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From Ai Charap to Cháng Ai Express

Ever heard of Ai Charap? What about Ai Sarap or Ai Sarap Express? Yep, it’s the restaurant of veteran film & TV actress Ai-Ai Delas Alas and eldest son Sancho. If you’re a frequent or loyal customer, you might want to know that this restaurant has reopened its doors and has been rebranded.

Cháng Ai Express!

Wanting to maintain the name “Ai” the veteran actress chose to retain it adding in a very meaningful word. Cháng actually means longevity. When you pronounce the word though, it sounds like “tsang” or “tiyang” which is the Filipino word for aunt. It’s simple but clever and very close to home.

Besides the name, Cháng Ai Express also offers new Chinoy dishes. The only ones they kept were the Ai Sarap Express bestsellers such as Sweet and Sour Pork, Fish and Tofu, Honey Soy Glaze Chicken, Beef and Broccoli and Orange Chicken.

So is it worth dining here? Absolutely!

My family and I were able to dine at Cháng Ai Express after grocery shopping at Hi-Top Supermart. We weren’t actually aware of the restaurant. We just passed by the area and saw that the building they’re at (#62 Sgt. Esguerra Avenue) features different cafes and restaurants. Since it was almost lunch time, we opted for Cháng Ai Express.

The place looks small but when you enter you’ll see that there is actually enough space for diners. If you’ve been reading my blog or know me personally, you know how much I love my personal space. Cháng Ai Express was able to give me that complete with a very good ambiance. Their restaurant is clean, well-ventilated and well-lit.

The staff were nice and service was quick, too. Kuya waiter was always attentive and assisted my grandmother in and out of the restaurant. Thanks, kuya!

What about the food? Cháng Ai Express offers Combo Meals which na “swak sa budget”. But if you’re dining with family, it’s always good to share. Here are the dishes we ordered:

Meatballs

Four pieces of lean, ground beef deep-fried to perfection and tossed in Cháng Ai’s sweet chili sauce.

Orange Chicken

Crispy breaded chicken tossed in orange sweet glaze.

Sizzling Sisig

Minced pig head with fresh onions and chili served in a sizzling plate.

Chang Ai Fried Rice

Stir-fried rice with chicken, egg and vegetables.

All these are delicious especially the meatballs the Orange Chicken. No wonder they kept the latter in the menu. The crispy breaded chicken topped with orange sweet glaze was such a delight. We really enjoyed the flavors. The only downside is the Chang Ai Fried Rice. There’s no problem in terms of taste but in quantity. For Php 160+, you get a small bowl which is enough for one person. It can be shared though but only if you’re both on a rice diet.

Despite that, we did enjoy the meal which leads us to the last question. Will I come back? Yes, definitely. We can try the combo meals next time and possibly some of the Ai Sarap Express bestsellers and desserts.

Happy eating!

Cháng Ai Express
#62 Sgt. Esguerra Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila

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