We arrived around 8 in the morning yesterday in Binondo, a destination my husband and I have not gone to for more than 2 decades so this short trip was surely a sentimental one. Click below for a related post – Binondo: A Quick Visit.
We found a parking space and made our way to Ling Nam Noodle House at 616 T. Alonzo Street. Even this early, the restaurant was almost full.
Ling Nam still has a limited, yet time-tested, menu consisting of: noodles (asado, beef, chicken, wanton, or combinations of 2 or 3 thereof), lugao (bola-bola, chicken, fish, fish-bola, halo-halo, liver, kidney, or plain), siopao (asado, bola-bola, lotus, mongo and taipao) and siomai (with or without soup).
Unfortunately, only siopao, siomai and different kinds of “lugao” (congee) were available that early (noodles are only available starting 9:30 am). So, we settled for CHICKEN LUGAO (175 pesos), HALO-HALO LUGAO (165 pesos), SIOMAI (2 pieces for 80 pesos) and ASADO SIOPAO (75 pesos).
Complimentary hot tea was served first, followed by our orders.
Chicken Lugao Halo Halo Lugao
Both lugaos were served hot, accompanied by fresh calamansi. We squeezed the juice from the calamansi directly to the bowl and seasoned the lugao with patis (fish sauce) and a bit of pepper. This dish hit the spot and is definitely a comfort food for us.
Siomai and siopao were then served. Toyo (soy sauce) and freshly squeezed calamansi juice were mixed as dipping sauce for the two pieces of siomai (per order) to be enjoyed in between spoonfuls of lugao. The siopao did not need any sauce because the tasty filling, along with the soft dough, was just right.
We asked for the bill and gave our senior citizen cards. An employee simply looked at our empty plates on the table and orally enumerated the quantity of the exact items we ate to the cashier who prepared the bill. Now I call that going paperless! So amusing!
We shopped for awhile and found ourselves in the corner of Ongpin Street and Bahama Street, the location of (80 year old) Shanghai Fried Siopao. We ordered PORK ASADO siopaos, each costing 20 pesos. This hole-in-the-wall stall only has a simple store sign “Shanghai Fried Siopao” and offers takeout dumplings, kikiam, machang, siomai and other cooked-food items, displayed on a small counter along the street.
The fried siopao displayed on the counter were not kept warm but you can observe that they were easily gone through the purchases of loyal and curious customers and the stock needed to be replenished regularly. The buns were still hot when it was handed to me. Amazing!
Just to be clear, we ordered FRIED SIOPAO which is steamed then pan-fried so that it has a toasted crispy bottom but still looks like a steamed siopao on top. It is definitely different from Toasted Siopao which is a baked “monay-looking” Bicolano specialty variation of siopao.
We walked a bit more and could not resist to go to (30 year old) Ongpin Mañosa Restaurant.
We ordered yummy MAKI which was served in a large bowl and can be shared by two seniors. We were still full so we did not order side dishes like quekiam and siomai.
The Maki was served hot and its thick, starchy and tasty broth was so satisfying, along with the tender chunks of pork.
We needed to leave Binondo, anticipating traffic going to our next destination. Sure enough, we were caught in traffic and decided to eat the Pork Asado siopaos we got from Shanghai Fried Siopao. They were no longer hot but we still ate them. When I bit into the siopao, I got a bit of a crunchy texture from the bottom, along with the usual soft siopao dough and tasty filling (of pork and leeks, among other ingredients; no need for sauce). We enjoyed the siopaos and I am sure that these would have been more satisfying when eaten hot. Anyway, we didn’t get stressed with the traffic! LOL
Next time, we need to stay longer and eat lunch or dinner in the famous restaurants in Chinatown. Dear Seniors, do you have any recommendations?
Did you find this post informative? Do you also go to these places for a quick treat? Do you have your other favorite places to dine in Chinatown for a quick bite? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Thank you!