From the moment we walked in, we could tell that it would be a very pleasant night. With warm orange walls and fairy lights all over, it was a very cozy and nice restaurant. The servers were really helpful and friendly too. To start off, Kevin ordered a glass of Thai Iced Tea ($2.50) and I just went with iced water. I had a sip of his tea and I must say, it tasted really good. Very fragrant and creamy.
Since it was a rather cold night, we wanted some soup to warm up. Now, Kevin is a big fan of Tom Yum, so we tried their Spicy Shrimp Tom Yum Soup ($5). The soup wasn't really all that spicy but it was so flavorful. Really good! They were also quite generous with their large shrimp and mushrooms. It was a big portion and it was definitely enough to share. The bowl in the picture is my share and that's like only 1/4 of the amount served.
Apart from the soup, we also wanted to try another dish from the appetizer menu. There were really quite a lot of yummy sounding appetizers to choose from and we finally decided on the Lumpiang Shanghai ($5.50). Very good choice, I must say. It's basically Filipino style deep fried spring rolls, stuffed with pork. It tasted somewhat like a merge between the Vietnamese Cha Gio and our Malaysian Popiah. The best about it is that it was really crispy and not oily at all. Yummy yummy stuff.
For our mains, we decided to share a noodle dish and a meat dish. Since it was predominantly a Filipino restaurant, we thought that we should try one of the Filipino noodle dishes. So, we went with the Pancit Bihon ($9). Stir fried rice vermicelli with slices of chicken and mixed vegetables, topped with scallions and roasted garlic. Even though Pancit Bihon is pretty much a staple in Filipino cooking, I've never tried it before. Guess what? I liked what I tried. It reminded me of the fried rice vermicelli that my grandmother would fry up during birthday parties and other special occasions while I was growing up, back home in Malaysia. Really authentic and good (not to mention that the portion was huge too!).
Ahhhh now for the main event. I knew we just had to order this when we saw it on the menu. Crispy Pata ($16)!!! It's deep fried pork leg, served with sawsawan (some type of soy vinegar sauce) and a side of som tom salad (shredded green papaya, carrots and mango with lime juice, and ground peanuts). I cannot even begin to describe how good this is! The skin was just oh so crispy and yummy. Granted, its not the healthiest dish in the world but it sure tasted great!! Oh, if only I could eat this everyday....droooooools :P
By the time we were done with our meal, we were just too stuffed to even look at the dessert menu. Our server told us to just take a look at it anyways and boy, were we glad that we did. They were all kinds of delicious sounding Filipino desserts, we just couldn't help it but order one to share :P We ordered a portion of Turon with Ube Ice Cream ($6). For those of you who don't know, Turon is a Filipino deep fried snack that is made of thinly sliced bananas and jackfruit, wrapped in spring roll paper. It came with some yam/taro ice cream by the side. I've never really tried Filipino food before but I am fast becoming a fan! I love this too! Also, look at what the kitchen did with the food presentation. Since it was the eve of Valentine's Day, they even took the trouble to draw out those hearts on the plate. Nice ya? :D
Overall, it was a great dinner. Not only was the food really good, but the prices were rather affordable. Not only that, the portions are huge too (we had enough food left over for lunch the next day!). That, coupled with some really friendly staff, made our dining experience in Pandan Asian Cuisine a really wonderful one. Two thumbs up, we will definitely return soon!
Pandan Asian Cuisine - Bloomfield, NJ
406 Broad Street
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
Tel: (973)748 9997