Monday, May 16, 2016


It was the pansit-kanin breakfast we had in Munoz... 

...that led to the center of the pansit universe, at least in the Philippines, although I did not come for the pansit but for Ivan Dy Man's "Old Binondo Wok".

But since Ivan's tour starts at 9 AM and I was already there by 8 AM, I walked around via Our Awesome Plate's map, stumbled into Cafe Mezzanine where I was offered Gokong Soup and Kiampong Rice, allegedly its most ordered dish, and immediately rued that I should have opted for the endorsed lechon kawali because the soup was too gamey for me, the pork and chicken bits more like boiled meatless carcasses, plus I am not really into chicken gizzard and innards although I find the deboned chicken feet interesting, while the Kiampong Rice is alright but too filling and should be avoided on a multiple food tasting journey, the Hopia Ube desert from the nearby Eng Bee Tin shop just too sweet and should have opted for the mahu instead, and the soya milk okay but too common compared to the white fungi drink that was earlier suggested.      

Nearby is Ho-land Hopia and Bakery where I bought a pack of Hopia Monggo, once its sole and original product, to justify taking some photos inside the shop, which I had for dinner later, which again is too sweet for me, so much that I vowed to try their Hopia Baboy next time while walking back to the Binondo Church for Ivan, introduced myself to him, and then decided that I am too full for his Old Binondo Wok. 

I hunted for the New Po-Heng Lumpia House instead which I found along Quentin Paredes Street through a small door that leads into an alley that empties into a courtyard where the lumpia is served, fat like a burrito, enough for a full meal, bursting with the usual vegetables and ground peanuts with hints of cilantro, perfect with the house lumpia sauce, and just too much so I took away the uneaten half which, with the Hopia Ube remants, I had for lunch later, and made my way for a famous fried chicken. 

And that is the Sincerity Fried Chicken, sincerely sliced into bite-size pieces, bathed in a secret oriental marinade, fried crisp, but too heavy for a solo diner and was sincerely relieved that two pieces in a bento box is available although served with a mound of Kiampong Rice that I have to set aside to make way for a few slices of the original kikiam --- steamed and deep-fried ground pork and vegetables in a bean curd wrap --- that almost eclipsed the fried chicken, sincerely speaking.  

I was really sincerely full afterwards but intent on sampling a few dumplings more so I tried smoking down and walking out all that has been consumed but almost got tempted in trying some of the pickled fruits on display at James' Grocery along Carvajal Street...  

...and glad that I did not because the kuchay and pork dumpling of Dong Bei is served in a batch of 14 pieces per order, kneaded and filled and steamed while I wait, the chinese vinegar dip tempering the strong kuchay flavor, one dumpling consumed every two minutes until my bursting stomach can't take it no more.    

And that was it.

The pastry offerings at the Salazar Bakery, the machang of the Ongpin Manosa Restaurant, the stir-fried beef noodles of the Kim Hiong Food Garden and the mami at Masuki, the chicken pie at Dao Eng Chay, the vegetarian sisig of Quan Yin Chay, and the chami of Delicious Restaurant will have to wait another day.

I say God bless Binondo for its culinary gems, and Ivn Dy Man for concocting the Old Binondo Wok, and Our Awesome Plate too for the references, and I toast "Gan bei!" to all of them with the ice cold squeezed sugarcane juice that helped quenched a hot and sweaty Saturday morning.

God must have loved Binondo and its food so much that he had three churches built in the area.

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