Spotlight: Pink Panda Southeast Asian Diner

Serving Southeast Asian cuisine with a modern twist, Pink Panda is an obscure diner tucked away in one of the side streets of Makati Avenue.

Photos by Roy Daguio

Serving Southeast Asian cuisine with a modern twist, Pink Panda is an obscure diner tucked away in one of the side streets of Makati Avenue.

Not quite a hole-in-the-wall (it’s in a hotel for goodness’ sake) but certainly off the beaten—or should I say—eaten track, it can very well become one of your secret go-to places.

And with a newly refurbished menu, you’ll have a taste of your Southeast Asian street favorites like you’ve never before.

Take chicken wings, for example. It’s a typical street food item in Southeast Asia. But have you tried it laced with bagoong? Hear me out, it’s not as nasty as it sounds. Salty, sweet, and packed with umami, the fish paste adds a smokiness to your chicken wings that’s actually quite addicting.

The Mango and Catfish Salad is an instant favorite too. With green mango, papaya, pomelo, and the distinctive crunch of crispy catfish kissed by a tangy and refreshing vinaigrette, it’s just as we know it from Saigon—except you’re seated and listening to a Spotify playlist instead of the typical bustle of the city.

For the entrees, the Grilled Bangus Belly is a crowd pleaser. Grilled in a banana leaf and served with a red spice paste, the freshness of the fish is complemented by the earthy flavors of the paste. And a squeeze of lime at the table perks up the flavors.

The Chicken Sate is also a winner. Voted as the undisputed favorite of our table, it recreates the chicken sate that we all know and love and has made it tons better.  Maybe it’s the balance of flavors or the slight kick of lime at the end—whatever it is, it’s got me craving chicken sate and I’m not even a chicken fan.

On the saucier end of the spectrum, the Beef Curry did not disappoint. Tender beef short ribs smothered in the deep spiciness of a red coconut curry had my friends looking for rice to mop up all that flavor.

With rice noodles dressed in a rich and tangy sauce accompanied by a bright crunch of sprouts and supple seafood, the Seafood Pad Thai is also a contender. Served during the latter part of our meal, my friends were too full to eat it but I wolfed it down just the same.

Custard buns capped off our meal. Filled with an egg custard with sweet mongo paste and topped with kaffir lime jelly, it’s a sweet and satisfying end to our meal.

Serving more than good grub, Pink Panda also has an excellent beverage menu. With crafted drinks and cocktails and a selection of liquors, wines, and local beers, it’s a great place to hang out after office hours for some dimsum and a bottle or a drink or two.

It was noon and too early for that when I was there. So I opted for an invigorating ginger tea that sent me back to the office perky and pleased instead. But I’ll certainly return after hours for their best-selling Granny Goose (red wine, rum, lemon juice, and condensed milk) cocktail and probably a Sisig bun while at I’m it.

Have you tried Pink Panda yet? Tell us your favorites!

Pink Panda is at G/F Y2 Residence Hotel, 5687 B. Valdez St., Brgy Poblacion, Makati City (Behind A Venue).
Operating Hours: S-TH: 11AM – 10 PM, F-Sat: 11AM – 1 AM

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