In the Philippines, there’s no better place to chow down authentic Chinese food than Binondo. After all, it’s the oldest Chinatown in the world, dating back to the 16th century when Chinese merchants began to settle in the country.
Binondo remains the beating heart of the Chinese-Filipino community with plenty of iconic hotspots, like the Binondo Church and Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz. For locals and travelers, it is also hands down the best destination in Manila for anyone itching for an amazing food trip.
Lan Zhou La Mien
The Binondo favorite is known for their big bowls of hand-pulled ultra-long strands of lamien noodles, which are known also known as longevity noodles and can fill up as many as three people. All the items on the menu are fantastic, but we recommend the beef lamien. The best part? You’ll never run out of broth—it’s refillable.
Dong Bei Dumpling
Dong Bei Dumpling has the tastiest, most popular dumplings in town. Step inside the tiny hole-in-the-wall and watch the staff make the dumplings from scratch on their workstation. Dong Bei’s pork dumplings are a local favorite, so don’t miss it when you’re on a Binondo food trip.
Estero Fast Food
Estero means creek or canal in Filipino, which may not sound too appealing for a dining establishment. The folks of Chinatown Manila have made it work for them, though, setting up a number of hawker-like stalls and offering an aromatic array of Chinese and Filipino favorites that are easy on the wallet. Visit LGA Fast Food for their famous fried frog legs.
Shanghai Fried Siopao
When most people think of siopao, they tend to think of a steamed bun with pork filling. On the contrary, the most popular version of siopao in Chinatown Manila is fried with the bottom of the bun nice, warm, and toasty. A Binondo food trip is not complete until you’ve had a bite of this game changing fried siopao.
Chuan Kee Fastfood
Chuan Kee is one of the oldest fast food joints in Binondo, setting up the turo-turo or cafeteria style restaurant about seven decades ago and remaining a crowd favorite until today. Expect delicious Chinese comfort food with the best-sellers being kiampong (salty rice), maki soup, and pork asado.
Another famous Binondo establishment, Café Mezzanine sits on the second floor of the same building as Chuan Kee. Perfect for groups, the purple restaurant is known for large servings of affordable Chinese favorites. Recommended dishes include the lo tau hu (tofu) and Soup No. 5, which is a tasty broth with bull’s penis and testes.
The restaurant is a Volunteer Fireman’s Coffee Shop with all its profit going to the Binondo Paco Fire Search and Rescue Brigade.
The Original SaLido Restaurant
Make your way to the Original SaLido Restaurant along Ongpin Street, a classic institution that’s often packed with older Chinese patrons—a testament to its exceptional food, service, and incredible longevity. The Original SaLido is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., so you could even have some of the restaurant’s famous pork asado for breakfast!
Wai Ying Fastfood
If you’re on a Binondo food trip, a good basket of dim sum—or several baskets, at least—is definitely a must. Head to Wai Ying Fastfood for some of the best dim sums in town, especially the hakao and curry beef siomai. It’s also one of the places in Binondo that’s open until past midnight, so if you’re craving a Peking duck rice meal in the late hours of the night, you know where to go.
King Chef Seafood Restaurant
Those who are unwilling to face the beautiful chaos of Binondo’s streets can make a beeline for Lucky Chinatown Mall, which offers a good selection of restaurants in a calmer, more refined setting. One of the more upscale places in Binondo, King Chef Seafood Restaurant offers authentic Chinese and seafood dishes, such as the crab roe soup and the mouthwatering Dragon Boat prawn dish.
Take a trip down memory lane at News Café and marvel at the collection of old photographs of Old Chinatown on the walls. It’s another upscale Binondo stop with grand interiors and an extensive menu of Western, Chinese, and Filipino fare. The restaurant is located in Ramada Manila Central, which is a luxury hotel just across Binondo Church.
This may seem like a comprehensive list, but trust us, it’s only the beginning of your love affair with Binondo. Join KKday on a Binondo Food Trip to get a taste of the district’s most famous eats and to explore what else is out there!