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.
And my search for the more popular restaurants in Binondo led me to these …
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.
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.
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.
(*) 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.
(*) 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.
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.
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.
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.
HONGMA – Php 140 – tastes like pata tim . This goes well with the silver roll bread. One is not complete without the other.
(*) WINTER MELON JUICE – Php 45. It is from the “kundol” extract … reminds me of gulaman and vanilla
DALANGHITA JUICE – Php 45 . Citrus drink – Filipino lemonade
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.
(*) 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!
(*) 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!
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.
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!
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.
(*) 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!