MY BINONDO GIRL … Philippines’ Chinatown

Walking through the busy streets of Binondo will remind you of the typical Chinatown in every country in the world you have visited.  One interesting fact is that it is the oldest Chinatown in the world built in 1594.  My initial knowledge of this place dates back in Kindergarten in St. Mary’s Academy  when we were told that Venerable Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo (founder  of the Religious of Virgin Mary) resided in this place. Aside from her, Blessed Lorenzo Ruiz also has his roots here.   So we are treading the grounds of the blessed …

Contrary to its name which means “mountainous” … nothing of that sort can be found but instead  mounds of  Chinese goodies   that would make you want to buy even if it was not planned or needed abound.   It is home to the many delights of tongue and the feast of colours.

Baby Dragon Fruit

Sea Cucumber  

And  my search for the more popular restaurants in Binondo led me to these …
QUIKSNACK

Quik Snack @ Carvajal St

Category                                : Indonesian-Chinese

Address                                 : Carvajal St., Binondo Manila

Telephone Number             : 0918-9030446

Website                 : www.tjioethecaterer.ph

Other Services                     : Catering

Parking                                   : none

It is a quaint restaurant along the street of Carvajal.  I chanced upon the good-looking Operations Manager of the place who is Edwin Tjioe ( pronounced as Choo ) Tan and was told that this was established in 1967 by his grandmother, Pilar.

with the Operations Manager, Edwin Tan

It prides itself with the Indonesian – Chinese cuisine.  Everyone is friendly and accommodating.  Not your spic and span place but everything about it makes it authentic.  Makes it real.

 

The Kitchen

It is a place where parts of your conversation will be drowned with endless chatter and the clanging of the utensils.  This is not a dating place when you have to be cute and whisper sweet nothings to each other.  This is a place for friends who enjoy simplicity and for couples together for 7 years and above.  The place is your typical , practical Chinese restaurant with abundance of good food.  The waiter who attended to us never wrote our order … taking everything from his memory but failed to remember the Bihon Sate.  Very casual. I like the noise … it makes it authentic.  I love the smell … it makes me look forward to good things to come.

Binondo Food Trippers

FOODIE’S ORDER:

(*) LUMPIANG SARIWA– Php 80.00  My mom’s favourite and the search for the best one is still on-going but EUREKA! I have found it. I was never a fan but this one – I like!  It will be served without having to properly introduce itself and say , “eat me, I’m good” … in fact, I should call it unassuming.  As you peel off the plastic wrap … the crepe-like wrapper is smooth without dominating the whole dish and  inside the lumpia is  a symphony of delicious goodness and identifying it would lead to a kaleidoscope of ingredients that in the end you won’t bother to find out … you just have to finish it.

Lumpiang Sariwa ( Fresh Spring Roll )

 (*) NILASING NA HIPON – Php 85.00 . It is so crunchy and tasty and you would wonder, is the shrimp drunk or I wanna get a sub-zero and get  myself drunk as well.  Whether dipped in vinegar or as is … best drunken shrimp I’ve met one fine noon.

Nilasing na Hipon

KUTCHAY AH – Php 40.00 .  It is big for an empanada but small for a calzone. It is their take on that  bread with the almost the same ingredients as the lumpiang sariwa inside.  This is one good take-out food to bring home.  Just heat in your oven.

Kutchay Ah

 
NOODLE SOUP MISUA RENION – Php 110 . A hot bowl of misua with the twist – how about KIDNEY for the main ingredient? How does it taste? Good … almost akin to liver and lengua in one meat.  There is something about the caramelized onion and the leeks that ties in flavor of this soup.
 

NOODLE SOUP MISUA RENION

OYSTER OMELETTE – Php 180.  This you have to eat with plain rice.  Oysters that never knew the word : scarcity.  It is an abundance of oysters wrapped in scrambled egg. 
 

Oyster Omelette

 
BIHON SATE – The dish we almost missed because the waiter forgot we ordered it. This is their “must-order”, the specialty of the house. This is the same reason why they are serving Indo-Chinese food. It is   deceiving though … there is a spicy kick ready to unravel as it touches your tongue.  Odd for a pancit to be spicy … but it is and it won’t even dare hide its true flavour.
 

Bihon Sate

TASTY DUMPLINGS
 

Facade of Taste Dumplings

 
Category                              : Chinese

Address                                : 629 Ongpin St. Binondo, Manila

                                             : 960 Masangkay, Binondo, Manila
Branch                                 : 583 NS Amoranto St., Quezon City

Telephone Number             : 02-242-5195

Business Hours                     : 10am – 9pm M, T, W, Th, F, Sat

                                                :  8am –  9pm Sun

Other Services                     : Delivery

Parking                                   : none

Modern design with ample space for loads of people.  A quick stop for snacks or hurried lunch. Waiters would clean the floor while you are eating. Needs to beef-up on  customer orientation.

Inside Tasty Dumplings  

 
FOODIE’S ORDER:

PORK CHOP RICE – PHp 105 – big slab of pork chop meat fit for someone with huge appetite.  The batter makes it good.  Meat is tender.

(*) SILVER ROLL BREAD – Php 45 – deep fried … making outside a bit crunchy and inside   texture  resembles a siopao.

Silver Roll Bread

 HONGMA – Php 140 – tastes like pata tim .  This goes well with the silver roll bread.  One is not complete without the other.

Hongma

FRIED OR STEAMED DUMPLINGS –  Php 82 – inside the dumpling pouch is ground meat – too grounded it lacks texture .  I’m not into it.
 

