Friday, June 29, 2007


It was Amadeo of Ignatian Perspective who initially made me aware of Carvajal Street in Binondo, or Manila's Chinatown. Supposedly, this was where he sometimes went for lunch while he worked at the nearby Bank of the Philippine Islands at Plaza Cervantes.

I promised to look for it; however, almost forgot to do so until I came across Carlos Celdran's list of recommended places to visit in Manila, which includes Carvajal Street. So one day, I went to Binondo specifically to find this place.

The first narrow street from Binondo Church along Juan Luna Street is where it is located. A mere alley closed to vehicular traffic, Carvajal Street boasts a wet market for seafood and poultry (dressed duck and black chicken included), as well as various fresh vegetable and fruit stalls. There are also processed meat stores, bakeries,
and grocery stores selling native delicacies. And of course, affordable eateries abound, popular to the many employees of various banking and commercial establishments in the neighborhood.

A lively and interesting street, indeed, which I plan to return to and try its other tasty offerings.


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:48 AM


Blogger Old Manila Walks said...

Among the Tsinoy community, Carvajal is still call as Ho-Sua-Hang (Hokkien for Umbrella alley) and harks back to the days when umbrellas (not food) was the main item for trade. Its one of Binondo's more intimate and charming street markets (though not necessarily the cheapest) but i do like the culinary clutteredness and and feel of this alley. Lots of local color and good food finds.

June 29, 2007 12:06 PM  

Anonymous kyels said...

Wow, interesting facts about this street Kuya.


I'll list it down in my notebook so I will remember to check it out the next time I go over to Pinas.

June 29, 2007 1:43 PM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

Wow, ang gandang mamili dito! Meron pa silang black chicken - ang hirap hanapin niyan dito sa Dagupan. Gustong gusto yan ng mga Chinese dahil medicinal daw ito.

I am looking for that certain tree bark - the term for which slipped my mind - which is mixed in the chicken broth - believed to be medicinal as well. Sa Chinatown lang yata yun mabibili, e. At first, its taste is somewhat tangy, but when you get used to it, hahanap-hanapin mo. If you happen to go back to Carvajal Street, Eric, could you ask around for it for me? :)

June 29, 2007 3:00 PM  

Blogger Photowalker said...

You should try eating in Stone Lion when you go back there.

I recomemd Salt & Pepper Squid, Chicken Mushroom and Salt & Pepper Spareribs.

What camera did you use? Did you have a hard time shooting?

June 29, 2007 7:13 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I have to go back there with some friends to begin exploring the eateries of Carvajal, Ivan.

June 29, 2007 7:47 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

It's not too far from Binondo Church, Kyels. I think you'll like it :)

June 29, 2007 7:48 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Now, you got me very curious about this "certain tree bark."

How do you prepare it for consumption?

I should ask Ivan Mandy first.

June 29, 2007 7:49 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I've taken note of your recommendations, Photowalker. I will let you know as soon as I've done so :)

Many thanks for the tip!

June 29, 2007 7:51 PM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

Ayos yung presyo ng menu sa Stone Lion mura! Again you captured the ambience of the place in B/W.

Yan bang black chicken ay ang "Manok na Ulikba" which has dark meat and was not really a preferred chicken meal for tagalogs because the meat is bland and gummy? I've never tasted it yet but I remember my tagalog playmates often told me that. They even used to call this dark skinned and stocky guy in our neighborhood in QC "Berting Ulikba".

June 29, 2007 10:59 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

Thanks for the memories, Eric. And in nostalgic black and white format, too!

Sumptuous but cheap lunches at Carvajal St. kept seeping to my consciousness when I was still working at downtown San Francisco. Where during lunch time, little dainty Chinese restaurants along the periphery of its own Chinatown which abuts the financial district are filled to capacity with suited patrons, some seated in sidewalk spill-over areas, enjoying similar Chinese fare.

In our case, we would remove our ties and roll up our sleeves as we tried to blend in with the lunch crowds. Since we almost always came as a group, of about a dozen, we had to be seated in the upstairs dining room, with the round tables and lazy Susans.

It would be nice to relive those experiences, at least once. Now, if I can only remember the name(s) of the restaurant.

June 30, 2007 12:58 AM  

Blogger Photo Cache said...

usually yung mga no-frills eateries have better tasting food than their white-linen contemporaries, especially if it's for daily eats. will keep this in mind next time i visit. i like the feel of the place as shown by your marvelous photos.

June 30, 2007 5:05 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Pete!

I just saw the sign, but not actually familiar with black chicken. I thought it might be the native kind with tough meat. Never tasted it, either.

