I won't pretend that I'm a food blogger, because I really am not. I don't take pictures of my food before I eat it most of the time, let alone even have a decent-powered camera to make attractive photographs of food.
That being said, I love food. A few years back, I went on a Binondo Food Tour with blogger friends like Juned and Nina, and it was nothing short of splendid.
Last Saturday, after so many attempts that failed for one reason or another, I finally managed to have another one of those tours, and this time, I acted as the de facto tour guide to the newly wed couple, Gail and Chad Sotelo.
Look at these ravenous, famished faces!
Walking across Quintin Paredes, we found our first stop: a very nondescript sign for New Po Heng, which, in all honesty, seemed like the proverbial hole in the wall. You wouldn't have seen it if you weren't looking for it.
For your reference.
It was the perfect way to get our appetites going. While this isn't the first time I had a food tour, this was the first time I went to New Po Heng in ever. From there, we started walking around as we got lost a bit, but I found my precious kiamoy in one particular stall. Within that same strip, I believe, we actually ended up running into a shop that sold some contraband items...
Pro tip: the oyster cake is a trifle 140 bucks, and the three of us weren't able to finish it.
From Sincerity, we headed out to Dong Bei, famous for their very affordable dumplings, including Xiao Long Bao, sold at 60 bucks per order of 4 pieces...
Made from scratch!
From there, we decided to take a few detours because we were running ahead of schedule. We swung by a Feng Shui store along Ongpin, where I bought a 5-Element Pagoda Keychain for my officemate, Denise, since it was her birthday last Sunday.
Apparently, your nails turn green when you hold it. It's a sign of good luck.
From there, we headed on to Mezannine. It was pretty awesome, but I wished a fourth person was with us so I could've shared the kiampong with someone. While it was great, there's no question that eating mostly rice would hamper my ability to pig out once we got to Wai Ying.
Also, Mezannine is famous for being a cafe meant to cater to the volunteer firefighters of Binondo.
Pictured: worst fireman ever.
Finally, after much walking, we arrived at Wai Ying. We wanted duck. This was it.
This place needs no introduction.
So we walked to President's after what was supposed to be our last stop, and along the way, saw another branch of Wai Ying. Nope, no duck there, too. Neither did President's.
Well, it turns out that Hong Kong, where most of the duck in the Philippines comes from, is not importing Peking duck at all for the time being. Whether it's because the Pekin duck is an endangered species or there's another bird flu scare is anybody's guess, but I was a very sad panda about this discovery.
After everything has been said and done, we individually shelled out less than 600 pesos per head to eat at five different restaurants. We had lumpia, oyster cake, fried chicken, shrimp dumplings, Xiao Long Bao, kiampong, hakaw, and fried wonton, not to mention some drinks on top of that.
Considering how good the food was, this Binondo food tour was definitely a bargain for everyone involved, and personally, I can't wait to do it again.
The only thing I'm griping about is how I actually got friendzoned in Binondo...