Unlike any other article, I begin this with a long sigh and a deep recollection of what transpired during the trip – recalling the experiences frame by frame, moment by moment. Just recently, I find myself at a loss for words. I haven’t written anything for a while. I constantly find myself tired, burnt, and in a state of self diagnosed subsyndromal depression – and I am writing this with an expressionless flat affect on a gloomy Thursday afternoon. Lol. I know I’m not okay, but I can’t be depressed.
You see, this is part two of my article, Chasing Wonders in Baguio: A Feel Trip. This will entail my jovial journey to the oldest Chinatown in the world, Binondo. Yes, the oldest Chinatown in the world is here in the Philippines. And this post is long overdue – more than two months already. I hope the magic I experienced there is still with me. Yikes.
A district in Manila, Binondo is the oldest Chinatown in the world – established in 1594 by the Spaniards as a settlement near Intramuros. It was strategically positioned so that colonial rulers can keep a close eye on their migrant subjects. However, prior Spanish settlement, the area is already a budding hub for commerce. Binondo is the center of commerce and trade in Manila, where businesses are run by Filipino-Chinese.
Binondo is the oldest Chinatown in the world
Binondo Church, also known as Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish, fronting Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz.
Salazar Bakery. Aside from the interesting interiors (arch and facades), Binondo is known for good food and baked treats. Here we find ourselves at Salazar Bakery. A Binondo-based bakeshop making rounds in Manila, Salazar Bakery (since 1947) offers a wide variety of Chinese delicacies from Tikoy, Mooncakes, to Hopia. Speaking of Tikoy, it is originally known as Nian Gao (Nin Gou in Cantonese) translated as Year Cake or Chinese New Year’s Cake. It is considered good luck to eat Nian Gao during the Chinese New Year.
Formosa Bakery. Another interesting find is Formosa Bakery. The bakery shop was first established in Quezon by a Taiwanese businessman, followed by branches in Greenhills and Binondo. Home of Taiwanese-style bread, Formosa Bakery also sells other Chinese baked products as well as mochi bread.
Lord Stow’s Bakery. If you think you haven’t had enough of bread, here we visit the home of the famous Egg Tart – Lord Stow’s Bakery. Here’s a brief history of the famous egg tart brand: Englishman Andrew Stow opened Lord Stow’s Bakery on Coloane Island, Macau in 1989. The locals immediately fell in love with his European product. In a trip to Portugal in the 80s, Andrew was introduced Pasteis de Nata, a kind of egg tart, where he experimented and improved the traditional recipe. Now, Lord Stow’s Egg Tart is famous throughout Asia. And, tadaaa, here is the famous Lord Stow Egg Tart.
Happy Delicious Kitchen. When it comes to full meals, here’s Happy Delicious Kitchen. Indeed, diners will find themselves happy at this authentic Taiwanese restaurant. I personally recommend their Mango Juice. Probably the best mango juice ever.
Me and the Happy Delicious Mango Juice
Golden Fortune Seafood Restaurant. One of the last places we’ve visited in Binondo is the Golden Fortune Seafood Restaurant. Golden Fortune is Chinatown’s casual dining restaurant serving a wide selection of Chinese and Asian dishes. They serve live seafood (you can choose from their indoor aquarium), Ala Carte menu, Shabu Shabu, Dimsum and Congee, as well as desserts and drinks.
I also recommend Eng Bee Tin‘s Lava Pao, salted egg yolk custard buns. It’s really good, as in. The trip to Binondo was an enjoyable one. It would be nice to go back and enjoy the delectable dishes and baked goods once in a while. Going to places makes you feel like you’re going places – seems legit, right? Going back to how I am feeling right now, as this is a ‘fee trip’, I guess we always have a choice: dwell in this subsyndromal state, accept the things that are and be complacent, or just do something about it. It really felt nice to be able to compose this short feature. Would like to take this opportunity to thank my blogger companions during this day trip at the oldest Chinatown in the world! Thank you!
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