ASOUE at dinner

Stella A. Estremera

IT was a series of unfortunate events that started off with me ordering three in the menu, one after the other, that were all not available. I couldn't help but laugh out loud, like L-O-U-D.

That's why I don't usually make a beeline for new places because I give them time to get into the groove and synchronize their moves and inventory. But, this one is a familiar teahouse, and I can't help but want to get my hands on their offerings.

That's Hap Chan, which newly opened at SM Lanang Premier.

We were excited. It was the first time in a very long time that the food buddies are all together: Miggy, Imee, Deng, Trisha, and I. We were hungry, too. Very. Such that Imee was in a 'takaw-mata' mood again and opted to get the P299 dimsum eat all you can package even if they only had four available -- siopao, chicken feet, quail egg siomai, and pork siomai and asked for two orders of each of the available ones.

Me, being me, wanted all the greens on the menu starting with, "Isang kaylan, please!"

"Sorry, ma'am, hindi po yan available."

"Taiwan Pechay!"

"Broccoli lang po ang available."

That stumped me as I want green leaves more than green flowers, but still agreed on getting broccoli anyway before this runs out, as well.

"Okay, lechon kawali with tofu!"

"Hindi rin po available." I let Miggy order after that.

We settled for the 5 kinds cold cut platter, yang chow fried rice, fish fillet with tofu, nido with quail egg soup, plain noodle soup, with siopao, pork siomai, and quail egg siomai ala carte.

By then, Imee was already digging into her dimsum dishes, while we four shared the broccoli. Then came the soups that we all shared as well, and the cold cuts.

I hoarded a few slices of the cold cuts to eat with the yang chow, and waited. I sipped some soup, and waited some more. I nibbled on a slice of lechon kawali from the cold cuts, and waited again. There was no sign of the yang chow and the fish fillet.

The crowd that was there when we arrived was already gone, still no yang chow and fish fillet.

Came a very flustered waiter, "Ma'am, sorry po talaga, pwede po five minutes?"

They forgot our main dish. The restaurant was already empty except for us, as a man with two children came in to have a late dinner. We finally got our main course. Burp.

Finishing our meal, Deng hands the waitress our teapot for a refill of hot water. She returned without the teapot and was instead bringing with her a glass of hot water.

Yup. That's why I wait for new restaurants to settle a bit before I try them, but we were too excited for this one. The hotpot was good...

Hap Chan is at the second floor right beside Pizza Hut just before the Sky Garden gate.