When it comes to Asian cuisines, my favorites are Japanese and Korean. Chinese and Filipino dishes also taste great, but given a choice, I would almost always pick the former two. These days, it can be difficult to find restaurants that serve delicious AND affordable Asian food. Hence, I was really delighted when I discovered Hot Box Noodle Bar thanks to Roni of All Over Marikina!
I was expecting it to be a really small place, so during my first visit (I was with my boyfriend), I was surprised that it actually had decent space (if I’m not mistaken, they also have a second floor, but I haven’t eaten in that area). The place is quite classy looking, plus it’s air conditioned! You’d think that you’re in for an expensive dining experience, but it’s totally the opposite! Upon inspection of their menu, Leo and I decided to try their shrimp siomai, salapao, crispy noodles, beef ramen, and butter stuffed chicken. While waiting for our orders, we were served some complimentary Asian style nachos with a sweet mango (at least that’s what I thought it tasted like) dip.
Then came our dimsum: salapao (or siopao) for Leo, shrimp siomai for me. These tasted okay, nothing really special about them, save for the fact that they’re relatively cheap: P60 for the jumbo salapao and P50 for the 3-piece siomai (you can also choose pork or chicken at P5 less). I enjoyed munching on the white siopao bread, while Leo thought that the ratio of the filling to the bread could still be improved (he likes his siopao meaty; who doesn’t?!). I was a bit disappointed with the siomai, but I’m still willing to try the other two variants; perhaps I’m just used to Siomai House’s super yummy siomai. 🙂
For our carbs (wow, hindi pa ba carbs ang siopao?! haha), as mentioned earlier, we tried two types of noodles. Leo chose the crispy noodles, which were generously smothered in sauce and showered with different vegetables. It’s like the Filipino pancit, only crunchier and saucier. It’s a good choice if you dislike slurping hot soup especially since summer in the Philippines is torture enough. :p
Despite the summer heat, I still like the classic noodles with soup, so I tried their beef ramen, and IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. It looks good and tastes even better! Its aroma was enough to make me drool! I would definitely order this again! 🙂
We were also drawn towards their butter stuffed chicken, which came with some thin potato slices…yes, mojos! Each chicken piece was stuffed with butter (duh, obviously haha), and the cheesy sauce isn’t overwhelming. Man, I am now drooling as I type this. 😛
For dessert, we tried their green tea tiramisu cake. Yes, GREEN TEA! This beautiful slice is like a fancier version of the classic refrigerated cake. The green tea flavor isn’t overpowering, but even if it were, I’d still enjoy this cake, for sure! ^^
So those are what we ate during our first visit. On my second visit, I went on solo flight, but I still enjoyed my orders. I tried their Japanese mango maki salad as my appetizer, and I was really pleased with it particularly because it’s only P100! It’s actually good for two people, but I’m just really voracious hahaha! I would want more dressing & crab sticks, though. 🙂
And then I also tried another wet noodle variant: the chicken laksa. Their version is more gingery than coconut-y, and the spiciness was enough to make me sniff (in a good way, of course). I wish it had more chicken pieces, though, and probably more coconut milk. But for its price of P130, I think it’s already a steal. Hope they could provide wider chopsticks, too, since I had a little difficulty in getting the slippery flat noodles. 😛
Overall, Hot Box Noodle Bar is a place I would definitely recommend when in Marikina! The place is nice & cozy, but more importantly, they serve affordable Asian food. I hope they can change their choice of music, though. I have nothing against gospel music, but I think diners would feel less guilty if other music genres were played. 🙂 You can find Hot Box along J. P. Rizal Street, Lamuan, Marikina. They are practically in front of South Supermarket (where you can park more easily hehe).