes and have even adapted some of these to the local cuisine.

The popularity of Chinese cuisine began to come out of China starting in the early 20th century, in America. But it had already reached the Philippines way before then, through trade and commerce. The entrepreneurial spirit of early Chinese traders enabled them to establish culinary melting pots in different continents.

The versatility of Chinese flavors allows it to easily adapt to cooking techniques and ingredients everywhere. Thus, it has successfully gained the favor of different people around the world. And Cebu City being one big Chinatown in the past, Chinese restaurants began to sprout here.

Many of the original Chinese restaurants in the city are still around. New ones have also opened. In the city’s uptown, a new Chinese restaurant has been consistently gaining notice among diners since it opened late last year.

Master Po is a significant addition to Cebu City’s Chinese food circle. Yet, although the place is new, its owner Jan Joan Yu-So has been in the food business for a while already. The mother of two is also the person responsible for another flourishing Chinese cuisine destination in town, The Ching Palace.

Last week, Master Po launched nine new dishes in addition to the established house specialties like the Basil Pork Skewers, Shanghai Buns, Noodles and Congees. The new menu includes meals that vegetarians would enjoy like Cabbage Roll and Stuffed Eggplant. The restaurant also offers hearty dishes like Soy Chicken Mein, Asado Mein, Baked Seafood, Seafood Lettuce Wrap, Beef Steak and Fish Cake Noodle Soup. Its most exciting dish perhaps is the Lotus Rice, a leaf-wrapped glutinous rice packet with chicken and black mushroom, a popular dish in Dum Sum halls in China.

It’s not only its savory dishes that set Master Po apart from other restaurants. The place is very welcoming of autistic children who come in to dine. It partners with the Kidz Gym Therapy Center in providing a place that allows children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to be treated  like regular kids.

Her own son and other kids with ASD are almost always discriminated against; thus, Ms. So fully understands the need for places that accept them. She stresses that Master Po’s partnership with Kidz Gym is not a marketing stunt. It is an earnest initiative to help the kids hone their communication and mobility skills.

Master Po is located at Unit 9 Plaza Nouvelle, along E. Benedicto Street. It is open all days of the week, from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (FREEMAN)

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