The gas station on the corner of EDSA and Pasay Road has always been known for incongruous dining experiences. There’s a UCC right out front, serving up siphon coffee and parfaits. It’s also the home of the original Va Bene, which people long considered one of the best Italian restaurants in Metro Manila. And now, it also boasts what could be the city’s go-to destination for Chinese-style roasts: 8 Treasures Roasting.
It’s a very small space that’s easy to miss if you’re just passing by on EDSA. But once you see it, the sight of the restaurant is indelible. It’s set up like a real Hong Kong roast shop, with a big picture window displaying their hanging roasted wares. Whole ducks, chickens and pork bellies will greet visitors on any given day. On weekends, you might see a whole roasted goose.
The goose is the restaurant’s specialty, but it’s only really available on weekends unless you’re willing to order a whole one in advance. The average person passing by should go for the roast duck, which really exhibits the level of skill at play. It’s a tender bite that releases a burst of smoke and savory flavor. It pairs well with the somewhat sweet broth that they pour over it, and the slight tang of the plum sauce on the side.
Their lechon macau is a strong contender as well. Crisp pork skin gives way to a firm, white meat that somehow conveys a charred flavor. It’s served with bright yellow mustard on the side, the sharpness of the condiment cutting through the richness of the meat. Other roast options include char siu, white and soy chicken, and suckling pig. Anybody whose favorite part of the Chinese banquet is the first platter will thoroughly enjoy what 8 Treasures has to offer.
HK Special Beef Brisket and Ox Tendon broth, Century Egg, Lechon Macau
The roasts are the main attraction, but there are other dishes on the menu that deserve your attention. The HK special beef brisket and ox tendon is one of the most comforting dishes you’ll ever have. Tender piece of brisket float on top of a collagen-rich, heavily spiced broth. It’s the kind of stew that really sticks to the bones and warms the core. The weather in the Philippines may not be suited for this kind of thing, but the dish is worth the discomfort that you might feel afterwards. Get it with a bowl of rice, and you can forget about the weather for just a little while.
The collagen-rich brisket up close
And to some extent, that’s what it’s all about. 8 Treasures Roasting delivers a very focused experience that recalls dining in one of those small eateries in Hong Kong. There’s an illusion being presented, a bit of transporting magic that takes one away from the heat and chaos of EDSA, even though it’s just outside. It might be best to dine there alone, taking in that illusion even deeper, sipping on broth that’s probably too rich for the weather. And at the end of the meal, you order some duck or some pork to take home, a little treat that will be shared over the next few days, a memory of a fine meal that took you away.