Laoag’s Christine’s Miki Haus

Looking for a place to eat delicious native food in Laoag can be quite tricky. If you’re raring to try something in particular, a good person to ask is a tricycle driver — he’s always out in the streets and is more or less familiar with the more frequented eateries in town. So if you’re aiming for miki, most likely he’ll recommend Christine’s Miki Haus. Christine’s Miki Haus has been around since 1995. The pagmikian used to be no more than one table, which can seat merely six people. It got bigger and bigger, and in 2001, owners Cora and Roger Cendaña modified their home (just right across the old location) to make room for a newer air-conditioned Christine’s Miki Haus, which can hold several large groups at the same time. For the not-so-closely-acquainted with Ilocano cuisine, miki is thick chicken soup consisting of homemade noodles, chicharon bits, and topped with chicken floss. Recipes will vary depending on the maker’s taste. Christine’s miki has consistently had the down-home style with classic appeal. Resembling the savory miki of yore, the noodles are not too thick and don’t turn soggy at all. There is that authenticity that only homegrown locals can easily discern.Very affordable, miki with lumpia (spring roll), puto (steamed rice cake) or pork barbecue will cost anywhere between 50-80 pesos. Note: Miki is best eaten with a drizzle of well-aged sukang Iloco with sili. Happy chow time!

Christine’s Miki Haus (Open from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM) 33 Paco Roman St., Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2011

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