Chinese food has spread world wide, hand-in-hand with the immigration and flexibility of the Chinese people. No other cuisine has had such an impact on the international food scene as Chinese. The Philippines is no exception. You don’t have to go to far to see the influence on day-to-day Pinoy cooking. Bohol now boasts a number of ‘Chinese restaurants’ – we use the quotes as for many mainland Chinese the food served in these establishments hardly resembles what would be found in their home provinces.
This was until the Shang Palace Seafood restaurant opened its doors.
This review has taken a long time to write because unless you have an enormous extended family (which we don’t) there is no way you could do justice to the enormous menu of the Shang Palace in just one visit. Nor could you graze through the menu as the servings are so large!!! A real Chinese restaurant should be enjoyed with a large group so if you visit Shang Palace bring your friends or family or even better, both.
Something we should say upfront though, is that while the food at Shang Palace is good it still isn’t what you would find in the main ‘food provinces’ of China which are mostly identified as:
- Sichuan and Hunan cuisines: hot spice.
- Anhui and Fujian cuisines: inclusion of wild foods from their mountains.
- Guangdong (Cantonese), Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangsu: great seafood, and generally sweet and light flavours.
- Shandong Cuisine: fresh and salty with a lot of seafood dishes.
If you are a real Chinese aficionado or purist you may want to give the restaurant a miss but if you are flexible and want a taste of China(ish) This is the best option in Bohol.
As mentioned earlier we have visited this restaurant numerous times and each time we discover something new. The Dim Sum is very good but seems to really shine when the restaurant is very busy. There isn’t just one ‘go to’ dim sum dish as all are very good The soups are also one of the centrepieces of the restaurant but be ready because even the small size is HUGE!
Picking a favourite dish here is VERY hard. Again we suggest going in a large group and choosing a wide array of dishes, you shouldn’t be disappointed. They also offer fresh seafood from their tanks but if you take this option be VERY specific in how you want it cooked as the tendency is to use a viscous sauces of unknown origin.
The restaurant ambiance is nice and modern, the staff attentive and you can see the restaurant is a big hit with the Chinoy community by looking around the tables. The restaurant doesn’t serve wine which caused a bit of a hullabaloo on one of our visits as they were insistent on charging a corkage fee for our wine at P150 per head! Sure, if a restaurant has their own wine list and you BYO I have no issue of paying corkage but P150 and they don’t sell wine? Anyway after a few discrete words with manager the issue was sorted out.
When we first visited the Shang Palace they boasted that their chefs originated from Hong Kong. Actually the words on their web site is ‘Hong Kong Style Chef’. While the chef may be from Hong Kong we very much doubt he was working in a top notch HK restaurant or alternately the owners of Shang Palace have influenced his regional Cuisine dumbing it down for the local tastebuds. We are not putting the restaurant down with this observation it’s just a shame that the internationally recognised Hong Kong Cuisine has been modified so much at this establishment.
Overall we are confident that if you visit The Shang Palace Seafood Restaurant you won’t be disappointed. Just remember to take all your family, friends, jeepny driver, rent-a-crowd or be prepared for a lot of takeaway!