Fried Dumplings

 

Steamed Dumplings

(*) WINTER MELON JUICE –  Php 45. It is from the “kundol” extract … reminds me of gulaman and vanilla

Winter Melon Juice

 DALANGHITA JUICE – Php 45 . Citrus drink – Filipino lemonade

Dalanghita Juice

THE PRESIDENT’S TEA HOUSE

Category                                : Chinese

Address                                 : 809 Salazar St., Binondo, Manila

Branch                                   : SM MOA, Entertainment Mall, Central Business Park Bay Blvd.,
                                               Bay City,Pasay City

Telephone Number             : (02) 246-9082

Business Hours                     : 6:30am – 10pm  Daily

Other Services                     : Delivery

Parking                                   : ample ( in a vacant lot a few steps away )

There would always be a 1st love – this is mine when it comes to Binondo restaurants. It has the ambiance of the food chaos  and authentic taste of old Chinatown.  It is not a place that you would want to be cozy and cute, the loud ruckus of chit-chat and the chopstick gestures would likely tell you … this is home to a lot of regulars. There is also a dimsum cart parading inside the tea house.  Yes, no interior designer put an effort in making this one of the best designed restaurants in the Philippines but it has its charm, even better than the one in MOA which was obviously thought of and paid for to look good.  Though MOA’s Branch charm is the tropical feel , one of those emotions one would feel when eating by the shore.  It is like being on a vacation.

FOODIE’S ORDER:

(*) HOT PRAWN SALAD Php 390. This is a combination of crunchy fried prawns  and fruit salad with loads of mayonnaise.  This is so rich but eating this will make you forget to count the calories and just eat it with utter abandon.  This is throwing your resolves to the wind.  This is a must!

Hot Prawn Salad

(*) MINCED PORK LETTUCE Php 270. This is a Chinese appetizer.  The ice berg lettuce and ground pork (cooked with water chestnut, oyster sauce, garlic, ginger, cilantro, hoisin and soy) will be served separately .  You eat it by placing  the ground pork on a piece of lettuce and add hoisin sauce.  This could drip so watch out and protect your Sunday’s best. This is good. This is really good!

Minced Pork w/ Lettuce

BIRTHDAY NOODLES Php 220.  Chinese (Yi Mein) noodles with fresh spinach, sesame oil, vegetable stock, dark soy sauce , cornstarch , salt , chives and vegetables. This is your typical pancit but authentic birthday noodles in China is not cooked this way.  I am not big on this.

Trivia: Eating these noodles is lucky as the long strands of noodles symbolize a long life.  When eating the noodles, don’t break the noodles using the chopsticks or fork, but instead chew on the noodles when they are inside the mouth.

YANG CHOW FRIED RICE Php 200. Rice cooked in egg with carrots, peas, pork, shrimp and chives. I don’t know any Chinese restaurant in the Philippines that cook this in another manner. You can request to remove the shrimp or pork if you like. 

Trivia: This is from Eastern China.  While some are cooked with soy sauce and oyster sauce to give it the darker color, this one is not dark.

 

Yang Chow Fried Rice

 

MIXED VEGETABLES . The typical vegetables included in mixed vegetable platter are cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, French beans and peas with Chinese sauces sautéed together. It lacks the crunch that I look for in vegetables. Too soiled for me.
 

Mixed Vegetables

SIOMAI Php 80. It is a Dimsum with  pork and shrimp ( mixed with carrot, egg , spring onion and flour as the filling)  This is usually cooked by steaming and served with soy sauce and calamansi juice.  Don;pt forget the chili sauce- which is staple for me in this food , it can make or break it.

 

Trivia: It is best to drink tea in-between meals – about 2 hours after you have eaten. Are there good things about drinking tea with meals? Tea blocks absorption of nutrients. Drinking tea can help you lose weight!

 

FREE Tea in most Chinese Restaurants

PRESIDENT RESTAURANT

 
 
 
Category                                : Cantonese

Address                                 : 746-750 Ongpin St Santa Cruz, Manila

Telephone Number             : (02) 244 7235

Business Hours                     : 10am – 11pm  Daily

Parking                                   : none in front

This holds the pride of being the oldest restaurant in Chinatown.  This is in no way related to The President’s Tea House though it is just a stone throw away from the place.  Unlike the former, this depicts grandeur and opulence.  This used to be a theater in the bygone days  as seen in its vastness and high ceilinged structure.  The staff is in Chinese outfits.  This is often the venue for celebrations and it is practical to go there in a group of 12 for the typical Chinese Lauriat.  These are 10 dishes from appetizer to dessert served on a Lazy Susan or served one at a time.  This usually lasts for 2-3 hours so don’t eat fast … savor each food and avoid the Yang Chow Rice to have room for the other Chinese goodness.

FOODIE’S ORDER:

(*) FRIED FROGS . This is one of my favorites.  Sounds queasy? Actually it is not.  It has always been compared to chicken but this is better for nibblers like me. 

(*) MINCED PORK LETTUCE Php 360.  Tastes just as good as the Tea House’s  but pay a higher price for the ambiance.

STEAMED EEL W/ BLACK BEAN AND CHILI . A must they said.  I maybe adventurous with frogs … but this one is not my cup of tea.

(*) MANGO TAPIOCA . My favourite Chinese dessert.  Mango puree with small  tapioca (sago) and shaved ice. A lovely ending.

WILD BOARS MEAT and HORSE MEAT are also available. 

Sihk Faahn! Eat!

 

 

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4 responses to “MY BINONDO GIRL … Philippines’ Chinatown

  1. DRA EDITHA DALISAY FROM FB: Brings back the memory of eating those delicious food items….love your blog!!!

  2. Pingback: BEST THING I EVER ATE … A WORK IN PROGRESS | tripsandthecity

  3. hi. Which would you recommend, the President teahouse or President restaurant? Thank you.

    Irene

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