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Your Ultimate Food Trip Guide to Binondo Edit

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Colleen Cabili  • Contributor
Opinions expressed by Explora.ph Contributors are their own.

The oldest Chinatown in the world, Binondo is a melting pot of Chinese food and Chinese-Spanish monuments. It is saturated with smells, colors, and flavors, making it a favorite walking tour among foodies and shutterbugs in Metro Manila.

This itinerary includes budget establishments each with its own exquisite Chinese or Asian specialty. You may also request the food to be divided into four, which is the ideal number for food sharing among the restaurants featured in this itinerary.

Chinatown covers both Binondo and some parts of Santa Cruz in the city of Manila. If you don’t want to carry a map with you, you may simply bisect the entire Chinatown through Ongpin Street, which runs through the middle of Binondo from LRT 1 Carriedo Station. 

Though Ongpin Street would take you only 10 minutes to walk from end to end, visiting the many interesting streets diverging from Ongpin would take you hours to walk around and discover Chinatown for yourself.

History of Binondo

Back in the late 15th century, Binondo was a special place where the Spaniards assigned all Chinese merchants to conduct their business. That is, away from the Spanish fortress inside the Intramuros walls, which is across the Pasig River.

Since then, the Chinese community in Binondo have thrived in business, trade, and commerce, and have given birth to some of the most successful financial establishments in the country, like Chinabank, Metrobank, and the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).

The Ongpin South Bridge Arch. (Photo courtesy of Manila Picture.)

Today, the Chinese community makes up the largest group of immigrants in the Philippines, with Chinese Filipinos comprising about 23 percent of the country’s total population. 

Being the wealthiest ethnic group in the Philippines, the Chinese Filipino community controls about 60 percent of the country’s total economy. Many Chinese businessmen have made a fortune in the Philippines, and they themselves have made the Philippines fortunate. 

Aside from their contribution to the Philippine economy, they have left behind historical sites, priceless treasures, and cultural values that have become part of the Filipino tradition.

The Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch located right across Jones Bridge. (Photo courtesy of Gen Celada.)
The Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz or Binondo Church. (Photo courtesy of Jay Ermitaño.)

While the Spaniards have long been gone, the friendship formed between the Chinese and the Filipinos blossomed into intermarriage of people, values, and culture. If there is one place to immerse yourself in the Chinese Filipino subculture, it is right here in the district of Binondo.

Masuki Mami Restaurant Corporation

Masuki Restaurant is an established Tsinoy mami house that produces its own thick miki noodles. Masuki is popular for its flavorful Chicken or Beef Mami (P130). The restaurant also serves the biggest steamed pork bun or Siopao Asado (P85; it has the combined size of three regular siopaos) in Binondo.

Over the years, Masuki has expanded its reach by opening branches in malls around the metro, but their original restaurant remains operational until this day. (Photo courtesy of Jay Ermitaño.)
The Original Mami's recipe dates back to the early 1960s. (Photo courtesy of Jay Ermitaño.)

Shanghai Fried Siopao

Prepare to fall in line once you reach Shanghai Fried Siopao’s kiosk. Don’t confuse their bestseller with the common Toasted Siopao, though. What sets the Fried Siopao (P22 per piece) apart is its soft bun, save for the crispy toasted bottom. Every serving is generously filled with minced pork and herbs. This well-loved spot also sells frozen goods like siomai and kikiam. 

Shanghai Fried Siopao is located across BDO in Ongpin Street, right beside the pedicab terminal. (Photo courtesy of Manel Solsoloy.)

Quan Yin Chay Vegetarian

Quan Yin Chay serves Filipino and Chinese vegetarian dishes displayed turo-turo style. Their specialty is Vegetarian Sisig (P55), which, when dressed in mayonnaise and green chili, bears the taste of pork sisig. This restaurant also offers free hot tea.

Sample dishes at Quan Yin Chay Vegetarian Restaurant. (Photo courtesy of JR Felipe.)
Quan Yin Chay's famous vegetarian sisig. (Photo courtesy of JR Felipe.)

Wai Ying Fastfood

Wai Ying is a two-story restaurant in Benavidez Street that offers a wide array of tasty dumplings. You can actually see your orders being prepared since the open kitchen is right beside their dining area, so expect the place to get a bit warm during peak hours. The dumplings are served hot in wooden baskets. Make sure to try out the shrimp-based Hakaw (P95) and Steamed Spareribs (P80).

