The Big Binondo Food Wok

I’ve been to Chinatown in San Francisco and Singapore, but (embarrassingly enough) not to the one in my own country. So when Gabby asked me if I wanted to come along to a walking tour of the Manila Chinatown, I immediately said yes. The tour was described to me as “a lot of eating” – I thought they were joking, but it turned out to be entirely true.

CornerThe tour is called the Big Binondo Food Wok – a walking tour of the Binondo Chinatown, which took about 4 hours. Led by Anson of Old Manila Walks, our small group (game geeks Gabby, Ryan, Chris, Mike, and I, plus a visiting Fil-Chinese family) started from Binondo Church and made our way through Plaza Calderon dela Barca, Ongpin Street, Carjaval Alley Market, and more. Anson treated us to a history lesson: that our Chinatown is the oldest (or second oldest, as it’s contested) in the world; that Binondo was built outside Intramuros during the Spanish era to provide commerce to the walled city without posing a military threat; that the entire place was bombed during World War II and a few buildings were still standing to this day; etc. He also shared the stories of Ongpin, San Lorenzo Ruiz, and other important figures.

DumplingsAlong the way, we stopped at five food places – and let me tell you, you have NOT had Chinese food unless you’ve eaten at Binondo. I’m a big fan of Good Earth and Hap Chan and all the other Chinese restaurants in urban Manila, but the freshly made Chinese food at that tour was something else. We had two kinds of dumplings, salty rice, fishball soup, iced coffee, fried siopao, an egg hard-boiled in tea leaves, authentic Chinese lumpia, and some more street food of which I can’t remember the names. But the dumplings were my favorite. I could have eaten those forever, if only I wasn’t trying to be so polite 😀

The tour groupThe tour itself wasn’t too tiring as we walked down the same group of streets, taking plenty of rest stops. And our tour guide was more than happy to indulge us in special shopping requests or, in the case of food, a second helping. I highly recommend the tour to both locals and visitors, and the price (P6,000 for a group of six) was worth it. I wouldn’t mind doing it again at all, though if I did, I would change two things: first, I would bring a bottle of water. And second, I would ask for a second/third/fourth helping of dumplings. Mmmm…


More pics of the Big Binondo Food Wok are here.

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10 thoughts on “The Big Binondo Food Wok

  1. PS3Fanboy says:

    You should’ve asked me and Tien. Did the tour guide bring you to that exotic chinese food resto where they serve frogs, nigga chickens and cow phallus? Or the bamboo shoot juice? If s/he didn’t, then s/he phailed!

    And hao wan too. They serve the best MSG flavored mami in the whole world. 🙂

    Binondo, where everywhere smells like horse dung. hahahaha I miss that place.

  2. moongirl says:

    @PS3Fanboy: I don’t think we tried those! (Though I’ll skip the exotic ones…) Can we organize a little trip of our own? 😀

    @quinnzap: Come with us this time! 🙂

  3. Tahong says:

    Promise ansarap nung frogs. Tastes like tastier chicken. I’ll bring you to raon but don’t dress anything fancy. You’ll find cheap guitars and sports stuffs there.

    Rehearsal muna ko bago ako magyaya. haha nakalimutan ko na kasi kung saan saan yung pasikot sikot 😛

    Hao Wan is somewhere near the 4 chinese schools there (St. Stephen’s, Chang Kai Shek College, Sakya and Hope Christian High School).

  4. k says:

    I LOVE BINONDO! nag-iimbentong binondo walk kami ng friend ko haha sariling sikap para walang bayad. haha. Actually kami nga quiapo-binondo walk sama ka samin tas walang bayad. haha

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