Summer 2013 was officially ended and storms are now reciting the alphabets. What is the best thing to do this rainy season? My answer is to EAT! Capitalized to put emphasis. One of the places to consider as the best destinations when it comes to food tripping is Binondo, Chinatown in Manila. This is where the famous Ongpin Street can be found. Ongpin Street was named after Roman Ongpin (1847-1912), a Chinese businessman, philanthropist, nationalist, and civic citizen in the late 19th century who also secretly supported the Philippine Revolution: Source.
Due to typhoon Gorio, Metro Manila was in Storm Signal Number 2 on that day and we didn’t let it hinder our plan to taste the authentic Chinese food being offered in the area. Together with workmates, we met in LRT Carriedo and headed to Binondo for our food walk.
We searched for the first restaurant on our list, Sincerity Restaurant located at 497 Yuchengco Street. The place is known for their best seller Fried Chicken. We got a half order having 8 chops of crunchy deep fried chicken, a bowl of plain rice and a small order (which is actually big) of Fried Oyster Cake and some gulaman for refreshments. The chicken tasted so good and really crispy. The oyster cake on the other hand didn’t fit my preference.
Next stop was Quick Snack located at Carvajal Street, few meters away from Sincerity, where we tried their lumpia. Since we had large servings from Sincerity, we only got one order of fresh lumpia and fried special lumpia each. Since I am not a fan of sweets, I found the fried with the vinegar better than the fresh lumpia with sauce. An ingredient added to the lumpia filling is the “wansoy” which for me intensifies the flavor.
Going back to Ongpin Street, we decided to shop for the famous Binondo Hopia which is Eng Bee Tin known for. I tried the hopia combo of Ube and Langka. UJ, who stayed outside the store, already memorized the jingle of Eng Bee Tin. “..di ka mabibitin, sa Eng Bee Tin!”
From Eng Bee Tin, Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish, famously known as Binondo Church is just a stone-throw away. Since it was our first time in the area, we decided to drop by, offered a candle and a simple prayer. The façade of the church was under renovation at that time. We continued our walk passing by the bronze monument of Roman Ongpin located at the end of the street named after him.
Our next location was Masuki located at Benavidez Street, an institution known for offering authentic Chinese noodles and dim sum. The authenticity of the place was validated by the feeling inside their store: hot and sticky. Since we already knew that there was only a small space left on our stomachs, we ordered only a bowl of their bestseller (as per the crew) Beef Wanton Chicken Asado Noodles and 2 pieces siomai. The serving is really big! Although, I didn’t enjoy the noodles very much: noodle was not soft, the wanton siomai was so sweet, and I didn’t like the asado flavor.
It started to rain when we left Masuki. Going back to LRT Carriedo, we passed by Shanghai Fried Siopao and bought one. I’m already full so I decided to bring it home. We spent a total of Php 919 for the entire food trip although we only checked out some of the places to eat.
Binondo Food Trip Tips
- Be in the area early, half day isn’t enough to try the different restaurants. Give at least 30-minute interval of hopping from one restaurant to another for you to enjoy the different taste of the food being offered.
- Ask the crew of the restaurant on how big the servings are before ordering, remember that you’re on a food trip and you need to save some spaces for others.
- When lost, ask the friendly vendors who can direct you to the place.
- When visiting Binondo, wear comfortable clothes since you will endure long walks along the streets.
Here is the breakdown of expenses for the restaurants we’ve checked.