Wai Ying's facade can be quite easy to miss, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled! (Photo courtesy of Angelo The Explorer.)
Wai Ying's tasty spareribs (right) is steamed for hours to give it that melt-in-your-mouth texture. (Photo courtesy of Manel Solsoloy.)

Shin Tai Shang

Shin Tai Shang is a small Taiwanese grocery that sells Taiwanese and Chinese dry goods. The store also sells Chinese-influenced viands, giant kikiams the size of embutido, and uniquely flavored cakes. Their Green Tea & Plum Cake (P40) and Pineapple Yolk Cake (P45) are good to try for their uniqueness and novelty, while their Curry Chicken Pie (P45) is a delicious treat you wouldn’t want to miss out. You may request to have the three cakes cut into quarters to share among your group.

Shin Tai Shang along Salazar Street. (Photo courtesy of JR Felipe.)
Inside Shin Tai Shang, a Taiwanese grocery in Binondo. (Photo courtesy of JR Felipe.)
Shin Tai Shang's chicken pie. (Photo courtesy of JR Felipe.)

Eng Bee Tin Grocery

Dubbed as "home of the best hopia and tikoy" in Binondo, Eng Bee Tin Grocery sells food souvenirs you may take home to your family and friends. Their most delectable product is Custard Hopia (P64), followed by the classic Ube Hopia (P52).

Known as "home of the best hopia and tikoy" in Binondo. (Photo courtesy of Manel Solsoloy.)
Hopia in different varieties are available in Eng Bee Tin Grocery. All of them taste really good! (Photo courtesy of Manel Solsoloy.)

Dong Bei Dumplings

This tiny restaurant serves homemade dumplings, prepared right behind the store’s glass window. For a genuine sampling of Chinese dumplings, give their flavorful Kuchay (P180/14 pcs.) a try.

Dumplings are made before your eyes at Dong Bei Dumplings along Yuchengco Street.
Dong Bei offers the yummiest dumplings in Binondo! (Photo courtesy of Manel Solsoloy.)

Cafe Mezzanine

This firefighter-themed restaurant in Yuchengco Street specializes in Kiampong (P50), or Chinese fried rice cooked in pork stew. Try their Winter Melon Juice (P50). The taste may flood you with childhood memories associated with the sweet fruit aratilis (Philippine cherries).

Kiampong is brown rice sautéed with mushroom strips and flavored with soy sauce. (Photo courtesy of JR Felipe.)
Cafe Mezzanine's Gokong (P190), a pork-based soup dish flavored with Chinese herbs. (Photo courtesy of JR Felipe.)

New Po-Heng Lumpia House

New Po-Heng Lumpia House sells one of the most unforgettable spring rolls or Lumpia (P60) in Chinatown. This lumpia may be eaten in four ways: (1) as it is, without sauce; (2) with sweet sauce, like that in siopao; (3) with hot sauce, and; (4) with garlic and vinegar. The last has a tang that erupts deliciously in the mouth.

You can watch these ladies roll the lumpia before your eyes. Super tasty! (Photo courtesy of JR Felipe.)
The lumpia is fat and juicy, and contains fresh ingredients like tofu, pork, carrots, cabbage, mixed nuts, and seaweeds. (Photo courtesy of JR Felipe.)

Quik Snack

Tucked inside the narrow alley of Carvajal is one of the oldest restaurants in Binondo. Quick Snack was established way back in 1967 and is known for its affordable Hokkien dishes and homey ambiance. Don’t miss their Beef Mi (P125), a slightly spicy noodle dish topped with beef slices and water spinach. Level it up by requesting for the Sate sauce add-on (P15).

Quik Snack along Carvajal Street. (Photo courtesy of Manel Solsoloy.)
Quik Snack's Beef Mi with sate sauce paired with a tall glass of Almond Jelly (P60). (Photo courtesy of Manel Solsoloy.)

You can also check out our 1-minute Binondo Food Trip vlog, where we tried out five of the entries in this list! See it below:

Craving for a little bit of Chinese? 


Join the delicious Binondo Walking Food Tour with Don't Skip Manila here.

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