A Delicious Way to Spend the Day

Now that I'm back in the land of hamburgers, mac-n-cheese, and reliable internet connections, this week's Delicious theme gives me the perfect opportunity to blog about an incredible experience that I had in Manila two weeks ago -- a food tour of Binondo, Manila's Chinatown.

Despite growing up in Manila, I've only been to Binondo a handful of times. So when I found out about the Big Binondo Food Wok, I knew we had to try it out. It was the perfect opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of Binondo through the eyes of an expert. Our guide, Ivan Man-Dy, runs an entertaining and informative tour, but even better, he knows where all the great food is.

We began our morning at the last remaining chocolate manufacturer in Chinatown. After breathing in the heady aroma of cocoa, we were treated to tiny cups of hot chocolate -- not hot cocoa, mind you. This stuff is sinfully thick and rich. Like espresso, it's meant to be sipped from tiny cups because it contains no milk, just chocolate, water and sugar.


Our next stop was a little eatery that exemplified all of Ivan's food stops that day -- small and nondescript, places that you wouldn't look twice at (or even realize the exist), but serve really great food. The Hokkien-style fried rice with peanuts and fishball soup below became our first full meal of the morning.


It's a good thing that none of us had eaten any breakfast; by this time, my tummy was already pleasantly full, and I could have called it quits and gone on till lunch without any hunger pangs. But hey, it's a food tour -- where's the fun in that?

I won't go through each and every food stop we made, for two reasons: first, I can't remember them all, there were so many (it was a 4-hr tour of food joints interspersed with visits to some famous and not-so-famous Binondo landmarks). Second, I'd be giving away all of Ivan's secrets, and if you want to know more, you should take the tour yourself! Let me just say that there was still MUCH more food: think fried siopao (pork buns that are usually served steamed), dried fruit, iced coffee, fried sweet dough, lumpia (spring roll), hot tea.

I have to say, not all of the food appealed to me. I nearly gagged on some boiled eggs that were soaked in tea for 3 days -- the clearly-visible veins reminded me too much of the infamous balut (fertilized duck egg).



And the thought of drinking the broth made from boiling this lizard in water proved to be too much for me (luckily, they didn't serve it).



But the delicious far outweighed the gross, and the crowning glory for me was this stop somewhere in the middle of our tour: a small, nondescript place that serves the best dumplings on earth, with dough made fresh daily. Steamed, boiled, fried, however they cooked it, I have never tasted dumplings quite like those. I doubt if I'll ever manage to find my way to that dumpling place again (unless I take the tour again), but for now at least, the memory of those delicious little bites is enough.



Needless to say, we did not have lunch that day.


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16 comments, leave yours here:

Pretty Life Online said...

nice photos! mine's up too for deliciousness entry!

Gattina said...

A food tour I didn't even know that this exists, lol ! Geez, that would have been something for me, except the lizzard of course !

idealpinkrose said...

oh gosh, i'm adventurous even with the food but i don't think i can try to eat that lizard, but who knows! hehehehe...

mine is up, too here.

napaboaniya said...

*Gulpz* That lizard doesn't look "delicious" to me (imo). Did you try the lizard? @_@ It's not a Weekend;It's a Lifestyle

eastcoastlife said...

What an interesting and yummy tour! I will remember to go for this when I go to Manila next trip. I will not drink the lizard soup. blekkk....

Heart of Rachel said...

It must have been a great experience. It's a coincidence, I just watched a TV program recently and it featured La Resurreccion Chocolate. I have yet to try it. I miss going to Binondo. I love dumplings! :)

Wishing you and your family a wonderful New Year. Hope you enjoyed your vacation in the Philippines.

Lynn said...

Binondo is also famous for the eng bee tin hopia. They come in different flavors now. :)

Sanni said...

Sounds definitely like the perfect delicious day. I think I´ll give everything a try. i love to try new things =)

Chikai said...

i can eat all that except the lizard. eeewww! ehehe!

btw, thanks for hopping by my blog! happy photo hunting! :)

BLOGSILOG

denz said...

wooohhhooo!!! thats really delicious mmmmmm... indeed you have a very nice picture, keep it up!!!

check mine:
PhotoHunt1...
PhotoHunt2...
Happy Weekend!

maiylah said...

did they get that lizard locally? interesting tour you had! hope you loved your stay! :)

thanks for the blog visit!
happy weekend!
My PhotoHunt post

2cents said...

love most of the filipino food...thanks for the hopped.

KISSEDALOTATOADS said...

Great photos, don't think I would drink that stuff from the lizard either. Happy weekend.

**"Liza"** said...

Oyyy Balut Yum! but I dont think about that flying lizards..lol..that is good for asthma though..;)
Mine is up too

PowersTwinB said...

I'd have had a cornary! That poor lizard, just for his broth? uck lol..Thanks for visiting my hunt

sasha said...

Wow! I think I have to take that tour as well. Happy New Year, Bongga Mom! :)