Wednesday, March 26, 2008


It was my photography buddy Joel Lao who made me aware of this seemingly hole-in-the-wall eatery whose mami and siopao offerings give Ma Mon Luk a run for its money.

Located on Recto Avenue between Rizal Avenue and Florentino Torres (across the street from Roben movie theater), I've passed by this noodle house many times before but had no idea that its siopao and mami are one of the best in Manila. Even more interesting are its more affordable prices as compared to Ma Mon Luk's. No wonder this place attracts a steady stream of customers throughout the day.

This eatery has since become a regular merienda stop for me and balikbayan guests whenever in Manila's downtown area.

Related link:

Other popular noodle houses in Metro Manila


posted by Señor Enrique at 6:48 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Siopao is one of my favorite foods when I was growing up in the Philippines. Nowadays, when I visit the country, I could not get myself to eat those commercial Steamed Buns out of fear of eating questionable meat inside.

I had been tempted many times to eat them, but I have never given in because of the unhealthy thoughts that the mind plays.

March 26, 2008 8:11 AM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

So that's what it looks like inside. I've always been curious. Lagi kong nakikita ito whenever I go to Divisoria. I was there nga yesterday and we were caught in traffic right in front of it. My eye's were diverted lang by the pawnshops and jewelry shops.

How is the taste of the siopao compared to Ma Mon Luk?

March 26, 2008 8:38 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

I can smell the aromas of a typical Chinese mami house now! I have been trying to simulate the taste and aroma of their canton food but I cannot :-(.
Thanks for all the tips, Eric!

March 26, 2008 8:52 AM  

Blogger Panaderos said...

That mami sure looked very good, Eric. I'm thinking of checking this place out and some of the other Chinese restaurants you've featured when I return to Manila in a couple of months. (Hopefully and knock on any kind of real wood. Hehehe)

March 26, 2008 9:58 AM  

Blogger carlotta1924 said...

aack! mami and siopao are may fave meriendas! =)

passed by this place whenever i'm in the area too but haven't tried it yet. looks great!

March 26, 2008 10:16 AM  

Blogger Luke Wiley said...

looks like a great place to eat! very nice shots!
Wiley Willows Photoblog

March 26, 2008 11:44 AM  

Anonymous bertN said...

I missed Ma Mon Lok (on Quezon Blvd, the only one I am familiar with)its siopao, mami and siomai. The closest we have here in LA is Mami King (I have no knowledge if this is related to Ma Mon Lok) and this is just about as good as I remembered Ma Mon Lok to be.

March 26, 2008 1:25 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Lol ... don't know where you are now Anonymous but if in NYC, I'd suggest you do the same with the hotdogs sold by the street vendors -- just eat them without asking what's inside!

March 26, 2008 8:46 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

That area is actually one of Santa Cruz district's jewelry zone, Cookie; hence all those bling-bling stores and pawnshops :)

The siopao is quite tasty; I had the asado. Its wanton mami is superb!

March 26, 2008 8:49 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Perhaps, it's time to indulge in some Chinese food when you come back to Manila for a visit, Bernadette :)

March 26, 2008 8:52 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I've a feeling you'll have a swell time here in Manila, Panaderos, including the swelling of your waist line, which is a common phenomenon amongst balikbayans while on vacation here ... hehehe!

March 26, 2008 8:54 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Check it out the next time, Carlotta. They also have regular-sized servings.

March 26, 2008 8:55 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Luke.

This eatery is not the best place for a dining experience, though ... hehehe.

March 26, 2008 8:58 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

They say there's a Ma Mon Luk in Binondo also, bertN, but I haven't been there, yet. Ma Mon Luk is fine, but a bit over-priced, I think.

March 26, 2008 8:59 PM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

When I was pregnant with my youngest, Gem, all I wanted to eat were bola-bola siopao, mami and, Russian potato salad. What an odd combination. hehehe.

I never liked asado siopao. The meat filling looks strange. :)

March 26, 2008 10:10 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I learned how to make asado using only pork, of course, Rhoda ... hehehe. I should post my recipe one of these days.

March 27, 2008 6:00 AM  

Blogger joe said...

Hi Eric,

Have to try this sometime..looks to good to miss! But you have got to find me this HALO(with sauce that i'm missing also in Divisoria). There's got to be in the telahan section. As for the Asado..Rhoda i think it's the seasoning(5 spice powder) that does it. other than that it's chopped pork for main ingredient. There's a joke among us Pinoys in NYC where the siopao is bought. Doon sa MELAWAY! meaning the coffee shoppe MEI LEI WAH along Bayard St. in chinatown. regards.

March 27, 2008 9:50 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next time I return, I'll eat siopao if you'll eat it with me.

November 2008

March 28, 2008 5:24 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

That may be the same coffee shop I used to buy bola-bola siopao, Joe. Right off Mott Street, right? They refer to bola-bola siopao as halo-halo :)

There was another on Bowery that I went to for siopao but I don't remember its name.

Not too familiar with the eateries in Divisoria, which I should. Hmmm, this may be a good reason for me to explore the area then :)

March 28, 2008 5:57 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

We should have a grand siopao meet and invite other local bloggers ... hehehe!

Thanks, anonymous :)

March 28, 2008 6:21 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in the Chinatown area and had been a Pinsec mami house customer for 30 or more yrs now.Yes, the place is that old.I now live in Cavite, but I still eat there whenever I'm near the Recto area.I introduced the place to my husband years ago and just like me and my family, iisa lng ang nasabi.."ito n ang the best n mami house n nakainan ko"

April 29, 2010 11:30 PM  

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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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