At Tien Ma’s —learning how to eat xiao long bao

TIEN MA’S Taiwanese Cuisine is a restaurant famous for its xiao long bao, a soup dumpling perfected by Tien Liyuan, who sold it in her stall in Taiwan’s night market. It can be tricky eating the dumpling because there’s soup inside it.

So how does one eat it? We asked Elisha Janelle Mendoza, marketing head of Tien Ma’s, to show us how.

First, she demonstrated, is to prepare the black vinegar sauce with ginger. Then, hold the dumpling, preferably with chopsticks, and then punch a hole in it. Let the soup seep into a spoon, sip the soup broth, and then eat the dumpling!

Elisha said there are many other food items in the restaurant’s menu like the Taiwanese fried chicken, stir-fried water sprouts, stir-fried beef with broccoli, spare ribs adobo, Singaporean chili crab, salted fish fried rice, beef noodle soup, laksa, chicken wings with barbeque sauce, Hello Kitty siopao and the Taiwanese ice cream roll.

However, the diners’ favorites, she revealed, are the restaurant’s xiao long bao, sweet and sour pork, three-cups chicken and its noodle dishes. The noodles are made fresh, hand-rolled in the restaurant’s kitchen. The selections, she said, are affordable.

For Elisha, 22, being the only daughter and oldest of the three children of Eric and Jackie Mendoza—who has the franchise for Tien Ma’s in Cebu—is not her only qualification for the job. She is a cum laude advertising management graduate of De La Salle University and best in thesis (for Integrated and Marketing Communication Plan for Hennessy).

Her day begins in the company office for paper work and managing the restaurant’s social media pages. Late afternoon to evening is when she visits Tien Ma’s and Peri Peri Charcoal Chicken (another restaurant under the company). She said of her dad: “I like working with Dad because we always have to be on our toes because he works very fast. He listens to my inputs so our conversations are very productive. I work here also instead of elsewhere because I want to help my parents because Dad is so busy.”

For dad Eric, it does not matter if Elisha fails for he is around to help, provided she “works hard, is focused and remains humble.”

Asked if she has time to relax, Elisha laughed and said: “I spend time with my dog. No boyfriend yet. I am focused on my career. Sometimes, I do go out with friends to the beach. I really missed beaches when I was in Manila.” And, of course, she enjoys the nourishing and delicious Taiwanese food at Tien Ma’s.

Tien Ma’s is located at Meerea High Street along Ouano Ave., North Reclamation Area, Mandaue City, Cebu. It is open every day for lunch and dinner.


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