Binondo is an important part of Manila -- dubbed as the world's oldest Chinatown. And the most exciting part of it is the gastronomic landscape you'll discover when you go there. In Binondo, you will find the oldest restaurants where you can trace the origin of some of our popular dishes.
Have you always been interested to try different Chinatown chows? In any case, the best way to get to know a place is through your stomach. Grab your chopsticks and ready yourself with basic Chinese phrases, here are 10 food finds in Binondo under P150 that will surely bring you to Chinese-food heaven.
Nope, this is different from the Kikiam which we're all familiar of. Quekiam is a popular Chinese dish adopted into a Filipino cuisine. It is made with ground pork (sometimes beef) and vegetables wrapped in bean curd sheets, steamed then deep-fried until golden brown.
Kiampong is referred by some as Chinese paella. Like its Spanish cousin, it uses ingredients that is available from land or sea. From any meat dish, steamed fish or fresh Chinese lumpia, it can be paired with anything.
It has a flaky pastry which is similar to empanada -- filled with zesty and sweet bits of tofu, meat, chives -- and is surprisingly good. No wonder it is one of the best-sellers at this charming restaurant.
A soup made by simmering five kinds of meat -- pork tendons, pork ribs, pork innards, pork skin, chicken -- and chinese herbs, served with spring onions. It is believed to strengthen a person's overall body health.
There are a couple of restaurants in Binondo that serves chinese-style fresh lumpia but New Po-Heng Lumpia House and Quick Snack are places that gets a lot of praises from new and repeat customers. It has grated tofu, sautéed vegetables, ground peanuts and cilanto rolled together in lettuce and lumpia wrapper.
Where to get: Quik Snack -- Carvajal St, Binondo, New Po-Heng Lumpia House -- 531 Quintin Paredes Street / 937 Ongpin Street
6. Fried Siopao
Served hot and fresh, this fried siopao is not really fried but has a semi-crispy bottom which adds a twist to the steamed buns we're familiar of. Tip: eat the siopao immediately because when the bun is left in the plastic for a while, the moisture will make it mushy.
There are two kinds of Machang which you'll see in almost every corner in Chinatown -- regular and special. The regular one (blue) consists of brown sticky rice, black mushroom, beans and meat, either chicken or pork. While the special machang (red) has chicken, pork, black mushroom and chestnuts.
Where to get: The streets of Binondo for a more authentic feel
8. Pork Ma-Ki Soup
Maki which is usually paired with Kiampong has fluffy tender pieces of pork cooked in a thick brown broth. It is sometimes served with beaten eggs for an added texture. While you're at it, head on to the next door at Eng Bee Tin Chinese Deli where you can see a variety of hopia -- Ube, Mochipia, Mongo, Pork Floss (new) and a whole lot more.
Started in 1930, Masuki has a wide variety of mamis -- original mami, chicken mami, asado mami and more -- best paired with its secret sauce and is served the same way it did when they started. You can also try their popular Siopao (steamed pork bun) and giant siomais together with some of their specialty side dishes like roast pork, beef brisket and wonton.
One of the can't-miss dishes when in Chinatown are of course, dumplings -- especially at Dong Bei's. Don't expect too much though since this place will give you a no frills dining experience. On the bright side, the dumplings are served freshly cooked after it's been prepared right in front of you.