For so many years, Binondo has been dominated by Chinese immigrants from mainland China. They knew how to tweak their recipes to suit the Filipino palate. Hence, the Chinoys of today grew accustomed to a different level of Chinese cooking. “More malasa, nothing like it in other Chinatowns abroad,” Chinoys overseas would say.
In vibrant Manila Chinatown, a store bearing the name Shin Tai-Shang beckons because food are beyond the usual. Flaky hopia-like balls are colorful, pies are dotted with black sesame seeds, mooncakes are shaped like animal heads, sausages are stuffed with rice and shelves are filled with Taiwanese products.
“Rice meals that are healthier” (according to owner Christine) catch one’s attention. The vegetarian food I’ve tried are delish, not bland surprisingly.
I went deeper into the store and found unique Asian decor and lots of kitschy stuff such as original Sanrio, Cath Kidston and dancing maneki-neko that made me smile. A laughing Buddha is difficult to find, but they had one that was already reserved .
Along with Japanese Biore facial washes and Taiwanese cosmetics, La Roche-Posay and Vichy moisturizers and sunblock are selling well, according to the SAs.
Shin Tai-Shang on Salazar Street was a revelation. I haven’t even checked out the condiment shelves.