It's that time of the year again where the oldest Chinatown become extra busy with shoppers and foodies, both wanting to have a glimpse and to experience the Chinese culture in Binondo.
Ready to get your Chinatown chow on? Two years ago, we gave you a list of food finds in Binondo under P150. For this hungry guide series, here's a list of the oldest and must-try restaurants so you better get your appetite ready, wear the comfiest clothes you have and practice your chopsticks skills before heading to this Chinese food heaven!
Tucked inside an old building, New Po Heng should be on your list for a taste of authentic Chinese lumpia. An order looks like a burrito that is packed with assorted chopped vegetables, cilantro, a mixture of ground peanuts and sugar, and seaweed. It's usually served with a sweet sauce but ask for chopped garlic and vinegar for a different kind of flavor experience.
While New Po Heng is known for their Lumpia (P60), they also have other dishes you might want to try: Pork Maki (P55), Kiampong (P30) and Misua Kho (P40).
A Chinatown food crawl wouldn't be complete without dim sum so it's a must to drop by Ying Ying for a feast. Their dim sums range from P60 to P135, so you can order as much without hurting your pocket. If you want to try something warm and comforting, order the Duck Congee (P130), roasted duck sitting on top of plain congee that is packed with flavor.
TIP: If you can't decide which one you're getting, order a combo which gives you two 1/4 serving of the Roasted Pork, Pork Asado or Roasted Duck for only P130.
Established in 1888 by Chinese immigrants, New Toho Food Centre probably is the oldest restaurant in Manila. Upon entering, you'll notice the display of hanging pork and duck welcoming you to the feast you're about to devour. The dishes come in huge servings, perfect for groups who are hungry. Everything on the menu is good but a definite must-try are the tender Pork Asado (P155/S; P310/M; P465/L) and saucy Pancit Canton (P155/S; P310/M; P465/L) which has lots of meat and vegetables. Other must-tries include the Spicy Squid, Kikiam, Torta Crab and Lomi.
Just a few steps from Shanghai Fried Siopao, Salido has been a go-to place for their freshly brewed coffee, pork asado, noodles and dim sum. Order the stir-fried Chami Special which has the perfect noodles to meat ratio and is coated with flavorful sauce. A usual Chinese dessert we ordered are the Mango Sago (P85) and Buchi (P70/5pcs) but the latter surprised us all. It's freshly fried glutinous rice balls filled with mung beans and coated with sesame seeds. We all wanted to bring home a few of these but ordering would take quite some time and we still had a few restaurants on our eat-inerary.
Located in an alley along Carvajal, Quick Snak is known for their Kuchay Ah (P45) that is a flaky pastry similar to an empanada, filled with bits of tofu, meat and chives. Another must-try is their special Ma Chang (P100) which is filled with pork, chicken and mushroom. While you're in that alley, check out the different stalls selling fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and other Chinese delicacies.
If you're looking for Chinoy snacks, DEC is the place to be. There's no such thing as food overload when you're in Binondo! You can choose from the different dim sum, pastries and ready to eat Chinese food which you can bring and enjoy in the comforts of your home. Make sure you order their famous Chicken Pie (P225/5pcs) that's flaky and has a creamy filling!
Popularly known for their Beef Chicken Mami (P200/regular; P215/special), it is served with egg noodles in a clear broth with a side of their special secret sauce that goes well with all their offerings, if you ask us. Don't forget to order the huge pork siomai (P35/pc), as well!
Served hot and fresh, this siopao is different from the ones we are used to. It is steamed but has a semi-crispy bottom which adds texture to the fluffy white buns. It is handed over in a plastic so make sure you consume it before the moisture makes it mushy.
What are you favorite Chinatown chows? Let us know in the comments so we can check it out!