Manila Chinatown: Dumplings, noodles, etc.

“Home sweet Chinatown home!” That’s the mister’s  standard line upon arrival in Binondo. He sings a different tune after he’s done visiting his all-time favorite eateries.

He grew up partly in the Chinese-speaking enclave. His family still maintains their apartment in the vintage Wellington Building (in photo) right across the Binondo Church, renamed the Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz. For a negosyante (businessman) from the province, having a home within the commercial  epicenter translates to major convenience and savings.

While he was out in the streets of Chinatown, I did my own culinary adventure. My first stop was Tasty Dumplings along Ongpin Street. Cathy, a friend, used to bring me to the old location (Masangkay) for pork chop rice and fried dumplings.

I desired newness, so I chose vegetables — kiamchay (mustard) noodles and steamed kuchay (chives) dumplings. I also ordered a glass of iced dalanghita (tangerine) juice.

My kiamchay noodle soup was extremely delicious! Supertasty broth! The exotic taste of mustasa still lingers in my mind. The noodles were kinda too fat and average.

The steamed dumplings, just regular. I prefer the fried ones, but surely, I’m going back for their kiamchay noodles.

Tasty Dumplings 620 Ongpin St., Binondo, Manila

Next stop, Ling Nam for bola-bola siopao, siomai and beef wonton noodles. The place was packed with old-timers. My parents’ favorite noodle and congee place, actually.

The noodle soup is as good as ever. The siomai, just so-so, not meaty. The siopao with chorizo and salted egg’s the same except for the shrunken size.

It’s nostalgia all over again.

Ling Nam Wanton Parlor and Noodle Factory 616 T. Alonzo St., Sta. Cruz, Manila

Hahah, look who I spotted on my way back to the apartment! At Dong Bei, touted as  the maker of the best dumplings in Chinatown. The Manila Streetwalker Mr. Ivan Man Dy himself! He was his usual animated self, yet so in control of his Old Manila Walks tour guiding.

Me: Hi, Ivan! Remember me… sandboarding in Ilocos?
Ivan: Ah, yeah, what’s the organization again?
Me: LEAD Movement.
Ivan: Halika [probably referring to the tour].
Me: No, thanks! I live in that building. I just wanted to say hello and photograph you at work. Why are you not wearing that Chinese cap?
Ivan: Wala, passé na ‘yon *smiles*
Me: Thanks, Ivan! See you around.
Ivan: Bye! [He continues on with his tour guiding.] Do you know that we have deserts in the Philippines? [I was leaving while he went on with his spiel.]

Wow, cool! Thanks, Ivan!

I had too much food, so I promise to eat and blog about Dong Bei dumplings next time.

Dong Bei Dumplings 642 Yuchengco (former Nueva St.), Binondo, Manila

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved

Practicing my chopsticks skills at red 8

Yesterday, two of my adventure buddies and I got exhausted and famished crisscrossing Paoay and Laoag on an exploration assignment. A rugged road in Nagbacalan led us to Calayab and we saw a this way to Fort Ilocandia sign; so we thought of going on a food adventure as a postlude. We all agreed on dimsum.

Two Christmases ago, Fort Ilocandia’s tea place was still Lucky House; I never had the chance to go back since then. red 8, its new name, can’t be missed. The striking placard above the door says so.

Barbecued meat display

We didn’t have the same cravings, so each one had his/her own order.

Not my order — braised chicken feet.

Not mine either — roast suckling pig with drained noodles.

There’s mine — Malaysian cake, or Mah Lai Goh, in place of the radish cake that they don’t serve anymore…

and hakaw, a special shrimp and bamboo shoot dumpling. That cake wouldn’t be enough!

Guess what happened next after we tasted each other’s food? We asked for 3 more dimsum steamer baskets of hakaw, one for each. We ate it with the equally excellent chili sauce they had and we almost consumed the whole condiment container which was kinda big. Omg, the best! The Chinese foodie said that it is better than the hakaw in most Binondo Chinese tea houses. I say, it is better than the hakaw of the now more famous Emerald. Tell that to Mayor Lim.

To tell you, everything was excellent. The roast suckling pig, like lechon, was crispy and the noodles, perfectly done. The Malaysian steamed rice cake  minus the subtle coconut cream flavor was like puto; I wished for dinuguan while eating it. I don’t know about the chicken feet because I can’t have chicken, but my buddies said that it was great.

PS Oh, I forgot about this other order of mine…

Piping hot abalone and duck congee, savory as always. Of course, I ate it with a Chinese soup spoon.

Photos by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED