Friday, August 31, 2018

ChinaTown Food Crawl

C took the opportunity to take us all to Chinatown for a food crawl during one of the long weekends of August.

The kids and I haven't been there for a long time, years na. As a kid, my parents would take us there when they need to run errands, but I could never navigate the narrow streets and alleys by my lonesome. I've never been an expert on spatial orientation kaya I do not venture to Binondo alone even if I sometimes have to stock up on my chinese pantry. Maliligaw ako for sure!

C, on the other hand, knows the area like the back of his hand. When he was younger, maybe around high school, he would help his dad and take the payment collection route on weekends for their business. He considered it one of the perks of the job that he can stop by and have a snack at one of his fave restos in the area.
 When B mentioned that she wanted to go to Ongpin, my husband couldn't be happier to indulge her. 

Wai Ying

First stop was husband's fave, Wai Ying. We all just let C order for us. We just said to order everything that's good. That's what he did!

If you've noticed the worldwide trend, most of the Chinese eateries that serve genuinely good food are tiny hole-in-the-walls. Wai Ying is one of them. Super affordable and yet so good.
Siomai. Wanton Noodle Soup 

Hakaw. Radish Cake. Shrimp Chong Fan

 Bean Curd Roll

 Lava Pao. My first time to taste it, and can I just say that this is the best custard filled pao that I've ever tried

Milk Tea is a winner, in terms of taste and price points

This is the hubby's fave place for noodles. He admits the noddles smells stinky, but he swears that it ranks up there in terms of taste. Sobrang sarap daw talaga. He has taken the two younger ones with him on a previous visit, and both kids agree with him. He says he always orders the same thing: a big bowl of asado noodles. 

The place looks really old, but for my husband, it was a nostalgic trip down memory lane as he remembers eating here with his Angkong as a little boy. I am sure the fond memories with his angkong adds up to his enjoyment of the place.
Achi and I couldn't be swayed to try. Sorry na! #KJ

Chopped green onions and the asado sauce in separate containers

 Chinese Groceries
I went in three Chinese groceries to refill my Chinese pantry. Even if there are quite a few in the San Juan area, nothing beats the vastness of the options in Chinatown. I bought a lot of dried herbs, nuts, etc for my tonic soups preparations.

The biggest one is xxxxx. 

There's an air conditioned grocery store across the street from Wai Ying. I can't remember the name, but it reminded me of a Japanese neighborhood convenience store. But I couldn't take more photos, because the owner quickly told me no photos allowed.

Fresh Fruits
We saw a lot of fruit stalls selling mangoes, mangosteens, cherries, dragonfruits, pears, apples, persimmons, oranges, grapes and other fruits.

C took us here because he says that the friend chicken and oyster cake are both so good. To be honest, it wasn't all that great on the day of our visit. We were underwhelmed that we had leftovers for both dishes na pinabalot na lang namin. Could be because the kitchen was extremely busy that day. A lot of groups went on a food crawl like us and the restaurant was packed solid with diners waiting to get a table.

Chinatown is full of narrow one-way streets. We just asked the driver to drop us off  and to find parking nearby. The area is best explored by foot.

The chiffon cake of Marland Bakery is my absolute fave. My thoughtful FIL used to always buy a box for me whenever he took a trip to Chinatown. Since he passed two years ago, the Marland boxes stopped coming in na din. During our visit, my husband asked our driver to buy a box for me to take home. 

Phenomenal Tips:

1. Just pick a reasonable number of restaurants to visit for maximum enjoyment. Save the rest for another visit.
2. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
3. In case you are going during the rainy season, best to pack a foldable umbrella in your bag so you don't get trapped in case it rains.
4. Leave your valuables at home. Just carry a small body bag with the essentials.


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