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

Ivan Man Dy: From the streets of Binondo to the La Paz Sand Dunes

When in Manila, from my in-laws’ Wellington apartment right beside the Binondo Church aka Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, the hubby and I would have our little food walking tours, revisiting our old Manila Chinatown favorites and discovering new ones. Or  my sister-in-law would send someone to buy meals at nearby Carvajal Street, or just telephone a Savory fried chicken delivery. In the last decade or so, the evolution of Binondo has been noticeable. New establishments featuring regional flavors from China and Pinoy fastfood chains are now a slice of the Binondo food scene.

Yesterday, I came face to face with the Manila Streetwalker, Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks. He’s one of the country’s leading tour guides and an ardent advocate of heritage conservation. If you’re a fan of Anthony Bourdain, you’d recognize Ivan as his food guide in Binondo. Of all places to meet Ivan, it was at the La Paz Sand Dunes… one of the camera experts with the “Lakbay Norte” group visiting Ilocos mentioned him as Tony’s Chinese food guide in the No Reservations Binondo edition. Anyways, I got curious because I had to read  The Big Binondo Wok Food Map as an assignment in a previous stint. Was he the man with the wok on top of his head? I forgot to ask.

*Thank you to Ivan for posing for my camera.
Photo by Blauearth  Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED