Thursday, March 27, 2008

Where to eat in Binondo

When in Binondo, the non-Chinese among us are often left in a quandary on where to eat without being challenged by price and menu choices. Our Chinoy friends who live right on Benavidez St. have long ago tipped us on where they go when the cook is on his day off. Here is a rundown of restaurants and food shops worth visiting.

Hopia. The most popular Binondo street is Ongpin and many would start their food buying spree at Eng Bee Tin for hopia. It seems to be the best-selling hopia in town and it has blazed the trail in making hopia ube, hopia pandan, and many other irresistible goodies. But a best kept secret among hopia connoisseurs is Holland Hopia. While on Ongpin Street, turn right on Nueva St. and walk for about 10 meters. There you will find Holland Hopia. This was the hopia lovers' favorite before Eng Bee Tin entered the scene. I like Holland hopia because it's less sweet than Eng Bee Tin's. Back in Ongpin Street, walk farther until you cross a bridge then turn left on Salazar St. A good landmark is the appliance store at the corner of Salazar and Ongpin streets. At the end of Salazar Street is Diao Eng Chay hopia factory. Besides hopia, Diao Eng Chay sells peanuts with garlic flakes, siopao, and many other delicacies. Cross the street enter Benavides Street where a row of Chinese restaurants await you.

President Restaurant. 746-750 Ongpin St. (near corner Salazar St.). Now under renovation, this could easily be the most upscale resto in Binondo. According to many accounts, most Philippine presidents have dined here, which perhaps explains why it is called President. President Restaurant and Waiying have the same owner but these two are miles apart in price, size of sevings, interiors, and ambiance. At President, there are so many items in the menu which are so scrumptious but our favorites are the white chicken (or Hainanese chicken) and hot prawn salad. The resto serves so many items, including those that are not on the menu. For instance, pancit canton is not on the menu but you can ask the waiter that it's what you want.

However, President Restaurant is closed for renovation.

President Teahouse - 809 Salazar St. Just around the corner from the President Restaurant is this tea house which serves excellent dimsum and noodles. Prices are cheaper than President Restaurant. There's also a pay parking opposite President Teahouse. Next to it, there's a Taiwan food store that you might consider dropping by as it has so many high quality Chinese food items (wife cake, husband cake, moon cake, etc.) that are so exquisitely wrapped, like Japanese stuff. For photos of the facade and goodies of President Teahouse, visit Wanderlust and Wish You Were Here.

Sincerity Restaurant - 497 Nueva St. (now Yuchengco St.) - opposite Trinity (an office supplies store) Order fried chicken, their famous specialty.

Golden Fortune Teahouse - 927 Benavidez St. Great food, newly renovated, comfortable and prices are reasonable. We used to go there quite often to order almond milk with ice, special tripe, beef brisket, mapo tofu and spare ribs, until it was renovated and the renovation took a year.

Wan Chai Restaurant - 918 Benavidez St. (opposite Golden Fortune Teahouse). The resto offers all the traditional Chinese dishes at reasonable prices. Try their dimsum, prawns or crab with sotanghon claypot, mapo tofu, mixed roast platter, and steamed fish head dimsum. As it gives good value for your money, you won't regret it.

Waiying Fastfood. This is one of our favorites. It is air conditioned but it's not for those who want peace and relaxation. But if you consider the food quality and reasonable price as a good tradeoff, then this place might just be for you The prices are very reasonable and the dimsums are so good. You can also take home all sorts of dimsum (siomai, hakaw, beef ball, etc.). Go upstairs (2nd floor) to avoid the chaos of a busy restaurant. When you go to Waiying, don't expect a fancy ambiance but think about the food and price. Based on the number of customers, this seems to be the favorite of the Chinoys. Here is where you will get the best value for money. Waiying sells a wide range of congee, chong fan, vegetables, dessert and drinks. Consider these prices: roast duck/asado rice - P120, roast duck/chicken rice - P120, lemon chicken rice - P100, yingyong rice - P100, steamed minced beef rice - P90, steamed chicken mushroom rice - P90, curry beef brisket rice - P90. For dimsum, here are the prices for 1 order: beef ball - P50, siomai - P55, chiu-chao dumpling - P50, hakaw - P60, kutchai dumpling - P50, vegetable dumpling - P50, etc. For drinks, Hong Kong milk tea - P40, HK milk tea cold - P45.

11 comments:

curlywurly said...

