grub + travels + perspectives

Binondo Food Trip

Binondo has been a favorite destination known for its rich history, the Chinese medicine, perhaps, the charms stores and delicious food among other things. I've been to this place in and out during college but (gasp!) never tried the local delicacies. To be honest, Chinese food has never been at the top of my list until recently. My mom loves Chinese food and we would frequent this Chinese restaurant in Cavite, and let me just say that some friends from work influenced me big time this year in this category. I then discovered that dumplings are really good (haha) and that prompted my love for some Cantonese favorites like hakaw and xiao long bao. And Binondo certainly is the best proof that though some places may put the ambiance as second priority, it doesn't necessarily mean the quality of the food is compromised.

A few weekends ago, a handful of friends from work decided to do a Binondo food walk, and of course, we decided to tag along! Hahaha!

(Just a reminder though, this is not a top 6 list of the best places to go to at Binondo. Yes, these are great, must-visit restaurants however, these are the only ones we happen to visit with the given time we had.)

Dong Bei Dumpling
642 E.T. Yuchengco St. corner V. Tytana St., Binondo, Manila
(02) 241-8912

Muffet, Burn and I were the first ones to arrive, and we were already a bit hungry, so we decided to try Dong Bei's dumplings first. If you're coming from Binondo Church, just walk straight until you reach CafĂ© Mezzanine then turn left on that intersection and walk until you reach V. Tytana Street.

What will greet you upon entering are some of the ladies of Dong Bei Dumpling preparing the treats right at the front door. This basically occupies almost half of the entrance, I guess they're really showcasing and ensuring their patrons that everything served here is freshly made.

Our table was a bit messy. Sorry. Haha.
We had an order of their famous kutchay (pork and chives) dumplings and of course, xiao long bao (soup dumpling). My favorite xiao long bao are the ones served at Peace and Happiness along Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati. I was so addicted to it, I could finish an entire serving (a serving = 8 plump and delicious dumplings). Ever since then, I've been kind of looking for places that could top that.

As for the xiao long bao, Peace and Happiness is still number one for me. I really love their meat broth! But Dong Bei's was still pretty good. The kutchay dumplings were a different story though. I found another favorite! These were really excellent and flavorful, the flavors even more enhanced when you dip it in soy vinegar with chili! They're really famous for this for a reason.

They also sell frozen dumplings so you could enjoy them at home. The table next to us bought quite a few bags and the people there were kind enough to tell you instructions on how to properly cook the dumplings!

(Kutchay dumplings, PhP 120 per serving of 14 pieces; Xiao long bao, PhP 110 per serving of 6 pieces)

Wan Chai Tea House
918 Benavidez St., Binondo, Manila
(02) 245-4406

Our next stop was supposed to be Wai Ying but the place was filled, there's even a waiting list so we decided to skip it. The next restaurant we went to was Wan Chai Tea House.

To kick off, we started with the house hot tea. I think all Chinese restaurants serve complimentary hot tea for their guests. And if you ask them what are their best sellers, they'll answer you with, "Lahat." Hahaha. But since I've read online that their noodles are a must-try, it's what I suggested to my friends.

I ordered Shrimp Wanton Noodles (because shrimp dumplings in noodles are just amazing) while Muffet and Burn had the Pork Chop Noodles. I loved the Shrimp Wanton Noodles. Light broth, a bit thick, chewy noodles, and of course, the highlight, the delectable shrimp dumplings on it. Same goes for the Pork Chop Noodles. The meat's actually served separately to prevent it from being soggy. Pork chop's so freaking great, I wanna eat it with tons of rice instead. Hahaha.

(Both Shrimp Wanton Noodle and Pork chop Noodle costs PhP 135 per serving)

Ling Nam Wanton Parlor and Noodle Factory
616 T. Alonzo St., Sta Cruz, Manila
(02) 733-5231 / (02) 733-5234

In Ling Nam, we decided to have their siopao and siomai. I don't really know why I never ate siopao (until this day because they asked me to try), I wish I could come up with a great reason but, I don't know, I just decided that it's not my type even though I haven't tasted it.

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Exploring Camiguin: Part 1

(Read about our White Island experience here.)

Who was excited for her first trip to Mindanao last September? ME! ME! ME!

If there's one thing I've been doing a lot this past year, it would be traveling. I've never been to so many places in my life until I've met my friends from work! Ever since then, I would join random trips that my traveler officemates come up with! I was really looking forward to this trip (it was booked last January) because one, it would be really awesome to go south of the country, and two, it was the only trip the three of us (Ian, Muffet and I) had this year.

We spent a total of 5 days for this trip, the first and last days were used for travel from CDO to Camiguin and vice versa, respectively. We had a lot of activities during this travel so I figured I would share some photos and divide them into 3 posts.

This is a DIY trip so no tour packages were booked prior, though Ian booked our accommodations in CDO and Camiguin through Agoda a week before.

This is the dry goods market situated inside the Agora Integrated Bus Terminal, and the only decent photo I have of CDO. After we got settled in our hostel, we went to Limketkai Mall to have our early dinner. For the life of me us, we seem to have trouble locating these specific restaurants we're looking for. Either that, or it was closed. So we left Limketkai to find Butcher's Best that everyone seems to be raving about, but it was quite a disappointment. We figured we'll just have dinner there anyway and return back to our inn so we could rest.

The next day, we rode a ferry from CDO's Balingoan Port going to Camiguin's Benoni Port. And I was able to confirm that I don't get sea sick unless I'm on really small boats (like the ones we rode in Boracay LOL).

Here's a photo of me and Muffet during a conversation en route to Camiguin.

The Benoni Port. I wish I've taken a photo of how breathtaking the waters at the port of Camiguin is. It was crystal clear and all shades of blue and green. There were a lot of kids, too, that would ask you to throw coins then they would dive to get it. I bet at the end of your stay, the sound of "Barya lang, Ate." will haunt you forever. Hahaha.

We stayed at this place called July's Haven Seaside Lodge. It's cheap, by the ocean and service was great. You might want to consider booking here when you visit Camiguin. :)

Our picture perfect al fresco brunch at July's Haven before heading to our tour of West Camiguin. <3

We rented a multi-cab to take us for a day tour . First quick stop was by this fantastic view with the Guiob Church Ruins (from afar) as the background. It's more commonly referred to as the Old Church Ruins.

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