Kawawa naman nabansagan ng "ulikba" ... hahaha!

June 30, 2007 5:47 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You're welcome, Amadeo!

When you first mentioned this place, I was completely puzzled. I was asking myself how I could've have missed knowing about this place all this time.

I will, from now on, check out the eateries with friends.

Thank you, for making me aware of a street named Carvajal in Binondo!

June 30, 2007 5:50 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Photo Cache!

The only thing I'm concerned about in regards to no-frill eateries is that their offerings may be too salty for me.

I only purchased some fruit and the usual Chinese delicacies, but will begin exploring the little restaurants when I return; will start with Photowalker's recommendations :)

June 30, 2007 5:53 AM  

Anonymous royluga said...

I like your works. It's fascinating.

July 01, 2007 10:56 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thank you very much, Roy.

I'd just checked your site. An impressive list of accomplishments you have.

Where I can see more of your photos?



July 02, 2007 6:30 AM  

Blogger daniel palma tayona said...

aiiiee, caramba, senor eric. you visited carvajal eh? i love hanging out during weekend afternoons and eat ma-chang at Quick Snack. i like putting a lot of those crushed garlic into it (and avoid talking talking with anyone until i get to remove the garlicky-smell from my mouth. hehehe)

if there is one thing i can never live without eating at least once a week... it's quick snack's ma-chang. ;-)

July 02, 2007 8:52 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Instead of Quiapo, maybe we ought to meet in Quick Snack, Daniel, for some of the man-chang you rave about ... hehehe.

We'll just grab a bunch of Doublemint gum for after eating :)

July 02, 2007 9:59 PM  

Blogger daniel palma tayona said...

hahahaha, yes, why not?

this saturday afternoon... i am bound to be there again. just leave a note in my email if you will be there too. ;-)

July 03, 2007 11:13 AM  

Blogger daniel palma tayona said...

i'll be so easy to spot in a small place like quick snack. just look for the big, bald, bulky man who carries a notebook and pencils.

July 03, 2007 11:15 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Can't this afternoon, Daniel, but Friday, okay? I'll ask Roy Luga to join us :)

July 03, 2007 12:34 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Roy, are you up for it?

July 03, 2007 12:41 PM  

Blogger reyd said...

At least you found one of the secrets of Manila Chinatown. My first venture there that I recall was when my father took all of us to eat there ...hoo..that was long time ago. Then it became a ritual whenever we attend mass in Binondo church. The last time I ate there was in 2003 with some tsinoy friends and we just don't have enough time to taste all the different servings from each restaurant. There would always be a next time.(I hope)

July 05, 2007 12:29 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Reyd,

Tomorrow I will be returning to Carvajal to meet a fellow blogger friend to try the man chang that he raves about at Quick Snack. I am really looking forward to it :)

July 05, 2007 5:58 AM  

Blogger dave (",) said...

I'm friends with two Carvajal sisters. The elder lamented to me once how their family is regular compared to her boyfriend's family's clout in Bicol. I told her I knew of some writers named Carvajal. Now I can tell her there's a street named after them :) I wonder who is this person the street is named after.

July 07, 2007 12:14 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

That is fascinating, Dave! I wouldn't be surprised at all if they're related with the person in which this street was named after.

I was here yesterday to enjoy ma chang with Daniel Palama Tayona. We had a wonderful time eating and talking.

Say, Dave ... you wan't to check out this street? It's really interesting :) I need to take you out of Quezon City and Taguig and introduce you to Binondo ... hehehe.

July 07, 2007 5:58 AM  

Blogger 22loy said...

The only Chinese soup that my mom got me to eat was the transparent sibut, me bark at parang soft red pills sya. Me chicken din. The black sibut is the default option, pero hindi ko makain, since ICAn ako at di ako GI. My favorite dish at Quik Snack is probably their o wa tsien, or oyster cake, although another resto has a better version. Kung pupunta ka na lang din sa downtown, why don't you eat at the President dimsum place, Lai-Lai or at Sincerity?

August 03, 2008 9:26 PM  

Blogger 22loy said...

August 03, 2008 9:28 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

These past couple of months, 22loy, I've been having dimsun at President's Tea House whenever I find myself in Chinatown.

However, not on Carvajal but Benvidez near corner Salazar is where Waiying Fastfood is supposedly located, which I'd like to check out one of these days. Found out about this eatery at:

As for the transparent sibut soup, I may try it the next time I go to Carvajal.

Thanks for the URL to your blog post. Interesting site you have!

August 04, 2008 7:24 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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