Monday, December 29, 2008

China Town Binondo

While in Manila after booking ourselves for our Corregidor boat trip, Ma'am Cinch and I hanged out in Chinatown in Binondo, Manila. I always like visiting the place, it's colorful.

We first visited Binondo Church also known as Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz. Where our Patron Saint San Lorenzo Ruiz came from. 

 We went to the known Estero to eat lunch. It's tucked along Ongpin Street just a few meters away from the church. It's called Estero because it lies in a small alley beside a smelly creek. But has that authentic Binondo feel. Joff, my friend from college met with us at the restaurant. We ordered Yang Chow fried rice, fish in Tausi and of course frog legs.  It was our first time to eat fried frog legs. It's just like mini size chicken drum sticks. He said we should try the Oyster Cake.  It is chewy and filling, and it was something new to my palette. It is made out of cassava flour with bits of oyster and fried which made it look like torta or a pancake with everything in it.  

Oyster Cake
 The side streets are filled with vendors selling lucky charms and fruits for the New Year. They even sell crystal balls, who knows what future might bring. Even though they have charms, most Chinese I know of are Christians.


Year of the Ox

We stopped by a Chinese drugstore. We hunted for the great "balm".  Ma'am Cinch needed the "hottest". They have several roots, herbs and powders.

 After which we raided the Salazar Bake Shop, I love pastries so we had to go there. We bought some Tikoy and cakes. 
  The pineapple is meant to be hung at entry doors in New Year.

We also passed by Eng Bee Tin, for their famous Hopia. I love the red mongo. 

 Binondo is also known for their volunteer fire fighters. Who said fire trucks should be red? The fire trucks was donated by the owner of Eng Bee Tin hence the color.

 In the heart of Manila, horse drawn carriages are still used, also known as Carretela All you need is a horse and you'll save on gas. But one drawback is, when you smell horse manure are sometimes found on the streets. They should do something about it like what they do in Vigan, they have a sack to collect them.

 We also went to Juan Luna Street, window shopped a bit. Juan Luna is the a passage to Divisoria. Divisoria is known for cheap priced goods mostly made in China I guess.
The streets are jam-packed with vendors due to the holiday. We saw cute puppies. I almost bought one. Actually I wanted to buy them all. 

After our street roaming galore, we snacked at Eng Bee Tin, tried there Siopao with Ube(purple yum) bun and the fried wantons. In my own opinion it didn't taste good.  I like the ordinary Siopao.

We were planning to go to Intramuros, the Spanish Walled City but we lack the time so our Manila roaming ended there. I'm planning to go back and have a real food exploration.

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