TRAVEL AND FOOD: Binondo (Philippines China Town)

So How did we get to Binondo? You know How Social Media Works. One person likes a Video in Youtube and it spreads like Wildfire in a Forest. One evening as I was scanning my Feeds, being a girl that I am, noticed a Video shared by my friends. It was entitled: Wildest Proposals Ever. I clicked it and watched the first video: it was about a man suprising his girlfriend in the middle of the Big Binondo Food Wok. I got curious so I searched. Thus, began our journey to the Philippine’s Chinatown.

The Big Binondo Food Wok 

(you can click the one above to see all of their tours)

When: January 4, 2014      2 – 5:30 pm      (Our First Official Date this year. Yay!)

Where: The meeting place was at the Lobby of the Binondo Church

Who: Anyone who wants to join the tour. Ivan Dy is the Tour Guide

Fee: Php 1,200 / headImageThe Binondo Church before meeting Ivan and fellow tourists.IMG_0097Ivan asked us to wait for him at The Lobby of Ramada Hotel – a new addition to the old buildings in Binondo. You might also want to know that when you do check in at their hotel, I think they have a package for the tour.IMG_0098First Stop: New Po-Heng Lumpia House. This is ran by a Chinese Family. The same family runs the Big Patio that is situated in Boracay.IMG_0100The whole group listening to what Ivan has to say.IMG_0102They have three sauces that goes with their famous lumpia. A sweet sauce – just like the one you use for your siopao, ketchup and hot sauce.IMG_0104You can add this to your lumpia: the white ones are seaweed and brown sugar.IMG_0106The Famous Authentic Lumpia. The tortilla was thin but the wrap is so packed that veggies will fall to your hand and mouth. It was delicious. The serving was generous. And I especially liked mine with vinegar and sugar.IMG_0112My date absolutely loved their Lumpia. After the tour, it was the lumpia that stayed with him.IMG_0118Before we headed to our second stop, Ivan introduced us to a particular alley: Umbrella Alley. It was like the Umbrella Making capital of the Philippines but it soon died down since the rise of the Malls, especially Department Stores gave way to a more accessible place.

Second Stop: Sincerity Restaurant. It started way back in 1956.IMG_0120They had a very simple set-up. Because we were a big group, We all settled on the Second Floor. As we were making our way upstairs, I also noticed that there are displays of Artists and TV Shows featuring the restaurant. This is also ran by a Chinese Family.IMG_0123Sincerity’s Famous Fried Chicken – Admittedly, I didn’t stunned me as it looked ordinary. But then when I tasted it, chicken is all you will ever need. You won’t need a special sauce for this. And one thing unique about their chicken? They use Potato Flour. I didn’t even know there was such a thing.IMG_0124Tortang Talaba – Okay. So I never eat Talaba because it’s chewy and it disgusts me. For a non-eater like me, It wasn’t bad at all. But I didn’t like it either. It’s not something I will order over and over again.IMG_0126Third Stop: Cafe Mezzanine. This is a restaurant ran by Fire Volunteers. This is a restaurant you can actually call Restaurant-for-a-cause. 100% of their sales goes to the Fire Fighter Company. Their walls are full of pictures of great fire that happened in Binondo.IMG_0128This is one of their special drinks – Kundol (Wintermelon) – It actually tastes like Gulaman.IMG_0129This is called Salted Rice. I don’t know why it’s called Salted when it’s not even salty. Ivan doesn’t know either.IMG_0132Fish Ball Soup – It goes perfectly with the Salted Rice plus It tastes good on its own too.IMG_0133Tofu with Seaweed and Hot Sauce on top.IMG_0138IMG_0145Fourth Stop: A small store that sells Mouth Watering buns. In here, Ivan teases us that we are about to eat Hot Buns with Cat Filling. Can you believe him? And I almost spit out the one I was chewing.  It was a good thing he told us that he was joking or I would not have finished my bun. IMG_0146IMG_0147

My love and I are enjoying the tour. :)))IMG_0151Siopao / Hot Bun – This is my Favorite Food during the tour. The difference? It wasn’t steamed. It was toasted. I do not know how they cook the filling but it’s definitely much more delicious than the ones inside the mall. It was also cooked and served in front of us.IMG_0153IMG_0156Bitso-Bitso. Twisted Bread made of flour and showered with sugar. The perfect merienda.IMG_0162The fifth and Last Stop: Eng Bee Tin. Who doesn’t know them? They are so famous for their Hopias. Before they were in business, the only flavor of Hopia was Mung Beans. They were the ones who introduced the world to Hopia Ube. And now, they’ve come up with more than 10 flavors already.IMG_0165IMG_0167IMG_0169

Thank you for our First Date for this year, Babe! New Friends, New Experience, New Place, New Food and a little Adventure. I love you!

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