Back in my misspent youth, I would often use the long breaks between my classes in DLSU to hop the jeep to Binondo for lunch.  Among our favorite destinations there was the Panciteria Lido, which my Chinese buddies told me had been a fixture in their dining experience as long as they could remember.  I of course had to agree with them and their honored ancestors - I loved the place!  However my photography habit then always left me with money only for either one of two things --Asado Rice or the Chami Special.  Fast forward quite a few years, and to my great surprise, I spotted a familiar name along President's Avenue.  Panciteria Lido was still alive!  Is the food still as good?
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Poached Tofu
The answer is a resounding 'Yes!'  Cat and I visited to sample the food and there found out the story behind Panciteria Lido, from its founding by Chinese chef Mr. Lido in 1936 to its new direction in franchising under current proprietor Annie Go.  BF  Franchisee, Mr. Paul Ting, notes that BF Homes was one of their first targets for a branch, based on the size of the community and its growing reputation as a foodie mecca. Cat and I tried the signature Pork Asado and the Chami Special, both exactly as I remembered them; the Poached Tofu; and also took home their Familia Feast which contains, aside from asado and chami, some frie dumplings, lumpiang shanghai, and buttered chicken.  To top off our meal, we also tried their Syphon Coffee.
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Pugon-Roasted Asado
Our first course was the Poached Tofu, a soft, silky beancurd dish served swimming in a light but savory sauce.  The tofu was very fresh and light, a perfect appetizer, side dish, or even a main viand if you're planning to eat light.  Next came the Pugon-Roasted Asado.  Though the Lido labels itself as a 'Panciteria,' its true signature dish is its mouth-watering Pork Asado roasted in a 'pugon', a wood-fired brick oven.  Still using the traditional recipe handed down from Mr. Lido, this roast pork is basted with a secret Chinese sauce and baked to a succulent, juicy tenderness with just a slight hint of smokiness.  It's not as sweet as the more Filipinized version of asado that you might get elsewhere; the flavors are more subtle, and so tender it almost melts in the mouth.  Cat and I didn't believe we could finish the platter served to us, but we did!
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Chami Special
The Chami Special was another nostalgic treat for me, a reliably hefty comfort food that I know will satisfy me even when I'm really hungry.  I've always been more partial to Chami than to pancit canton or pancit bihon, loving the thick chewy noodles and the sweet-savory blend they're sauteed in.  I've yet to taste the chami in Shanghai, where this noodle dish is said to have originated, but I've tried Hong Kong's version; let's just say that over here I consider only two restaurants to have chami as good as in HK, and Panciteria Lido is one of them.  Their Chami is neither oily nor salty, two defects that often mar the noodle dishes of lesser restaurants.  I commented to Cat that they probably don't use MSG, and found to our delighted surprise it's true: All of Panciteria Lido's offerings have no MSG added. 
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Lido Syphon Brewed Coffee
We finished our lunch with the Syphon Coffee.  Now you normally wouldn't associate coffee with a Chinese restaurant--you'd think of tea, right?  But the Chinese like their coffee too, and they like it fresh and strong.  They use their own secret blend of coffee beans, and the full body and rich aroma remind me of Batangas' best.  I usually sweeten my coffee, but this one tastes great even as plain black.
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Familia Feast
The contents of the Familia Feast--great for Christmas season--we served the next day to our family.  The kids predictably loved the Buttered Chicken, lightly breaded chicken pieces flash-fried in a wok.  I had to remind them I had a restaurant to review just to get a bite! The lumpia and dumplings also went fast, my Chinese sister-in-law commenting that the flavor was indeed, still very Chinese.  And that's why I'm glad Panciteria Lido is now in BF.  Because when I want that real Chinatown taste, I know where I can go.

Panciteria Lido

 


Comments

Andy David
03/16/2011 9:58pm

This is such a waste of good money.

I went here for dinner with my family to celebrate my mom. The service was friendly enough and reasonably quick. HOWEVER, none of the food was warm despite the maitre d asking us when to prep the food. It was obviously waiting for some time.

More than the room temperature to stone-cold food, it was the much ballyhooed pork loin cooked in a pugon that was a HUGE LETDOWN.

Not only was it cold to the touch, it was dry, stiff and had minimal flavor. My brother remarked, it was like eating tapa without the salt. The flavor was a conspicuously light, sweet-salty sensation coming from the bark and the fat. The meat itself? None at all. We were expecting punch because this was supposed to be, after all, authentic Chinese.

The enlarged photo on the wall, the sell by the maitre d' and the blog entry were worth more than what was on the table.

And to parties with senior citizens, you're in for a disappointment. The set meals are impervious to senior citizen benefits. They did not tell that to my dad when he first inquired about the meals. Supposedly there's a discount on the set meals as the maitre d' explained only after we asked for the bill and showed the senior citizen ID's.

We only got a discount on the rice we ordered that was not in the set meal. For two senior citizens, the discount on the rice was a gargantuan P10! Good to see how smart some restaurants can be when avoiding compliance to laws.

Next time you're around BF in Paranaque and want to ruin a celebration, this is the perfect place.

I have no idea where this blog entry got the idea of this being an authentic Chinese restaurant, echoing memories of the original Panciteria Lido.

What a waste of a good name.



Reply
Good Living BF
03/22/2011 12:57am

Dear Mr. David,

We're very sorry to hear about your experience and we respect your opinion. Our experience with Panciteria Lido was very different, otherwise we would not have written a good review of their establishment. We understand your disappointment over the quality of the food and the failure to honor the senior citizen's discount and will forward your comments to the management. Thanks for the feedback, this is one way we consumers in BF Homes can ensure quality from the establishments serving us.

At the same time, with all due respect saying "I have no idea where this blog entry got the idea of this being an authentic Chinese restaurant, echoing memories of the original Panciteria Lido", is a rather strong comment about the blog and its writers that we feel is undeserved. The food we had was very good and freshly prepared, the flavor the way we remembered it from back then, so we posted our honest opinions of it.

It is a pity that our experiences were vastly different. That is truly the challenge of restaurant owners--how to be consistently good in all aspects. We hope this will serve as a wake-up call to them.

Thanks and regards,

Good Living BF

Reply
Andy David
03/23/2011 11:17pm

Hello writers of Good Living BF,

I appreciate your response. It's good to know that there is an near listening to comments, regardless if the comment is negative or positive.

It makes me feel better about this blog because it does have very useful information about the neighborhood.

It's also good to know that your words have some effect on the panciteria. They called my dad to apologize which he accepted.

Thank you for the gracious reply. I will still be visiting your site for all things BF.

Be well,

Andy David

Reply
Karen Castillo
03/24/2011 10:46pm

Hi! This is Karen. I have read one your sender about his experienced in Panciteria Lido. I just want to share also my memorable experience in this Authentic Chinese Restaurant in which both my parents knew this restaurant since 1930’s.

Recently, we celebrated my parent’s anniversary in that restaurant. The place was cozy and the food was great most specially their asado. I think that was their main carrier. Both my parents really like their asado in which they even told me that it was less fat or rather no fat at all. In which when my husband tasted it…it was so good. By the way, my husband was a good critic in tasting food.

With regards, to my parent’s senior citizen card; the dining staffs and the maitre d itself told or informed us on what food in which my parents can use their card.


Reply
Dariel Quiogue
03/24/2011 11:09pm

Thanks Andy! We're happy for you and for Panciteria Lido, for getting redress to your complaints on the one hand and Panciteria Lido's management moving so quickly to correct a problem on the other. This makes my wife and I feel really good for having started this blog!

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