Restaurants: Binondo Food Crawl (Manila, Philippines)

This Binondo Food Crawl was inspired by Our Awesome Planet’s Binondo Foodie tour, walking through the eskinita’s of Binondo and eating at multiple mid-range priced eateries and as our group did, take home some pasalubongs (souvenirs) to their angry girlfriends/wives.  

Binondo is referred to as the world’s oldest Chinatown. Established in 1594 during the colonisation of the Spanish in the Philippines, Binondo was found by the Spanish governor Luis Pérez Dasmariñas as permanent settlement for Chinese migrants who became Catholics. Thus Binondo became the mecca for business and trade for Spanish, Filipinos and the Chinese, in Manila to this day.

Armed with a digital copy of Our Awesome Planet’s Binondo Food Crawl Map, curiosity and empty stomachs we (a group of 9) wandered our way around Binondo. As we looked on the map, we decided that starting with OWP’s number 1 did not make sense, and instead started with number 7 (Fresh Lumpia) Quentin Paredes st, looping to number 8 (Sincerity Restaurant) Yuchengco st, then to number 6, 5, 3, and 2 also on Yuchengco st. By this time we were getting full and made our way to number 9 (Quan Yin Chai Vegetarian) Ongpin st, number 10 (Diao Eng Chai) Salazar st and lastly at number 12 (Salazar Bakery) at Ongpin st.

It is best to arrive early so you can complete the entire list and find parking at Lucky Chinatown Mall (10am to 10pm), whole day parking cost around Php150. This tour is best done walking, as you will find that the roads are too small to drive on, and you will find no parking in these crowded destinations. 

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1. Po Heng Lumpia House Address: 531 Quintin Paredes St, Bgy 289, Zone 027 Binondo, Manila Metro Manila

As we were ravenous, ready to eat anything in sight. We made our way to Po Heng Lumpia House (it helps if one of your local friends, knows the way). Po Heng Lumpia House, is not visible restaurant and needs to be entered in dark passageway. We were met with freshly made Chinese fresh lumpia being made with ground peanuts, cilantro, tofu, seaweed, sugar, cabbage, and lettuce. 

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2. Sincerity Restaurant Address: 497 E. T. Yuchengco st., 1006 Manila, Philippines Tel no : +63 2 241 9991 Opening Hours: Mon to Sat: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm, Sun: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Facebook: sincerityrestaurant.main

Next stop was Sincerity Restaurant. We walked through Sabino street and turned left to Yungchengco st. The recommended dishes were 

1. Fried Chicken

2. Kikiam

3. Oyster Cake

4. Fried Frog legs

We only got to order Fried Chicken and Kikiam, but even if we only ordered 2 sets of the Chicken and Kikiam, the waiters accommodated us and allowed us to eat inside their restaurant. The taste of Sincerity’s Fried Chicken has an after taste that you’ll be wanting more, so best to buy some to take some home. Sorry to hype it up, best to expect an ordinary tasting chicken just in case. 

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3. James Grocery & Carvajal Store Address: Besides Holand Bakery Tel no : +63 2 2418789

Third stop is James Grocery & Carvajal Store which sells dried and pickled fruits, beef jerky and other Chinese delicacies. According to the store owner the dried prunes are the best sellers. The location is just a short walk to the next location, which is Holand.

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4. Holand Address: 551 Nueva Street binondo, Metro Manila Tel no : +63 2 242 9709 Facebook: Ho-Land-Hopiaa
Fourth stop on the food crawl is a place called Holand. Holand specialises in Hopia (bean filled pastry) but sells other baked goodies. There are several flavours, mung bean being the original. But what caught my eye was the ubiquitous salted egg flavour, the flavours aren’t strong but delicious enough to keep you eating one after the other. 

