A BudgeTAMian’s Favorite Siomai House: Angkong or Dimsum Treats? 

FEU Advocate
March 27, 2024 08:46

By Brit Charles V. Quevedo and Nichola Gayle D. Manguerra

For students around the University Belt (U-Belt) area, the infamous Jollibee vs. McDonald's discussion is not the only talk of the town. Instead, the debate also lies between Dimsum Treats and Angkong Dimsum House. Many are crazed to defend this side and that, but really, what history lies in between these two siomai houses, and why have both been nothing short of packed and full all these years?

At the end of an exhausting day full of heavy workloads, a scrumptious yet budget-friendly siomai meal would surely restore the drained energy of any Tamaraw! The only question is, which and where?

Two Different Reds, One Single Thread

Both of these sought-after siomai food chains have started only as micro business ventures. But with a wide selection of dishes to choose from, the friendly atmosphere of their respective staff paired with a dorm-friendly yet delectable menu (price and serving-wise), it was only a matter of time before Dimsum Treats and Angkong Dimsum House was flocked with lines of customers. 

In 2008, Dimsum Treats was established. With the constant support of its patrons who were mostly students loyally coming back without fail for its budget-friendly dishes, the restaurant has been around for 16 years. 

Meanwhile, Angkong Dimsum House, better known as ‘Angkong’, began its journey in 2015. What started only as a small enterprise soon flourished into one of the most sought-after go-to places for students craving quality yet affordable Chinese food.

Despite having differences between businesses, both sides come down to a common denominator of helping out students with their delicious yet budget-friendly meals. What once was a spicy discourse of two businesses, has turned into a sweet memory for Tamaraws to include and reminisce as part of their college lives.

During the COVID-19 Lockdown

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 Pandemic has irreparably affected many businesses, and both Dimsum Treats and Angkong were no strangers to the struggles it caused. While many of their competitors were forced to close completely after walking on eggshells for almost two years, Dimsum Treat and Angkong have managed to survive. 

Given the effects of the pandemic, Dimsum Treats had to close a few of its branches and opted to only allow the Dapitan branch to stay open. During those years, the business managed to carry on by selling items in bulk orders through their ‘Party Packs’.

For Angkong, both their Asturias and V. Concepcion branches were forced to close due to low sales. However, the craze for their food went on as they garnered resellers instead to distribute their frozen packs in the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Bulacan, and Rizal. This helped Angkong’s workers to continue their livelihood by manufacturing the dimsums by hand during the quarantine.

Seats and Stomachs, Both Full and Never Empty

Take a stroll around the U-Belt area and try to observe what types of clientele fill the seats of Angkong and Dimsum Treats during the weekdays. Whether these people are Tamaraws or from other universities within the area, the lively chatter and buzz in both siomai houses are unsurprisingly from students.

In an interview with FEU Advocate, Tamaraws who have been loyal patrons to both siomai houses were asked why Angkong or Dimsum has held a steady place in their hearts and stomachs.  

For the second-year Accountancy student Kareen Bartolo, Dimsum has always been her personal favorite ever since her freshmen year.

 “Whenever I crave something spicy, run agad sa Dimsum. Or kahit normal day lang tapos walang maisip kung saan kakain, Dimsum agad because of their affordability and generous serving (Whenever I crave something spicy, I just run to Dimsum. Or even if it's a normal day and I can’t think of where to eat, it’s instantly Dimsum because of their affordability and generous serving),” Bartolo said. 

Meanwhile, regular customers from Angkong like second-year Nursing student Christelle Joyce del Mundo, have also lauded their praise to the store. For her, the food chain’s meals are the best in terms of practicality and deliciousness, especially her favorite meal which would be the quail egg siomai

“I did not expect it to be my favorite kasi for me parang hindi naman tugma ‘yung combination ng siomai and egg. But when I tried it, it instantly became my favorite Angkong meal. Exaggerated man pakinggan pero I would literally include an Angkong meal sa last meal ko (I did not expect it to be my favorite because for me, siomai and egg are not a good combination. But when I tried it, it instantly became my favorite Angkong meal. Exaggerated as it may sound but I would literally include Angkong in my last meal),” del Mundo stated.

Given the budget-friendly prices of Angkong and Dimsum Treats while still serving a mouthful of its dishes, it is only natural that its most loyal patrons and customers have been students whose campus is near their U-belt area branches. 

The Customers’ Customaries

When asked about the most raved Dimsum Treats dish favored by customers, store manager Jovelyn Taponco of the Morayta branch told FEU Advocate during an interview that their Special Siomai, Shaksfin, and Premium Pork and Shrimp Siomai were the top picks of their regulars.

Dimsum Treats also serves two kinds of rice with their meals: everyone’s typical plain white rice and the flavor-packed yang chow rice. Additionally, their dishes are served with a side of chili oil, which is also a selling point of the food chain, quenched by an iced tea drink, for a refreshing sip.

On the other hand, upon asking which of Angkong Dimsum House’s siomai were preferred by their consumers, Vilma Medios, the owner of Angkong Dimsum House, told FEU Advocate during an interview that it was their Fried Dumplings that is the crowd’s favorite.

Whenever this discussion turns into a spicy debate, the Angkong-Dimsum topic has always been a sweet tease and never a bitter fight. Regardless of choosing this siomai or that, the notion of supporting local businesses has already given us a triumph to savor, and that is a flavorful win for us all.

Not everyone indeed has the same opinion regarding Angkong and Dimsum Treats. However, the fact remains that both siomai houses have catered not only delectable yet budget-friendly dishes to their patrons but also memories of Tamaraws who surely have their own siomai story to tell–whether that’s a dish bought out of desperation from a day’s worth of hunger in class or a celebratory one to toast the aftermath of an exam.

(Illustration by Erica Camille Africa/FEU Advocate)

-With Reports from Yuichi Desquitado