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Binondo food crawl: An insider's guide

With Chinese New Year just around the corner, you might be asking yourself: “Not another Binondo food crawl?”

But yes, this is another food crawl — with one special twist: This is an insider’s do-it-yourself Binondo food crawl. I have lived in the world's oldest Chinatown all my life. I have explored its many ins and outs, its major streets and tiny back alleys. I have a lot of long-standing favorites from childhood and have a few new discoveries.

Here, I share with you some of the great establishments as well as a few institutions near and accessible from Binondo.

This is a one-day itinerary that starts at the banks of the Pasig River (Quintin Paredes Street) and ends below the tracks of the Light Rail Transit (LRT1) one Rizal Avenue.

Ready? Happy eating!

Ying Ying. This teahouse has all the essential rice toppings, Yang Chow Fried Rice, and dimsum. Choose from a wide array of steamed or fried classics like Pork and Shrimp Siomai (P75), Hakao (P80), Chicken Feet (P70), Lo Mai Kai (P70), and Taro Puff (P70). Or start with a steaming bowl of congee (porridge or “jook”).

Care for a bowl of jook? All photos: Stanley Baldwin See
Care for a bowl of jook? All photos: Stanley Baldwin See

If a bowl of congee is not your thing, try the Cheong Fan (P75), steamed sheets of dough made from rice and filled with either shrimp, beef, vegetables, or my personal favorite, roasted pork or “asado”. 

234 Dasmariñas St., Binondo, Manila 1006

Tasty Dumplings. Check it out for their signature steamed or fried dumplings with a side of chili or fish sauce. There are actually three locations in the vicinity with the one closest to Ying Ying a mere 70 meters away on Dasmariñas Street. Other must-try dishes include Porkchop Noodle, Hong Ma Rice, Silver Roll (bread), and soya milk.

Tasty Dumplings has three locations in the Binondo area: 433 Yuchengco St., 641 Norberto Ty St. at the left side of the Binondo Church, and 960 Masangkay St.

Shin Ton Yon. Order  a quarter, a half, or maybe several kilos of the succulent barbecued pork tenderloin — aka asado. Another must order is the Chinese Sausage, another versatile ingredient that you can eat on its own or mixed with fried rice or congee. 

825 Salazar St., Binondo, Manila 1006

Aside from their signature dumplings, patrons of Tasty Dumplings also want their Porkchop Noodle fix.
Aside from their signature dumplings, patrons of Tasty Dumplings also want their Porkchop Noodle fix.

Ha Yuan. Burn up some calories (and make room for a proper lunch) by walking from Salazar Street, turning right on Benavidez Street, and walk 650 meters north towards Ha Yuan on Masangkay Street.

Along the way, you will see other well-known establishments like Country Chicken, two branches of well-loved hole-in-the-wall Wai Ying, and the decades-old Masuki Mami House. Once you cross Recto Avenue, make a left turn towards Luzon Street and make another right once you see the Buddhist temple.

Specialty of the house is the Maki Mi, an egg-noodle dish that has thick, jelly-like brown broth and tender slices of pork. Place a few slices of spring onions on top for added texture and flavor. This dish has been a favorite for multiple generations of Filipino-Chinese; a fact that my parents can attest as a bowl only cost them a few centavos back in their high school days.

Should you find the Maki Mi “exotic”, there are other items on the menu like the Chicken Mami, fresh spring rolls, and rice toppings to satisfy your cravings.

1173 Masangkay St., Tondo, Manila.

Country Chicken. A few hundred meters-walk from Ha Yuan is the other branch of Country Chicken, another decades-old establishment that is famous for their roasted/rotisserie chicken. Picture plump, juicy, and tender chicken meat eaten with hot rice topped with their signature sauce/gravy made with Chinese herbs and spices. 

You can have it chopped for a more convenient eating or order a “pang-alay” or for offering (an undressed whole chicken with its head, neck, and feet still attached) used during a death anniversary of a loved one or during special occasions. 

Country Chicken has two locations in the area: 815 Benevidez St., Binondo, Manila and 1350 Masangkay St., Tondo, Manila.


Dimsum classics like pork and shrimp siomai, hakaw, siopao and taro puff (both pictured) are best eaten for breakfast with a cup of hot tea.

Lan Zhou La Mien. How about an afternoon merienda of hand-pulled noodles? La Mien or “pull/stretch noodle” is produced by twisting, pulling, and stretching the dough to make the strands. At Lan Zhou, there are several variants to choose from but my personal favorite is the beef with meat-filled wontons.

1356 Masangkay St., Tondo, Manila.

From Masangkay Street, one can head to the nearest LRT1 stations: D. Jose or Bambang, Recto LRT2 station, or catch jeepney rides to your destination along Rizal Avenue.

You can mix and match, skip one or two stops, and even add one from a previous Binondo food crawl that you have to before.

It also doesn’t mean that all these wonderful food should be tasted or eaten within one whole day; however, having a good appetite, an open mind to try things out, and a good pair of walking shoes is always good start to any food crawl. — LA, GMA News

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