Monday, February 4, 2019

Nibble Your Way to Chinatown: Joining the Binondo Food Wok by Ivan Dy

Binondo has always been a favorite of One Valenzuela when it comes to food trips beyond Valenzuela City. Who wouldn’t fall in love with the old charms of Binondo and its wonderful food? Although this blogger has been to Chinatown several times, creating her own eatsploration itinerary, she has always wanted to be part of a food walk.

And so she eventually had the spare time to join one with the well known Mr. Ivan Dy of Old Manila Walks who became their guide on that beautiful Saturday morning. Sharing the highlights of the tour here on the blog to serve as a reference for those who will be finding themselves along the streets of Chinatown this Chinese New Year 2019.
The Binondo Food Wok begins at the Binondo Church.
Beautiful Binondo Church. Here's where all the participants huddle together. 
Mr. Ivan Dy shares the colorful history of Binondo. His discussion was so rich that it feels like you are being transported in the past. 
1st Stop : New Po-Heng Lumpia House – There are many forms of lumpia and New Po Heng Lumpia House is well known for its fresh lumpia variety. It is basically made of around 80% vegetables with shrimp head, seaweed, rice noodles, and ground pork. 
One Valenzuela has known this place for quite a while and has eaten here several times. It's one of her favorite places to dine in Chinatown! New Po-Heng Lumpia House can be spotted in the pink art deco building - the Uy Su Bin Building along Quintin Paredes Street. UPDATE: New Location at Carvajal Street (near Quik Snak)
Despite One Valenzuela's familiarity with the place, she learned something new: another way of eating the lumpia! Mr. Ivan Dy demonstrated it to the group.
Such a satisfying start.
2nd Stop: Quik Snak along Carvajal Street – One Valenzuela tried to visit this restaurant several times on a Sunday but was not able to dine because, now she knows, it is closed on Sundays! She is very happy to be able to eat here finally through the food tour.
Carvajal Street
Carvajal Street is such a wonder! Lots of interesting food to check. Here's a man selling some fresh fish.
Here, they were able to sample the following: Empanada (meat pie) which has kuchay and pork; Tokwa ni Amah Pilar, a savory-sweet tofu dish named after Grandma Pilar which is basically a deep fried tofu slathered with sweet soy sauce, chili, cucumber, peanuts and is topped with cilantro; and Pansit Satimi Guisado, egg noodles with spicy sate sauce, beef, and kangkong leaves.

While waiting for the food, you may go around the restaurant and read its history on the walls. Mr. Ivan Dy also explained how the place humbly began with Amah Pilar. It is now managed by her grandson.

Quik Snak's dining area
Tokwa ni Amah Pilar 
One Valenzuela's plate: savoring Quik Snak's empanada, tofu, and noodles
A depiction of Carvajal Street on Quik Snak's wall.
Inside Quik Snak
3rd Stop: Sincerity Cafe and Restaurant –  this gustatory spot offers what they call as "Tsinoy Lutong Bahay” (Filipino-Chinese home cooking). Again, three items on the menu were offered to the group: Oyster Omelet, fried oyster cake with bean sprouts and camote (best eaten with chili sauce); Quekiam with Atsarang Labanos (pickled radish); and  Sincerity’s famous Fried Chicken which has various herbs and spices, giving it a unique taste.
Front: Quekiam with Atsarang Labanos ; Back: Fried Chicken
Sincerity's Fried Chicken is just delish! For Fried Chicken lovers, you shouldn't miss this.
Oyster Cake. One Valenzuela's first time to try oysters cooked the omelet way.
Many people dining at Sincerity Restaurant. This one is at Yuchengco Street. One Valenzuela first ate in their branch at Lucky Chinatown Mall. 
4th Stop: James Grocery - The whole group, after eating from the previous dining places, was already full by this time. Thus, it is a welcoming break to have something light at James Grocery, located at the corner of Carvajal Street. One can easily spot it with its array of nuts and preserves display such as pork floss, candied ginger, nuts, salted plum, and champoy.
The whole group was able to taste what's in the lined up jars.
Ginger preserve (which One Valenzuela thought was a candied Red Lady papaya at first glance!)
Pork floss
5th Stop: Eng Bee Tin’s Big Store (near Ramada Hotel) – This is the final location which the group visited along Ongpin Street. Here, they were already so full but was still able to taste some mochi and hopia. Many may notice that Eng Bee Tin offers a variety of food products that one can buy and bring home.

One Valenzuela also went upstairs to check out their souvenir shop and its restaurant, The Great Buddha Cafe.

Mr. Ivan Dy explains more about the history of Eng Bee Tin.
You may also take photos with this giant hopia display.
Souvenirs may be bought here on the second floor. 
The Great Buddha Cafe's dining area 
Photos of The Great Buddha Cafe's food selection will greet you as you go up the escalator.
...and One Valenzuela bought this Ube-Queso hopia! Got to buy a few things more on the pasalubong list...

Thank you, Mr. Ivan Dy of Old Manila Walks for that great Binondo Food Wok! 
Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!

Old Posts of One Valenzuela’s Binondo Food Trip can be read here: 

2014- Chinese New Year 2014 Binondo Trip 
2013- Dong Bei Dumplings at Binondo, Manila and Chinese New Year 2013
2012- Chow Time in Binondo (Tasty Dumpling and Cafe Mezzanine)

How to reach Chinatown in Binondo, Manila from Valenzuela City:
From Brgy. Malinta, ride a jeepney going to Monumento LRT. Next, ride the train and go down Carriedo Station. From there, Plaza Sta. Cruz is just a 5 to 10 minutes walk.

#BeyondValenzuela from #Valenzuela to #Binondo #FoodTrip

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