Put aside three hours of non-stop culinary decadence as we eat our way around the most intimate alleys of Binondo! We’ll horse around the streets taking in Tsinoy history, chomping down eats and gorging on Chinatown’s specialty treats! Definitely a wok for your stomach and your soul. ~Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks
When In Manila and have nothing to do? How about an interesting food-slash-educational field trip? Join Old Manila Walks‘ Big Binondo Food Wok!
I’ve always seen Binondo as a treasure trove of foodie finds, if one knows where to look. And I know I was up for something good when we joined Old Manila Walks’ Big Binondo Food Wok with Sir Ivan Man Dy (yes, he was the one who showed the well-known Anthony Bourdain around Chinatown). I was expecting that the Big Binondo Food Wok is just about food, food and well, more food. But it was more than that – we were served with history, culture, met a few new friends, mastered the art of crossing streets and avoiding cars and a whole lot of fun.
A little lesson on Chinatown’s history. No worries, a background on history is not required on joining the tour.
Sir Ivan’s quick history refresher all throughout the tour is served in a non-boring way. I assure you, learning history through Ivan is a lot of fun. Join the tour and you’ll know what I mean.
I personally loved how Sir Ivan sees Binondo as his own ‘personal museum‘ and playground hence the birth of his walking tours to share it with others.
First food stop coming up!!
More facts and history from Ivan while waiting for our food.
Our first treat — Kiampong and Meatball Soup. Goes perfectly well together. Salty kiampong rice is complimented by the soup.
We had it in a very interesting place which is also known as the Volunteer Fireman’s Coffee Shop.
Threading around Binondo is not for the faint-hearted but it can assure a thrill with its sights and sounds. This is where one’s mastery of street-crossing and avoiding cars will be tested, being alert is highly recommended.
Next stop — The Fried Siopao Delight!
Here’s the very comic Ivan explaining the ABCs of Siopao, wherein the last one is a shock but purely a joke.
Tadaaaa!!! Fried Siopao and all the goodness inside. I’ve been a fan of this since then and was truly happy that it was part of the tour.
More walking and crossing on the streets of Binondo.
Binondo’s well-known Ongpin Street.
We stopped by a Filipino-Chinese public shrine and everyone’s welcome here. You can send a little prayer or light an incense to accompany your prayers.
Sir Ivan explaining how a zhi jiao works. A zhi jiao is a crescent-shaped wood block that comes in a pair and used to communicate with a gods, especially when troubled and in need of immediate advice. So maybe next time when you’re in Binondo, drop by and try the zhi jiao to find out an answer to your questions.
After a short break from eating, we’re on to our next stop — Dumplings!
I’ve been wanting to visit this place for quite some time already and so I was surprised when we finally got there. I’ve heard they have very good dumplings and cheap too! And what’s more, you can actually watch how the dumplings are made.
Steamed Dumplings. Ivan told us how can we identify our dumplings based on their color. I’m betting this one is of kuchay.
Fried Dumplings that goes well with their spicy dip. We were so full after our dumplings degustation.
I will go back to Binondo for these dumplings!
Time for more walking to burn down the food we ate and make room for the next one!
We passed by a store selling various Chinese items. Someone in our group got really fascinated with the symbolic ‘paper money‘ and ended up buying a bunch of it. Ivan gave us a little background on what they were for and what the symbols on them meant.
Paper Money that are burned to send respect to the gods.
Next food stop, Hopia Overload!
Who would’ve thought that this much variety of hopia exists? Wintermelon (kondol) hopia? Sounds interesting.
Let the hopia tasting begin!
Since we were only a small group, it means more hopia to share among us. I believe we tasted around 4-5 kinds of hopia. I never had that much hopia in my life. Haha! Hopia overload indeed!
Too much hopia in one day. But I’m not complaining.
Just across the hopia place, Sir Ivan led us into a store where we had short ‘preserved goods tasting’. Kiamoy, champoy, nuts, cherries – it was an overwhelming variety. But all I can remember was how the champoy tasted — sweet and salty at first, then it will hit you with its strong sour taste that will surely kick your spirits. Mine surely was awakened by the champoy!
Passing by alleys and streets to our next food destination. Binondo’s nooks and crannies never fails to fascinate me.
The last but not the least food stop we had served us fresh lumpia and pancit to cap our Big Binondo Food Wok Tour.
It was not the usual fresh lumpia that I grew up with. But this one’s indeed interesting, and good too! Sir Ivan showed us how to enjoy it best with the sauces and toppings.
Pancit for long life and for the very fun food tour we had!
And that capped our little adventure in Binondo – a fun morning filled with food, friends and history. The Big Binondo Food Wok is more than a tour, it’s an experience worth every cent.
Ivan with the group also known as new found friends! :)
It was truly a unique experience with Sir Ivan Man Dy. I’ve frequented Binondo before but the tour gave it a new face. And I can’t wait to be back and armed with my Big Binondo Food Wok map!
So When In Manila, have a little dose of history while munching your way around Binondo. Join Old Manila Walks’ Big Binondo Food Wok tour! It’s a deliciously satisfying experience!
The Big Binondo Food Wok
Contact Numbers: +63918-962-64-52 | (632) 7113823
Facebook: Old Manila Walks
Binondo Chinatown Fun Food Tour – The Big Binondo Food Wok!