Binondo Chinatown is the world’s oldest Chinatown. It is also my home as I grew up in Binondo Chinatown. I know every corner and every good restaurant around.
Traffic is really bad in Binondo, but I can help you squeeze your way out and point to you the best route to avoid traffic. A lot of restaurants have opened up in Binondo, but the good ones and the ones that you should really try are the restaurants that have been operating for years.
I currently live in Makati now, but I still go back to Chinatown whenever I get the chance to do so; or if I have to visit a Chinese grocery store for items that aren’t available in the supermarkets. I had a chance to go back last week when my friend visited Manila for a day. I also asked my Taiwanese friend to go with us since she hasn’t been to Chinatown despite the fact that she stayed almost a year here in the Philippines.
1) Indulge in the Maki and Lumpia at New Po Heng Lumpia House ( 新寶興美食）
This was our first stop. The restaurant is hard to find for non-locals. It is located inside a building along Quintin Paredes street, opposite Carbajal Market. The building has a sign “New Po Heng” but can only be seen if you’re on the opposite side. Their specialty is their Maki (PHP 55) and Lumpia (PHP 70). The literal meaning of Maki is meat cornstarch. “Ma” in Fookien Chinese means meat, while “Ki” means cornstarch; hence – Maki.
Make sure to drop by this place as your first stop. The Maki are usually sold out by afternoon.
New Po Heng Lumpia House (新寶興美食）
Address: 531 Quintin Paredes St, Binondo, Manila
Tel# (02) 241 8789
2) Visit the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo (Binondo Church)
Binondo Church is one of the oldest place of worship in the Philippines, dating back from 1596. The granite-made Binondo Church has now been repainted, which made it lose its oldish feel. Nevertheless, it is still a very popuaar Landmark in Binondo, Chinatown.
Address: Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz,Binondo, Manila
Tel# (02) 242 4850
3) Order Authentic Dumplings from Dong Bei Dumplings (东北水饺）
Dong Bei Dumplings serves the best dumplings in Chinatown. The wrapper is thin yet doesn’t break easily. The dumplings are very juicy that burst in your mouth after a bite! I recommend ordering the Pork Dumplings and the Kuchay Dumplings.
Dong Bei Dumplings (东北水饺）
Address: 642 Yuchengco St, Binondo, Manila, Metro Manila
4) Take a Sip of Chinatown’s 100% Natural Sugarcane
JC Modern Store looks like a small store that sells anything that they can sell. It isn’t really easy to spot because of their store appearance. However, this store sells the best sugarcane in Binondo Chinatown. They have been selling sugarcane since 1972! I can still remember pestering my mom to buy me a sugarcane when I was still studying in a nursery school nearby.
I would recommend you to look out for your bags as this place can be quite dangerous especially for tourists. I have encountered a lot of pickpockets in this area.
JC Modern Store
Address: 971 Ongpin Street, Sta. Cruz, Manila
5) Taste the Sibut Black Chicken at McSeri (Formerly McGerry)
Black Chicken is not popular here in the Philippines; however, it is quite well-known in other Asian countries such as Taiwan, China and Singapore. The black chicken is simmered in the soup of sibut (Chinese herbs) for 2~3 hours; hence the name. This soup is a tonic that helps invigorate our body and cures illness. It works like a vitamin; however, women are not recommended to have this soup during their period. I was told there are some herbs that are not good for women with periods.
Women are not recommended to have this soup during their period.
6) Horse Around or Out of the Streets of Binondo Chinatown in a Kalesa
Kalesa is a horse-drawn carriage in the Philippines. It used to be one of the most popular mode of transportation in Binondo Chinatown. I still remember riding one of these to school like a boss. Haha!
Since the weather wasn’t cooperating with us and the sky is turning gray, we had to leave Chinatown before the rain drops. Thus, I decided to ride a kalesa out of Chinatown and to Malate for PHP 350. It was totally worth it for me even though it is a little expensive from my usual ride. Besides, my friends loved it!
And that sums it all up! A quick 2~3 hours day tour around Chinatown personally by your Ms. Binondo Girl. 😉