Monday, August 28, 2006


Besides the daily grind of commerce, food is one of the main attractions of Chinatown.

I heard about some of its good restaurants such as the Lido along Alonzo Street; the original Lingnam Restaurant known for its fresh noodles; and the eateries along the estero such as Grand House that people rave about.

And for some quick meals Chinatown offers the original Mey Lin along Carvajal Street, Shin Tong Yon on Benavidez Street, and Ha Yuan Restaurant on Masangkay Street.

Over at Quintin Paredes Street there are the Golden Palace, Ocean Dragon and Dragon Seed. For afternoon tea and dimsum, some old-timers prefer the Wah Yuen Restaurant along Escolta Street. I was also told about other fine restaurants for lauriat dining such as the Royal Garden and Green Lake for seafood; Chuan Kee for its five treasure soup; and of course, The President Restaurant.

Although my father took me to Chinatown to eat at least once a week while growing up, I had been away for so long that when I came back, everything looks strange; foreign, in fact.

So many things had changed during my absence. And since coming back, The President was the only restaurant I would go to whenever I find myself in Chinatown. As much as I love the foods served at this fine restaurant, I was craving for other places. I guess it wasn’t just the food; I was trying to get that old feeling back -- the time when my father and I used to walk on these streets.

My old friends and relatives weren't of any help. They don’t feel inspired to venture into Binondo’s narrow streets anymore. Besides, a lot of fine Chinese restaurants had opened all over Metro Manila that offer lots of parking to boot. But I wanted to reacquaint myself with the authentic Binondo eateries. And this inner desire led me to sign up for Ivan Mandy’s Big Binondo Food Wok — an afternoon of history lessons and several authentic Chinese food stops.

I had a wonderful time! Ivan is really good at what he does. Let me put it this way, everyone in this particular tour group was having such a good time that the intermittent showers throughout the entire afternoon didn’t even bother any one of us.

There were other bloggers who joined this particular tour and whom I had the pleasure of meeting. I will leave it up to them to share with the readers the full extent of the tour. What I plan to do instead is go back to those places that Ivan Mandy introduced us to, order a couple of entrees from their menu, and then blog about it.

Although there are many fine Chinese restaurants nearby where I live in Quezon City such as the Causeway Seafood Restaurant and Haf Chang's Restaurant on Banawe; the dimsun at The President Tea House on Salazar Street in Binondo is still by far the best!

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posted by Señor Enrique at 4:46 PM


Blogger ladybug said...

Looks very yummy! I'm craving for some spare ribs and siomai right now. :-)

August 28, 2006 5:38 PM  

Anonymous carla said...

my brother and i will also go back there to eat some more of the yummy treats we've had. :)

August 28, 2006 5:48 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I'm telling you, Ladybug, the dimsun at President's are the best ... BUT in terms of fresh dumplings, just discovered through this tour, DONG BEI (at Nueva Street, now Yuchengco) where they prepare the dimsun fresh right in front of you! Prices are quite reasonable also!

August 28, 2006 5:54 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I was actually having a hard time, Carla, how to compose my blog about the tour since Ivan is camera shy, as well as I didn't secure the necessary permission (out of courtesy) from our other tour mates whose faces appear on my photos.

So I decided to return to those places, as you and your brother plan to do, and just do a more detailed blog for every restaurant.

Also, the meals we had were somewhat limited in terms of variety per restaurant that I do not have enough material to blog and for for our readers to appreciate.

August 28, 2006 6:01 PM  

Blogger Analyse said...

the one on the left looks japanese maki to me.. everything looks yummy!

August 28, 2006 7:47 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Wow! Excellent guess, Analyze! You got it :)

August 28, 2006 8:00 PM  

Blogger vina said...

so, so...what did you eat, señor?

or maybe...what did you NOT eat?

August 28, 2006 10:17 PM  

Anonymous bugsybee said...

I've heard a lot of The President in Binondo so I guess the next time I am in Manila, I'll have to set aside time to make the trip to The President. It's a pity that Ivan's walking tour usually takes place on weekends (the only time I can spend with friends who are off from office; problem is they want to just eat and not walk). Since I am also dimsum-crazy, I'll wait for your food review.

August 29, 2006 12:25 AM  

Blogger ipanema said...

Sunday breakfast most of the time is dimsum time. :) A trait I got from Chinese friends.

Guessing Left to right.

seaweeds with crab meat in the centre; is that spare ribs?; siomai. Ey, you ordered 2 servings each. :) This is yummy!

It's true that there are many Chinese restaurants sprouting Metro Manila, unlike olden days where we have to flock to Chinatown to sample some.

When I'm back the nearest we can go are those in the malls and in Greenhills.

August 29, 2006 2:37 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I practically ate everything served for us to try out, BUT the best thing to do is go back to each restaurant and sample more their menu offerings.

I love the fresh kimchay dumplings! I believe you've been to this place. But I want to try the other places (like the estero) you went to on your personal tour of Binondo, Vina!

August 29, 2006 5:44 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You have got to check out Ivan's tour, Bugsybee -- that is, like me, if you want to try other eateries besides The President.

