If you’ve ever been to Binondo, you know it’s a treasure trove of fantastic restaurants, noodle houses, and food stalls. It is, after all, the oldest Chinatown in the world. But there’s a surprising number of people who’ve never been to Manila’s Chinatown or just some folks who couldn’t choose where to have a go at some of the district’s best specialties.
Luckily, we’ve rounded up a list of six delicious things you should definitely get whenever you go to Binondo. From fresh lumpia (spring rolls) and hopia (mung bean cake) to champoy and kiamoy (preserved fruits), here are our absolute favorites:
Bee Tin Grocery: Champoy and Kiamoy
Bee Tin is the definitive Binondo grocer. Its shelves are stocked with Chinese foodstuffs, most notably dried and preserved fruits. Get a bag of champoy, which is moist, darkly colored, and sweet. Or try kiamoy, which is dry, brightly colored, and salty. You’ll also find a wide array of spices, mushrooms, and seasonings you can’t find elsewhere.
Bee Tin Grocery is at 735 Ongpin Street, Binondo, Manila. To inquire, call +63 2 8423 3453.
Eng Bee Tin: Hopia Ube and Tikoy
With 35 stores, 25 hopia flavors, and 17 tikoy (glutinous rice cake associated with Chinese New Year) flavors, it’s not difficult to miss Eng Bee Tin in and around Manila. The towering superstore within walking distance of Binondo Church and Ramada by Wyndham Manila Central is a testament to the Chinese deli’s booming success. They’re ahead of the pack because they continue to innovate new flavors and snacks. Take hopia ube (purple yam), brownie hopia, and muscovado tikoy, for instance. If you prefer to taste something bite-sized, though, we suggest the chewy tikoy rolls.
Eng Bee Tin’s flagship store is at 628 Ongpin Street, Binondo, Manila. They have shops on Lazada, Shopee, and their homegrown Ube Delivery platform. For details, visit engbeetin.com.
Ho-Land: Mooncake and Hopia
Ho-Land Hopia is known for its well-loved mung bean cakes. But the family-owned enterprise offers a wide assortment of goodies and pastries that pay tribute to Chinese-Filipino heritage. Ho-Land’s old-fashioned mooncakes, for example, are filled with lotus cream, black mung bean, or mixed nuts. Even in an era of mass production and plastic packaging, Ho-Land has maintained its Chinatown allure with its no-frills packaging.
Ho-Land Hopia is at 551 E.T. Yuchengco (formerly Nueva) Street, Binondo, Manila. To order, call telephone numbers +63 2 8242 9595 or 9709 or order online at holandhopia.com.
La Resurreccion: Tablea
La Resurreccion is one of Binondo’s last remaining producers of tablea (cacao tablets), which are vital ingredients in making traditional hot chocolate and champorado (sweet rice porridge). The family-run business has been making sweetened and unsweetened chocolate with high energy since the 1930s. La Resurreccion’s tablea is made purely from Davao cacao. Local dessert company Manila Creamery even uses them to make their best-selling tablea lava cake-flavored gelato.
La Resurreccion Fabrica de Chocolate is at 913 Benavidez Street, Binondo, Manila. To order, call telephone numbers +63 2 8242 9792 or +63 2 8242 6951, or mobile number +63 927 780 8688. Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Polland: Hopia and Fresh Chinese-style Lumpia
Polland Bakery has been serving yellow mung bean hopia since the late 1960s. But they’re also known for other Chinese-Filipino delicacies. If you’re looking for filling yet healthy vegetarian fare, try freshly-wrapped Hokkien-style lumpia. With vegetables, bean curd, coriander, seaweed, and other delicious ingredients, this tasty specialty is a meal on its own.
Polland Bakery has three main branches within the old city of Manila:
- 209 Escolta Street
- 925 Benavidez Street
- Ground floor, Pacific Mall, Quintin Paredes Street
You can also order online at pollandhopia.com.
Salazar Bakery: Meat Pies and Tikoy
Salazar Bakery is a Binondo institution since the late 1940s. The bakery always smells of freshly baked goods and offers a variety of bread, cakes, and pastries. Residents highly recommend Salazar Bakery’s chicken and meat pies, as well as their tikoy with peanuts. Hopia is also always a good choice.
Salazar Bakery is at 783 Ongpin Street, Binondo, Manila. To order, call +63 2 8733 1397 or send a message to email@example.com.
Go on a gastronomic tour of Chinatown
Get to know the best food in Manila’s Chinatown on a guided street food tasting tour. Discover Chinese-influenced dishes like vegetable dumplings, fried siopao (pork bun), and machang (sticky rice with chicken and mushrooms wrapped in a leaf) with a gourmet guide. Learn about the different establishments of the cultural district, connect with locals, and reward your taste buds.
*Featured image via Polland Bakery on Facebook