Saturday, July 14, 2012

a taste of China in Manila

By the time this post gets published, I will again be pleasing my palate with Hong Kong's best buns here. So while I enjoy a taste of China in Hong Kong, let me leave you with a taste of China in Manila: the gastronomic delights of Ivan Man Dy's Big Binondo Food Wok.

The tour, which let us nibble our way around Chinatown, started at the plaza in front of the Binondo church. The first stop was at a volunteer firemen's coffee shop on Ongpin Street. They served us Kiampong and fishball soup.

Ivan, our tour guide, said that the trick is pouring a little soup over the Kiampong which tastes even better when moist.

The next food stop was Dong Bei Dumplings on Yuchengco Street.

Ivan gave a short history lesson about dumplings and their Northern Chinese origin. He also told us about the idea behind lauriat or why Chinese dinners are always brimming with pleasant noise. I, of course, did not catch all this, but Isabella says the pleasant noise is for good luck. We actually contributed to the pleasant noise as we gobbled up several servings of the delish dumplings!

Don't think this was really part of the tour. But it sure put a taste of Manila in this Chinese walking tour.

Then we walked to Benavidez Street via Ongpin Street.

I don't have a photo of the place where we chomped down crispy siopaos, which means "hot buns" in Chinese. Ivan pleasantly joked about the myth of catmeat-filled siopaos which I thought would horrify my cat-lover Isabella, but she didn't believe a word of it.

The next stop was at popular bakery, Ho-land, where yummy hopia or bean-filled pastry can be found.

The last stop of the palate-pleasing tour was the New Po-Heng Lumpia House where we sampled authentic Chinese lumpia. The lumpia had fresh vegetables in it that were accentuated by the spicy sauce that was poured over it. Ivan even recommended to add a special concoction with garlic that added an extra bite to my lumpia. The Big Binondo Food Wok was an interesting history lesson and gastronomic experience, as I read somewhere, "carefully wrapped like the lumpia with all the necessary ingredients to entice the mind and tastebuds of every Chinatown tourist".

For some odd reason, at the time of this posting, the Old Manila Walks site here is down. You should be able to book your tour via the site. If not, maybe you can try to message Ivan via his Facebook wall here.

Photos are my family's own in pages from one of Isabella's old scrapbooks. 

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