Food, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines, Restaurants, Travel

6 Things To Do In The Old Manila – Binondo Chinatown

Binondo Chinatown

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. 


Three lovely ladies on a day tour in Chinatown!

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.

Maki & Lumpia

Two pork maki, one fish maki and two orders of lumpia

Fish Maki

The fish maki is the one with clear soup. This is very unique as most restaurants only serve pork maki. I still prefer pork maki over this, though.


The oh-so-healthy lumpia with vegetables and more vegetables. Delectable with their special sauce!

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.

Binondo Church

Binondo Church with the infamous electrical wires of the Philippines

Binondo Church
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

Dong Bei Dumplings Front Door

Dong Bei Dumplings

Dumplings in-the-making


Can’t wait for the dumplings!!

Dong Bei Dumplings

Our dumpling-eating weapon! Ready for battle~

Dong Bei Dumplings

It s finally here! Dip the dumplings lightly with sauce for a better taste.

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.


They sell sugarcane by cups.


You can also buy sugarcane juice in a bottle.

JC Modern Store

Aside from sugarcane, they also sell food to go along with it.

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.


The Complete Set: Sibut Black Chicken, Kiampung rice and tea

Women are not recommended to have this soup during their period.





Hello black chicken! Make sure to drink the soup. The nutrients are all in the soup~

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!


A shot taken by my friend who sat in the front seat.


The wonderful rainbow sky~


Vandalism on the other side


A rush photo with the horsey

And that sums it all up! A quick 2~3 hours day tour around Chinatown personally by your Ms. Binondo Girl. 😉

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  • Reply Michelle Adams

    Wow, what an awesome cultural experience. I definitely have to do all these things and eat all that amazing-looking food!! Thanks for sharing!

    October 17, 2016 at 10:22 pm
  • Reply Miera

    Wow.. The world’s oldest Chinatown… And it has so much to explore and eat.. I love sugarcane.. We have them here also.. And horserides.. Wow… I am truly impressed.. Would love to check them out in the future if I am around the area…

    October 17, 2016 at 10:37 pm
  • Reply Meg Kerns

    I feel like I need a guide when I go to new places like this- maybe I’ll just bring your blog along instead. Thanks for the inside look!

    October 17, 2016 at 10:47 pm
    • Gryselle Mae
      Reply Gryselle Mae

      If you’re going to the Philippines, just let me know. I’ll make a special itinerary for you. :)

      October 17, 2016 at 10:51 pm
  • Reply Lou Lou Girls

    I would love to visit!

    October 17, 2016 at 10:57 pm
  • Reply Chardy Baldyosa

    Bringing culture empowerment and adventure even to to the simpliest places. I passed by this place everytime I travel around Manila but I never seem to find the time or the reason to enter and explore the place. But after seeing your post, I was intrigued by the chinese food and the sugarcane!! Will surely blog about the place too! Thanks for the inspiration. ❤️

    October 18, 2016 at 3:01 am
  • Reply Carola

    Those dumplings look really tasty! Love it. I think there’s are great tips. I wouldn’t find these places on my own. But if I ever go to Binondo Chinatown I’ll definitely use your tips. I’d love to try out sugarcane!

    October 18, 2016 at 3:23 am
  • Reply Kasey

    This looks so fun, and that food looks incredible!! Thanks for sharing!

    October 18, 2016 at 10:30 am
  • Reply Curly Sue Review

    This seems like such a cool place to visit. The food looks great, especially the dumplings. It must be nice to live near an area with so many interesting places to eat!

    October 18, 2016 at 1:33 pm
    • Gryselle Mae
      Reply Gryselle Mae

      It is! It really is super fun to live in a place that has everything~

      October 18, 2016 at 8:15 pm
  • Reply Briana Marie

    The food looks yummy. You got some really great shots here!

    October 18, 2016 at 6:26 pm
  • Reply Dannii

    I think I would just happily eat all day! All the food looks incredible.

    October 18, 2016 at 6:53 pm
    • Gryselle Mae
      Reply Gryselle Mae

      There are a lot more restaurants that I haven’t blogged about. Will definitely do a part two! :)

      October 18, 2016 at 8:14 pm
  • Reply Valerie

    This place looks great. I love the suggestions you made. Very cool.

