A Singaporean food concept comes to Manila— Tung Lok Signatures

Published August 15, 2022, 5:34 PM

by Philip Cu Unjieng

The latest “baby” of Eric and Emelda Teng is Tung Lok Signatures at the second floor of the City of Dreams. It’s Chinese cuisine that has a Singapore provenance, and it’s a more than worthy addition to the restaurant brands that Eric has brought here for our gustatory enjoyment. In fact, it’s fair to say that Eric and Emelda have consistently come up trumps when introducing new dining concepts that help elevate our collective taste buds.

Eric and Emelda Teng at Tung Lok, City of Dreams.

I’ve often said that eating establishments get my nod and regular patronage when they provide either of two things: doing familiar dishes really well or with a specific twist, and if they offer unique dishes that I’ll go back for as they’re only available there. On both counts, Tung Lok Signatures lives up to its billing, with great versions of old familiars. And, as its name suggests, signature dishes that bear a return engagement.

The baby squid.
The housemade tofu.

The starters we got were a delight. The baby squid is a house specialty and were served on a bed of crisp noodles, sweetened but still crunchy. The salted egg fish skin was something you could even bring home and snack on while watching television. And I loved the housemade tofu that came with mushrooms and in a deep sauce.

The soup we tried was the pumpkin soup with seafood, and while reminiscent of a bird’s nest soup, it also had its distinctive taste, thanks to the pumpkin. And I’d recommend the black garlic fried rice as it’s a unique variant of fried rice, with a garlic adding a subtlety that’s all it’s own.

Shrimp with wasabi-mayo sauce.
The Tung Lok roast duck.

For the main courses, we loved the shrimp with wasabi-mayo sauce—we ordered this twice. And while I’ve tried something similar in other Chinese restaurants, they’ve come with thick dough coatings while this one was just the wok-fried shrimp with cucumber shavings. The roast duck may be a familiar dish, but look out for the high quality and tenderness of Tung Lok’s duck, and how it was expertly roasted and sliced for presentation purposes.

The gravity-defying chopsticks and the seafood noodles.

The chili crab was a big favorite with my sons who were more than ready to don the plastic gloves and, literally, attack the crab. One great surprise was the Seafood Noodles, which we ordered as it was my eldest son’s birthday. If noodles represent long life, the Tung Lok version is also one you’ll literally get a rise from, as the chopsticks embedded in the noodles are left floating in the air before the soup is poured onto the noodles. It’s like a party trick come to life!

The desserts we got were the taro purée with ice cream, like a milder version of ube. And you have to order the flat rice cake, which taste like buchi, but presented very differently.

In short, you can see from the descriptions above that Tung Lok certainly knows how to blend their signature dishes with old favorites/comfort dishes that are given the Tung Lok treatment, and come out as dishes that are unique to this establishment.

This early, I understand that there’ll be a second Tung Lok at SMaison by the end of the year, and that only means more opportunities to sample their great menu.