Thanks for this! I've been looking for Sincerity chicken since I tasted it years ago. Just couldn't seem to find it when I'm in Ongpin :)

Senor Enrique said...

Firstly, many thanks for the link.

Secondly, where is Waiying Fastfood located? Never been there but would love to check it out.


Cheers!

eric aka senor enrique

moni said...

Curlywurly and Senorenrique, sorry for the delayed reply. Sincerity is on Nueva St. where the office supplies stores are located. It is opposite Trinity office supplies store. Alternatively, if you're near Ho-Land hopia at the corner of Nueva and Carvajal St., walk on the right side of Nueva St. facing away from Ongpin. I fully agree with you. It isn't easy finding it coz it's dwarfed by the larger office supplies shop. It seems out of place there. Good luck. Hope you find it.

moni said...

Eric, Waiying is on Benavidez St. near the corner of Salazar. It is a very unassuming restaurant that it is easy to miss it. To get to Salazar on foot, from Ongpin St (facing Sta. Cruz area) turn left on the street opposite the appliance center and President Restaurant. Turn right once you approach the corner. That's Benavidez St. and Waiying is just a few doors away on the right side of the road facing C.M. Recto. I hope this helps.

Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Moni! I think I know where it is now. Might stop by there tomorrow :)

Cheers!

Eric

gay said...

Thanks for this list of dining places in Chinatown. Love to eat there.

Bryan said...

Thank you so much Moni! Such an awesome insight you brought me about the cool spots in Chinatown. I had a lot of goodies when I got home after buying special hopia from Eng Bee Tin and Holland and really got stuffed after dining at Wai Ying! Thanks for the link dude!

juanitosee said...

Eng Bee Tin Ube hopia has artificial food colors and is banned by US FDA under import alert 45-02 per web page :\
http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/cms_ia/importalert_118.html

Artificial food colors are derived from coal tar.

Anonymous said...

may i know till what time are they open?

crimespider said...

The Big Binondo Food Wok is a Big Disappointment! Top Reasons Why.

1. The tour guide (Ivan) arrived 30 minutes late and didn’t even apologize for it. We we’re already drenching in our sweats waiting for the tour to start. And setting the church as a meeting place is so not ideal.

2. The tour guide is a bit too snotty. While on the tour I kindly asked for the guide map to which I was arrogantly replied to with a, “Later”.

3. Do you really think you’ll feel comfortable to be in a ‘food walk’ tour of 30 people while minding their table manners? A lot of the patrons have a huge lack of it.

4. The history lesson you’ll be walked through is too tacky. You feel treated like a 4th grader. And supposed this is a Food Walk tour, imagine your dismay when 80% of the time is consumed blabbing about history you already know from Grade 1.

5. And the biggest disappointment is the food tasting part. Even if you are not a foodie I think you can discover for yourself better eats to find in our China Town.

Recommendation:
You’ll be far off better doing your own food walk tour. There are many individual sites that can recommend the top secrets of Binondo Food where you’re money will also go a long way. And the best history lessons you can take are the random conversations you make with restaurant owners or servers. These are what I learned when we finally decided to ditch and split from our ‘Binondo Food Wok’ group at some point along the tour.

crimespider said...

The Big Binondo Food Wok is a Big Disappointment! Top Reasons Why.

1. The tour guide (Ivan) arrived 30 minutes late and didn’t even apologize for it. We we’re already drenching in our sweats waiting for the tour to start. And setting the church as a meeting place is so not ideal.

2. The tour guide is a bit too snotty. While on the tour I kindly asked for the guide map to which I was arrogantly replied to with a, “Later”.

3. Do you really think you’ll feel comfortable to be in a ‘food walk’ tour of 30 people while minding their table manners? A lot of the patrons have a huge lack of it.

4. The history lesson you’ll be walked through is too tacky. You feel treated like a 4th grader. And supposed this is a Food Walk tour, imagine your dismay when 80% of the time is consumed blabbing about history you already know from Grade 1.

5. And the biggest disappointment is the food tasting part. Even if you are not a foodie I think you can discover for yourself better eats to find in our China Town.

Recommendation:
You’ll be far off better doing your own food walk tour. There are many individual sites that can recommend the top secrets of Binondo Food where you’re money will also go a long way. And the best history lessons you can take are the random conversations you make with restaurant owners or servers. These are what I learned when we finally decided to ditch and split from our ‘Binondo Food Wok’ group at some point along the tour.