Guides

What and Where to Eat in Binondo on Chinese New Year

February 19, 2015

The Philippines is lucky enough to celebrate New Year’s twice. Just one month after ringing in 2015 on January, the Chinese community kicks off its own calendar in February. Whether or not this date is an annual tradition for your heritage, Binondo comes alive with all kinds of traditional treats and Chinese favorites that represent specific values and/or wishes for this New Year. Here are some of the best dishes and treats that are served in the heart of Binondo.

1. Noodles from UNO or President

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Photo from 3BP

It’s no secret that noodles represent long life, so kick off another new year with an order of Noodles from President or the UNO Seafood Wharf Palace. UNO is located in the Escolta side of Chinatown. Like most Chinese restaurants, their order of Braised Noodles with Assorted Meat is generous in portion and ingredients. Each bite doesn’t hold back in the assorted flavors. The President Grand Palace Restaurant also serves a hot bowl of Sizzling Noodles soaked in savory sauce and a variety of ingredients that include shrimp, seafood, and other vegetables. The rest of Chinatown also serves noodle variations such as pancit canton, bihon, and seafood fried noodles in the Benavidez Street and Yuchengo Street areas.

President Grand Palace Restaurant

Address:746-750 Ongpin St., Manila

UNO Seafood Wharf Palace

Address: 270 Calvo Bldg, Escolta St., Bgy 291, Zone 027 Binondo, Manila

2. Dumplings from Dong Bei

No visit to Binondo is complete without gorging on three or ten more dumplings. We suggest ordering a batch from Dong Bei, which offers both xiao long bao and kuchay dumplings at prices just a little above PHP 100 for between six to 14 pieces. You get to see each dumpling made in front of you, too. We suggest arriving here early as the lines tend to snake through the street.

Dong Bei Dumpling

Address: 642 Yuchengo St., Binondo, Manila

3. Spring Rolls

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Photo from Nines vs. Food

We’ve all grown up eating some variation of spring rolls, but this Chinese-Filipino classic was first eaten to commemorate the spring season. Today, lumpia is eaten almost everywhere in Binondo, but the best places to visit include Quick Snack along Carvajal Street and the New Po-Heng Lumpia House in Quintin Paredes Street. Po-Heng’s lumpia comes with sweet and spicy sauce and mixes in sugar powder, crushed peanuts, seaweed, and bihon into the roll. Quick Snack also serves cheap lumpia, along with other home cooked Chinese goods such as Chinese-style pork empanadas.

New Po-Heng Lumpia House

Address: 531 Quintin Paredes St. and 937 Ongpin St., Binondo, Manila

Quick Snack

Address: 637 Carvajal St., Binondo, Manila

4. Sweet Sticky Rice Balls

You won’t have any problems looking for tasty orders of sweety sticky rice balls around Binondo. Most small stores in the area sell the ones mixed with peanuts or beans, including the classic store Shin Ton Yon. Wai Ying also serves a savory variation in its ham soi kok, a glutinous rice shell that encases a pork filling. You can also order a set of Wai Ying’s lin yong pao or their sticky buns with yellow lotus.

Shin Ton Yon

Address: 825 Salazar St., Binondo, Manila

Wai Ying

Address: 810 Benavidez St., Binondo, Manila

5. Kiat Kiat, Oranges, and Tangerines

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Photo from Flickr

Wealth and fullness are two blessings we don’t mind in the New Year, and fruits symbolize these two important aspects for the Chinese. You can taste your way into having these by buying some fruits along Salazar Street, particularly the tangerines, oranges, and kiat kiat. The fruit selection is also massive and includes everything from pomelo, chicos, papayas, mangosteen, ponkan, grapes, different colored apples, and even pears.

6. President Grand Palace’s Specialties

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Left to Right sources: Photo from Annie Travel; Sweet Nothings; Amazing Pit Stop; Foodspotting

Like any other major celebration, Chinese New Year is the perfect excuse to order and have all your favorite Chinese food favorites. President’s is still the perfect place to do so, and we suggest ordering a full-course meal of their Lemon Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork with Pineapple, Salted Fish Fried Rice, and Eel. Unlike other Chinese restaurants, President’s Sweet and Sour Pork is both sweet and sour; not one taste overpowers the other. Each pork bit also stays crispy and isn’t made soggy by the sauce. Paired with the Salted Fish Fried Rice, your palate and tummy are in for a satisfying and sleep-inducing lunch meal.

President Grand Palace Restaurant

Address: 746-750 Ongpin St., Binondo, Manila
Metro Manila

7. DEC’s Delicacies

DEC or Diao Eng Chay isn’t just a place for take home hopia. Their other delicacies include fried dumplings and cuchay dumplings, pork siomai, sugar free cake, seafood lumpia, ma chang, and seafood lumpia. You won’t run out of snacks to eat in between festivities and for bringing back home for another meal.

DEC

Address: 845-847 Salazar cor Masangkay Sts., Binondo, Manila

8. Sticky Rice Cake or Tikoy

This Chinese New Year list wouldn’t be complete without tikoy. This sticky rice cake we all love to deep fry and snack on is referred to as “nian gao” internationally, while our local term “tikoy” comes from the Hokkien word for sweet cake, “tee kueh.” Tikoy represents family togetherness and harmony and having this treat makes sure that your family will stay together in the coming year. Chinese Filipinos have tikoy as part of the celebration to assure both family harmony and prosperity for everyone in the coming year. The best places for tikoy include DEC, Eng Bee Tin, Shin Tong Yong, and Shopper’s Mart.

DEC

Address: 845-847 Salazar cor Masangkay Sts., Binondo, Manila

Eng Bee Tin

Address: Ongpin St., Binondo, Manila

Shin Ton Yon

Address: 825 Salazar St., Binondo, Manila

Shoppers’ Mart

Address: Ongpin corner E.T. Yuchengco Sts., Binondo, Manila

What are your favorite meals or dishes to eat during Chinese New Year? Does your family have specific cooking and eating traditions? Let us know in the comments section below!

Gela Velasco Gela Velasco

Gela is a young adult slowly settling into her late twenties. She likes to make a mess in the kitchen when no one’s looking, dance till dawn on long weekends, and dream about beef on lazy afternoons. On some days she learns how to write good in graduate school. Her life goals include sashaying somewhat like Beyonce and to write a cover story on Leonardo di Caprio.

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