    October 18, 2016 at 9:00 pm
  • Reply Ima

    All I could focus on was all the food! Hehe
    And I got to learn a little Chinese too. :-)

    October 18, 2016 at 9:21 pm
    • Gryselle Mae
      Reply Gryselle Mae

      I’ll teach you more on my future posts ;)

      October 18, 2016 at 9:49 pm
  • Reply Jelena

    Food is definitely something different, there’s so much information here for anyone who happens to be there. It’s nice to have a local guide to new places. :)

    October 18, 2016 at 11:21 pm
  • Reply Laveena Sengar

    This must have been a great experience for you. I personally love exploring different cultures all the time. There is so much to learn from all of them. :)

    October 18, 2016 at 11:49 pm
  • Reply Tanya

    I would be eating all day if I ever came to visit! Still on my bucket list of places but hopefully someday!

    October 19, 2016 at 11:32 am
  • Reply Amae guerrero

    We usually go there in Chinatown for food trip. Food there are great. And its cheap! I don’t if you have tried eating in estero. We love to eat there

    Amae –

    October 19, 2016 at 11:02 pm
  • Reply Alyssa tuangco

    Ive been around binondo and I love the food there plus things you can buy! I haven’t fully explored the place yet and there are a lot of streets still to discover :)the fish maki by the way looks good!

    October 21, 2016 at 1:26 pm
  • Reply Jake, Tarot and Coffee

    I could really use loads of Binondo guides such as this one. Actually, I did ask for tips on knocking about ’round there sometime ago, and I was primarily lookin’ for best food and that. I did eventually try the well-knowns such as the likes of President’s and Wai Ying. All in all, I have a myriad of memories ’round that place.

    October 21, 2016 at 4:32 pm
    • Gryselle Mae
      Reply Gryselle Mae

      If ever you are going to Binondo for another food tour, ask me! I can certainly help you with your itinerary. :)

      October 21, 2016 at 8:43 pm
      • Reply Jake, Tarot and Coffee

        I will certainly come back there, so I’d fancy your recommendations. About time to try new things down there. Thanks so much!

        October 24, 2016 at 10:14 am
  • Reply Channel Marie Imperial

    Would love to stay New Po Heng Lumpia House the whole day and eat everything on their menu! Hahahaha! Don’t we just love Chinese food? The black chicken seems tasty too. Would love to eat it when I go to Binondo! :-)

    October 22, 2016 at 12:27 am
  • Reply Milton Coyne

    I always visit Binondo on or before the Chinese New year and have my own food walk tour haha.. I’ve been to all these wonderful places.. Dong Bei really offers yummy dumplings and I actually don’t mind the long queue just to get in haha
    Sincerity Restaurant is also a great place and also the Cafe Mezzanine…

    October 22, 2016 at 1:29 am
  • Reply Mohit Agarwal

    This totally would serve as a perfect guide for a visit to manila…i soo want to try the dumplings at don

    October 22, 2016 at 9:56 pm
  • Reply Cykaniki

    This is really helpful especially for first timers, to be honest I haven’t been there, and everything your wrote here is so inviting, we have Calesa here as well, this will be one of my options when I visited the place, thankyou

    October 25, 2016 at 1:48 pm
  • Reply klaudia

    Oh , what a beautiful post ! It makes me wanna go to Manila right now. I am always so fascinated by the scenery of the Philipines, it is a whole different world for me.I am a huge fan of Asian food , your images look amazing , mouthwatering to be honest :) I was just thinking , how healthy you cook.I never see that many (sorry) overweight people on any of all your post images !!! Have a look over to America followed by Europe , the majority of people is fat , (sorry again , don’t mean to insult anybody )

    October 28, 2016 at 6:50 am
  • Reply 5 Reasons Why People Love Pablo Cheese Tart

    […] wait for the hype to calm down; and surprisingly, it did. The first time I went there was after the Binondo Food Tour with my friends. We rode the kalesa from Binondo Chinatown to Robinson’s Place Ermita where I […]

    December 30, 2016 at 8:43 pm
  • Reply Kris

    Never been to Binondo and this quick tour shows a lot of what it is like. I enjoyed reading the blog especially that it showcases a lot of food! Haha! I totally love dumplings so I would want to try out what the original one tastes like. Never tasted the black chicken yet and would love to check it out too. :)

    January 24, 2017 at 7:11 pm
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