Ivan knows the area like the back of his hand.

August 29, 2006 5:47 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

That was how I was introduced to dimsun, Ipanema, as Sunday morning fare at NYC's Chinatown. However, with its growing popularity amongst non-Chinese New Yorkers, the restaurants eventually started serving dimsun throughout the entire week.

Good guess again! Thank God I'm not giving away cellphones as prizes :)

August 29, 2006 5:51 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Folks, Carla and her brother were on this tour of Ivan's that we had taken. Please check out her wonderful review of it at:

Too bad she doesn't have her comment box on :(

August 29, 2006 6:41 AM  

Blogger Senorito<- Ako said...

For me president's has the best bang-for-buck deal. Good serving size to price ratio. And the taste is only slightly below century seafood.

I was too busy preparing for my nz move that I didn't have time to check out the new resto in nueva. Sayang. Kainis !! :(

August 29, 2006 7:38 AM  

Blogger ipanema said...

You know Eric, that estero part was a hit long ago. So, it's still on huh?

Last time I was in Chinatown to buy some Chinese foodstuff for cooking which I can't find in supermarkets, I was totally taken aback at how Binondo looks like. Condominiums around, very modern.

No worries, you can give return ticket as prize. :)

August 29, 2006 1:45 PM  

Anonymous kyels said...


I heard that the President Restaurant serves good Chinese food.

Okay, now I am hungry. Haha.


August 29, 2006 4:31 PM  

Blogger jase said...

a very close friend introduced me to a place in Binondo where he said the best pancit canton in the whole world is served.

I forgot the name of the place now, but I would say my friend is right!

August 29, 2006 9:22 PM  

Anonymous carla said...


thanks for your kind words :)

with regards to my comment box, unfortunately, there's a problem with blogdrive since monday evening. it was a good thing that i was able to post the review in the nick of time. :)

until then, i have to be content with my multiply page for the time being. that's where i also posted our pics of the tour. :)

August 30, 2006 9:28 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Ok, Carla. Many thanks for letting us know! :)

August 30, 2006 11:34 AM  

Blogger Rey said...

Those dimsums really looked delectable...

August 30, 2006 3:12 PM  

Blogger houseband00 said...

Hi Eric,

The President will always have a place in my heart because my late wife and I would always celebrate birthdays and other key events in our lives there. It's a family tradition of hers to celebrate these events (she is Chinese, I am not); esp during birthdays where everyone MUST be in red.

I am fortunate to have eaten at the old site of The President, beside Salazar Bakery. Would you remember if there was a wide spiral stairs in the lobby at the old site?

Do you remember SeeKee? This was my first Chinatown restaurant. They had fantastic food in such a homey atmosphere.

Thanks for touring us to our unique version of Chinatown.


August 31, 2006 11:43 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

What a pleasant surprise, Hb00!!!

When I came back to Manila, The President I went to for the first few times is the one in the new location (at the old Chinese theater). Around the corner, only a few meters away is its tea house where I would go for dimsun and tea. Never knew of its old location, but Salazar Bakery is still there.

SeeKee I don't know, either, but Ivan Mandy, I'm sure would know of it :)

Glad to have help bring back some fond memories you have of this neighborhood :)

And my best wishes to your son. Trust he's doing well in school :)

August 31, 2006 8:54 PM  

Blogger houseband00 said...

Yes, he has a better attitude towards school now. I hope it affects his grades, though. Thanks for asking, Eric.


September 01, 2006 3:33 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

With your attention and guidance, hb00, I'm sure he'll be inspired to do well :)

September 01, 2006 7:55 PM  

Anonymous aurea said...

I had dimsum in Boston's Chinatown a few weeks ago and also had to take pictures :-)

Where did you eat dimsum in NYC? For some reason I never ate dimsum there. I frequently ate at the Shanghai restaurants along Mott Street.

If I go back to the Philippines I will have to visit Binondo. I have memories of sitting on a high chair in a dimsum restaurant as a child.

Is it just my family that referred to Chinatown as "Ongpin" ?

September 02, 2006 8:53 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Never made an effort to remember names and adresses of restaurants in Chinatown, Aurea, but those I frequent were usually along Mott Street and/or Bayard.

September 02, 2006 8:19 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

after taking the tour over the weekend, I think I will never look at Binondo the same way again. I just disdain some folks whole were tailing us at the back. Apparently they think it is incredulous to embark on a 'tour' of Binondo.

March 10, 2008 3:27 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Lol ... it is really astonishing that most local folks believe they know a lot about the city's history, but what they really are merely personal or family history of which :)

Glad you enjoyed the tour, Anonymous.

March 10, 2008 8:31 PM  

Blogger gigi said...

I really commend the people like Carlos, Ivan, you and the others who are raising the awareness about the beauty of Manila. Kudos.

March 11, 2008 12:32 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thank you, Gigi :)

March 11, 2008 6:06 PM  

Blogger 22loy said...

February 19, 2010 3:30 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

senor e:
do you the present name of calle barbosa where I think the first jollibee was?

February 03, 2012 12:10 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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