F&B

How to reinvent Cantonese cuisine

Fresh and impactful, Man Ho’s revamped menu explores the universal themes of Cantonese cuisine with local produce and sustainability

Photos courtesy of Man Ho

In the two years since it opened to become one of the most prominent Cantonese establishments in Manila, Man Ho has launched a new menu that continues the work the restaurant has done with confident takes on ancient cooking techniques and the concept of food as medicine.

The focal point of the revamped menu is the arrival of Man Ho’s new executive chef from Hong Kong, Chan Chi Fai. Alongside the direction of Marriott Manila executive chef Meik Brammer, the new menu was created partly from “constructive feedback and requests from guests,” which resulted in a menu that features classic and innovative reinventions of Cantonese cooking. 

“Being able to spend years working in another in Shanghai, I was able to see the rich Chinese culture and had firsthand experience working with Chinese chefs,” says Brammer.

Roasted flambéed peking duck

Peking duck maintains its mesmerizing presence but it’s not a fowl dish of the formulaic variety. The US-imported duck is flambeed and poured with a 12-year-old Dalmore whisky tableside while guests watch with overriding enthusiasm as the server adroitly carves the meat and rolled into a Chinese pancake.

Sustainable ambitions and an attention to food as medicine, which have arguably transcended their trendy statuses, also runs through the menu. “We believe in the excellent quality of our local organic products and it’s in our practice to support local livelihood as well,” says Brammer.

The slow braised Australian beef shank in Palawan honey interplays a harmonious relationship between local and international produce while the vibrant flavor profiles of blanched, shredded chicken and marinated jellyfish feed off each other in the same way.

A view of the chef’s double boiled signatures

“The most notable dish chef Chan Ci Fai added in the menu,” says Brammer, “is the double-boiled abalone soup. It uses ancient cooking techniques and a Chinese philosophy dating back to the sixth century.” Served in a coconut shell the soup, which was passed down to chef Chan Chi Fai by his former executive chef, brings an unflustered cacophony of flavors with the abalone, red dates, and four types of mushrooms, including cordycep.

“[The soup recipe] is known to have several health benefits such us lowering blood pressure, rejuvenating energy, curing colds, and helping in weight loss,” says Brammer.

Other new dishes such as the wok-fried French beans with salted egg yolk and sticky glutinous rice with coconut indicates that Man Ho’s new menu is measured and controlled. At its best, it’s the kind of menu that tackles the challenge of a menu revamp without losing relevance and resonance among its market.

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