Binondo Chinatown: A trip to tummy-town Part III
Last stop, and just in time for supper, was Lan Zhou La Mien in Benavidez street where we had la mien or hand-pulled noodles. We ordered beef la mien and sotanghon (transparent noodles) with pork and, I must say, both were the best dishes to cap our very – very – long day! We spent around P250 (€4.30) for everything, and even got to watch the la mien cooks doing a bit of hand-pulling action with fresh noodles behind the glass window to the kitchen.
We had an exhausting but very fulfilling day all around Binondo Chinatown for this leg of our Philippine tour, and we’re not even here one month yet! We were used to a lot of Chinese food back in our homes, but we both agree that the Chinese restaurants here had more punch to it – the dishes are more savoury here somehow.
Anyway, we hope that you get to try the dishes we tasted and the restaurants we visited if ever you find yourself in Manila in the future. Of course, you can start your own Chinatown “food trip” (the term they use here to mean restaurant hopping) by going to other restaurants and shops we haven’t visited. We know there’s more because Berta is building another list for a future visit!
IV. Other place of interest
In case you’re wondering what else can be found here in Binondo, there’s the historical Binondo Church at the western end of Ongpin street. Binondo Church or the Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz is a very old church that was built by the Dominican priests with the aim of converting the early Chinese settlers to Christianity. One impressive fact about the church is that it was said to be where Andres Bonifacio, a hero of the Philippines, got married.
V. How to get there
Ongpin street is in the heart of Chinatown – the street itself is very narrow and is not passed by jeepneys. However, anyone can walk from a number of entry points to get to Ongpin.
The nearest train station is the Light Rail Transit – Carriedo station. From LRT-Carriedo, travellers can walk to Sta. Cruz Church and cross the street to reach the eastern end of Ongpin street. This is the route we took since we came from Makati. If you’re coming from Quezon City or other places, here is a website [http://www.ph-commute.com/2008/04/how-to-commute-to-chinatown-manila.html] that can show you alternative routes to take.
The landmarks of Ongpin street are Sta. Cruz Church (east) and Binondo Church (west). These two churches are actually very conveniently placed along both ends of Ongpin so that no matter where you’re coming from, you can have direct access to Ongpin street just by knowing where these two churches are.
We’re not sure where we want to head to next, but it might be an indoors adventure. Lately there have been rains here in Manila, and flooding around the metro has made commuting difficult. Do you have any suggestions where we can visit next? Have you also been to Chinatown in Binondo? What are your favourite restaurants or dishes? Share us your Chinatown experiences… who knows, maybe we would add them in our list of places to visit the next time we head there!
Wir sehen uns bald (we’ll see you soon) in our next adventure!