Chinese New Year this 2020 falls on January 25. No doubt the streets of Binondo – Manila’s own Chinatown – will be buzzing as revelers visit the historic district to partake in festivities and go food-tripping.
The well-known cultural and foodie haven is home to over a hundred dining options, from tiny stalls serving classic Tsinoy street food to nostalgic fine-dining establishments serving family-style Chinese favorites. Binondo is worth visiting any time of the year just for food-tripping. For first-time visitors, here are just five unique homegrown hits in Binondo you can check out.
Dong Bei Dumplings
Dong Bei Dumplings frequently ends up in lists of where to eat in Binondo for good reason. This unassuming hole-in-the-wall joint has gained fame their home-made dumplings and pot stickers. Be sure to try their kuchay and pork dumplings, deep-fried scallion cakes, tofu burger, stir-fried chicken with carrots and cucumber, and xiao long bao. Be warned: During weekends and holidays, the eatery is so popular, that you may find yourself having to wait just to try their dishes. You can also buy packs of frozen dumplings for takeout.
- Business name: Dong Bei Dumplings
- Address: 642 E.T. Yuchengco St. cor. V. Tytana St., Binondo
- Contact / phone number: (02) 82418912
- Operating hours: OpenMonday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
- Facebook: Dong Bei Dumpling
New Quan Yin Chay Vegetarian Food Garden
Good eats don’t need to be meat-heavy. For those looking for healthier alternatives and plant-based dishes, New Quan Yin Chay dishes out a wide variety of flavorful vegetarian meals. Viands like veggie kare-kare, veggie sisig, curry, dumplings, fresh lumpia and more are laid out cafeteria-style for diners to choose from. You can get a filling meal of rice and three viands for just P120. The restaurant also serves as a store for specialty vegan ingredients, sauces, mock meat, and frozen food.
- Business name: New Quan Yin Chay Vegetarian
- Address: 739 Ongpin St. (at Salazar St.), Binondo, Metro Manila
- Contact / phone number:(02) 8241 0588
- Operating hours: Open Monday to Sunday from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm
Café Mezzanine is a homey café that specializes in affordable comfort food cooked Hokkien-style. It also serves as a Volunteer Fireman’s Coffee Shop that donates it revenues to the BinondoPaco Fire Search and Rescue Brigade. Bestsellers here include the kiampong (rice cooked with soy sauce, pork, veggies and topped with salted peanuts), Special Fish Ball Soup (a light soup with veggies and fishballs), Lo Tau Hu (Stir-fried tofu), andn oyster cake – best paired with cold kundol or wintermelon juice.
- Business name: Café Mezzanine
- Address: 650 Ongpin cor. E.T. Yuchengco St. Binondo
- Operating hours: Open Monday to Sunday from 6:00 am – 10:00 pm
- Facebook: Cafe Mezzanine
Sincerity Café & Restaurant
If you’re craving fried chicken and oyster cakes, Sincerity Cafe & Restaurant, a family-owned establishment specializing in healthy and affordable Amoy dishes, is your best bet. Sincerity Café has been known to serve the best-tasting fried chicken in the area since 1956. You can also try their other specialties like BBQ Spare Ribs, Fried Oyster Cake, Fried Kikiam, Fresh Lumpia, Shrimp Omelette, and 8 Treasures Machang.
- Business name: Sincerity Café & Restaurant
- Address:497 E.T. Yuchengco (formerly Nueva St.), Binondo, Manila
- Contact / phone number: (02) 82419990
- Operating hours: OpenMonday to Sunday from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
- Facebook: Sincerity Cafe & Restaurant
King Chef Seafood Restaurant
For larger groups and families who want something a little more upscale compared to the typical Binondo eateries, King Chef located in Lucky Mall Chinatown is a good option. King Chef offers a variety of Cantonese comfort food ideal for large groups holding business meetings or celebrating anniversaries and special occasions. Specialties include the Seafood with Spinach Soup, Shrimp Bombs (coated shrimp balls filled with melted cheese), Dragon Boat (prawns seasoned with butter and melted cheese served with broccoli and crispy noodles), Peking Duck served three ways, and Lapu-Lapu in Pomelo Sauce.
- Business name: King Chef
- Address:2/F Lucky Chinatown Mall, Reina Regente St, Binondo, Manila
- Contact / phone number:(02) 8742 5464
- Operating hours: Open Monday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm
- Facebook: King Chef