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5.Cafe Mezzanine Address: 650 Ongpin corner Nueva Streets Binondo, Manila Tel no : +632 242-9759, +63 2 241-9999
The fifth stop was Cafe Mezzanine, which was featured in CNN Travel. By dining at Cafe Mezzanine or Eng Bee Tin you are financially supporting the local purple Fire Truck. We arrived early in the afternoon, so we weren’t fighting for the attention of the waiter. Our Awesome Planet had recommended their:

1. Kiampong rice

2. Lechon Kawali

These were only single serving and we were only going to order a few to share amongst us, but the waiter suggested we order the large Kiampong Rice and large Lechon Kawali, to which we did. Delicious earthy flavours in the rice and the Lechon Kawali, was juicy and crunchy. 

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6. Eng Bee Tin Address: 628 Ongpin St. Binondo, Manila Philippines Tel no :+63 2 242-9765, +63 2 242-9766
Eng Bee Tin is a Chinese deli, that sells Hopias, Tikoy and other baked goods. What caught my attention and what OAP recommends is their:

1. Golden Pork Floss Hopia

The Pork Floss melts in your mouth and has a light airy texture, the group went wild and bought a couple each.

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7. Dong Bei Dumplings Address: 642 Yuchengo Street, Binondo, Manila Tel no : +63 2 2418912
Though it was recommended to be one of the first stops, we saved this to be our seventh. Dong Bei Dumplings specialise in…try and guess? Yes, from the time you step onto their store front, you’ll see the dumplings freshly being made from the entrance window. Dish recommendations are:

1. Kuchay Pork Dumpling

2. Chinese Pancake

Personally I liked the Chinese Pancake better than the dumplings. Similar in flavours, but the crunchiness of the pancake gave it a bite.

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8.Quan Yin Chay Address: 739 Ongpin Street, Binondo, Manila Tel no : +63 2 2433357, +63 2 2410588
Health conscious eaters rejoice! Yes, there is room for you on this tour. Quan Yin Chay was our eight stop, so by this time our usual limitless stomachs was growing full, but we did not bow out. Dish recommendations are:

1. Wheat Vegetarian Siopao

2. Sisig

3. Corn beef

As 9 of us grew comfortable with the restaurants on our crawl allowing all 9 us in, in just trying 1 or 2 dishes per restaurant. We were amused with the waiter telling us that they will lose money, if we only got their Siapao (which we did, we shared 1 between 2) and we drank their complimentary tea. They had a point, but we were still paying customers? Who could consequently give them more patrons. What do you think? Despite that I recommend the Vegetarian Siopao, full of vegetables and delicious in taste. Maybe best to just take it home, instead of listening to the waiters whinge. 

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9.Diao Eng Chay Address: 203 Wilson Street, San Juan, Metro Manila Tel no : +63 2 721 1105
Second to the last stop on our Binondo Food Crawl. At this stage, we were just buying for others, or buying to eat later. Diao Eng Chay is popular for their:

1. Chicken Pie

It is Php40 per piece, but can be purchased in styrofoam container of 5 pieces, for the same price. Not really a fan of this Chicken pie, but had an exchange with who seems to be the owner of the store inquiring about our purpose of buying the Chicken pie. Is it for a party? Or your treat for your friends? There were many questions that went hand in hand with the purchase. 

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10. Salazar Pastries Address: 783 Ongpin Street, Binondo, Manila, 1006 Metro Manila Tel no : +63 2 733 1392
Our final stop for the trip. As the day turned into night, we had decided this would be our final stop. We did make small stops to other shops along the way, but by this stage everyone was shaking their heads no, showing their ample amount of purchases and their protruding stomachs. At Salazar Pastries they are popular for:

1. Moon cakes

2. Hopia

3. Meat pies

4. Sticky desserts

5. Chiffon cake

As I felt the same as the group, I just browsed through their items and did not buy anything. And to end our tour, we found a hole in the wall Po Heng Lumpia store along Ongpin street, to which we got Fresh Chinese Lumpia again to take home. I hope you found this write-up helpful. 

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