Food review: Masuki’s quick and cheap Chinese food fix

One of Masuki's popular items is siopao, which has a very tasty filling of asado. Photo by Robert JA Basilio, Jr. for InterAksyon.com.

Too bad Masuki Noodle Shop doesn’t accept credit cards. Or at least as far as its SM Megamall branch is concerned. Because that may discourage the hungry and cashless from ever stepping into the establishment.
But come to think of it, that may not be too big of a problem for the restaurant (or for that matter, its patrons, cashless or otherwise). After all, anyone—especially those looking for their quick Chinese food fix—can secure access to their cash through an automated teller machine located right across its entrance.
And speaking of cash, no one needs to worry about spending too much at Masuki.
The establishment—located at the lower ground floor of Megamall B—is arguably one of the most inexpensive restaurants, Chinese or otherwise, in the Philippines’ third-largest mall.
But low prices don’t mean bad food or poor service. Masuki is proof that you don’t have to fork out an arm, a leg, and other extremities to satisfy food cravings. Take its regular Asado siopao. Priced at P50, it gives any other siopao sold in this country a run for their money.
Unlike those available at convenience stores and sometimes, even fastfood outlets, the siopao of Masuki is served warm but dry. While its dough is thick and firm, it is soft enough to be torn apart, allowing diners to see—and enjoy—the meaty goodness inside.

The outer part of the bun may be rough in texture but it's actually soft enough to be broken apart with the hands. Photo by Robert JA Basilion, Jr. for InterAksyon.com.

As with all steamed buns, this one is best enjoyed with Masuki’s special sauce, offering the distinctive taste that the famous Ma Mon Luk siopao is known for. Which is hardly surprising. The proprietor—whose picture graces the shop’s walls but only if you look closely—is closely related to the family that put up the famous restaurant, proving that good taste and good business sense are, most often than not, hereditary.
Meanwhile, no siopao is ever complete without noodle soup. Its regular beef noodle soup is adorned only by chopped celery placed on the ceramic spoon that accompanies the serving. Once the celery is mixed into the soup, the aroma of marinated beef emerges, wafting to nearby tables and further whetting the appetites of other guests awaiting their orders.
The thick slices of beef are filled with flavor, each bite unlocking a rich, sweet, and salty mixture that can only be the result of days of being marinated in a special sauce that presumably is a family tradition as much as it is a trade secret.

The beef noodle soup has a tasty broth as well as tender beef. The chopped fresh spring onions are for garnishing. Photo by Robert JA Basilio, Jr. for InterAksyon.com.

These pieces of beef are so tasty they can stand on its own as a separate food item. Accompanied by Masuki’s signature soup and noodles, the whole meal may very well define the standards of what beef mami should be and how it should be prepared and served.
Not bad for something that only costs P140 per serving.
(Author’s disclaimer: No consideration, financial or otherwise, were offered nor received for this review.)
InterAksyon.com
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