The best food trips are spontaneous and random and can go as impulsive as just craving for downtown ramen – and look where the tide whirls us to – Binondo, Manila!
Good gracious, the powers of hunger and traffic-less Sunday! Well, generally breezy.
I have grown to have a penchant for the Binondo food, having mastered the one rule: Stop asking questions!
At the start, I inquisitively asked about meat content, of vegetarian dishes, about strange exotic names and Chinese translations.
Sometimes, it’s best to stay safe and look for common keywords: chicken/vegetable/seafood and opt for the un-adventurous sounding terms: soup, the easily dissected dumpling and my newfound discovery, misua. Problem solved, sans the angry dispute and broken China.
First stop on this second food tripping leg leads us to a famous Sincerity. I don’t know why, but people Sincerity seems to be a top-of-mind foodie destination. If any, Sincerity definitely does not relate to the honesty of the food and could be more of a feng shui thing – or simplicity if you must insist on a trait.
Sincerity is best known for its breaded fried chicken, so let’s start with that. Tender juicy and sincerely oily with a bit of sweet, it’s the perfect comfort food! It’s delectable on its own, but do make sure to ask for spare napkin, especially if you like to eat with your fingers.
The catsup remained untouched because aside from not eating catsup, it just seemed irreverent to violate the original taste with bottled sauce.
Then came the Oyster Cake which was more of an Oyster omelette with a surprise, which Google, with its multitudinous posts, purports as a famous Taiwanese delicacy.
Having researched why “cake” assumed the title role came the simple fact that potato/tapioca starch is added to the egg mixture for that pudding-like consistency that I got so addicted to, I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day. A bit of a warning though, do not finish single-handedly unless your stomach can seriously stomach that much shellfish!
I seem to be following a strange order but this was another breakthrough order -which was actually the first to arrive! Duck Misua came with the thinnest, almost gone misua noodles which makes you want to slurp some more. Tastes like the perfect remedy for anyone under the weather or just craving for a bit of duck in soup form. It was gone in less than a minute, so it was hunger in pure sincerity.
Not very photogenic (honestly, it looked blehhh) but it was an awesome accompaniment to the entire Sincerity ensemble.
Next on the list was Cafe Mezzanine which sits atop Eng Bee Tin. Cafe Mezzanine, A Fireman’s Coffee Shop, has this CSR thing going on, since its sales are tied to the Manila firefighters, so eat and beat the fire! Or perhaps, fight hunger and fire – at the same time?! Okay, on to the food.
Since it was a diet-y day, the food ordered are not are grand as Sincerity but just as mouth watering.
Appetizers were the Super Tofu and Camaron Rebusado. These small items were affordable and came in angular plates. Nothing fancy but enough to keep you full, if you prefer a light meal.
The Kung Pao Chicken Noodles came as quite a surprise. I was a expecting a wee to medium serving based on the photo, but what came seemed to be an equivalent of 3 to 4 packs of instant noodles worth of egg noodles, topped with cabbage, carrot, peanuts and sweet chicken bits!
I had to pause for a moment – because the dish was all mine! Sweet and silky, it was an enhanced pancit canton with a sweet tinge. It was also enough to keep me full for the rest of the day – and have a free breakfast for the next morning. Sweet!
And so another successful Binondo Food Trip! If you have the time, do visit the Binondo Church.
It may get stifling hot during mass or crowded days, but during off peak hours, you can marvel at the glorious ceiling, statues and all else God-made. Dessert no longer required.