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Food Trip: Binondo – Travel Up

As the world’s oldest Chinatown (established in 1594), Binondo in Manila is a well-known cultural and foodie haven. Here, you can find lots of authentic hole-in-the-wall establishments serving everything from flashy Cantonese-themed lauriat meals to homey Hokkien-style Tsinoy cooking. However, there are over 100+ restaurants in the area, so it can be quite overwhelming to decide where to eat.

I’ve had the chance to join several walking and eating tours led by Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks, so I’ve sampled a few of the best. International tourists who want a guide can join one of his tours to get a sense of history and learn more about the different establishments.

I’ve also gone back to Binondo with friends for food-tripping on various occasions, with the latest being a bike/food trip in January 2024 as an early Chinese New Year Ride to see the latest developments in the area.

For those who want to explore on their own, your best resource would be the Big Binondo Food Wok map, where Ivan lists all the restaurants, shops and cultural points of interest in the area. It’s easy enough to just go around and eat here with friends wherever you want. Here are just a few places you can eat in Binondo.

Originally known as Ma Kong Mami, this establishment still resembles a 1930s eatery. It specializes in classic mami noodles which come with spring onions and asado sauce and siopao.

  • Address: 931 Benavidez Street
  • Recommendations: Mami noodles, siopao, siomai
  • Facebook: Masuki Mami House

A humble hole-in-the-wall joint that’s gained fame for serving authentic homemade dumplings and potstickers in the style of the northeast of mainland China cooking.

Everything here is made from scratch within the four corners of the walls. Really good dumplings especially the kuchay with pork dumplings. Definitely one of my favorites in Binondo. (NOTE: As of January 2024, Dong Bei Dumplings only allows take-out and no longer accepts guests for dine-in).

  • Address: 642 E.T. Yuchengco St. cor. V. Tytana St., Binondo
  • Recommendations: Pork dumplings, kuchay with pork dumping, deep-fried scallion cakes, stir-fried chicken with carrots and cucumber, Tofu Burger, Xiao Long Bao, Wong Lo Kat drink
  • Facebook: Dong Bei Dumpling

If you’re in the mood to stay in a place with a modern vibe in Binondo, Apologue is one of the newest cafes you can visit. This minimalist cafe serves house-made pastries and cakes and coffee-based drinks.

Apologue is one of the few cafes I spotted in Binondo that had actual bike racks, so that’s a bonus for cyclists on coffee runs. Bestsellers here include the Sea Salt Latte and Tiramisu.

  • Address: 934 Benavidez Street, Binondo, Manila
  • Facebook: Apologue
  • Open daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Eng Bee Tin is a popular Chinese deli that serves delicacies and hopia in interesting flavors like pastillas, pandan and creamy custard. I’m a big fan of their Crispy Mikiron.

binondo eng bee tin

Starting in 2023, their flagship store along Ongpin now serves Fried Xiao Long Bao but only weekends. Expect long lines! They also have frozen versions you can cook at home.

  • Address: 628 Ongpin Street Binondo, Binondo
  • Recommendations: Hopia Ube, Hopia Combi (2 in 1 flavor), Mochipia (Hopia with Tikoy at the center) , Hopia Custard and vast variants of hopia, Tikoy, Fried Xiao Long Bao, Crispy Mikiron
  • Facebook: Eng Bee Tin

If you want a taste of fine dining in Binondo, one of the newer places in the area to check it is Grand Cafe 1919. This restaurant is located in a formerly abandoned colonial-era building and aims to be Binondo’s culinary jewel, offering a unique nostalgia trip. Photos of old Manila hang all around the restaurant’s walls.

The restaurant serves pre-set Chinese meals, fashion cakes, coffee and tea as well as soup, salad, pasta, pizza, wagyu steak, dimsum, and more.

An eatery that serves a great wide selection of very flavorful vegetarian meals. The texture and flavor of their dishes are very good even for non-vegetarians. Good value for money. They also sells vegan ingredients, sauces and frozen meat here.  It’s a good healthy alternative or the best option for vegans and vegetarians.

  • Address: 739 Ongpin St, Binondo, Manila, 1006 Metro Manila
  • Recommendations: Veggie Kare-kare, veggie sisig, mushrooms
  • Price range: P120 for combo meal with 3 viands
  • Restaurant hours: Open every day 7 am to 9 pm

This Volunteer Fireman’s Coffee Shop specializes in comfort food cooked Hokkien-style. All the restaurant’s revenue is donated to Binondo Paco Fire Search and Rescue Brigade.

  • Address: 650 Ongpin cor. E.T. Yuchengco St. Binondo
  • Recommendations: Kiampong (rice cooked with soy sauce, pork, veggies and topped with salted peanuts), Special Fish Ball Soup (a light soup with veggies and fishballs), Lo Tau Hu (Stir-fried tofu), Cold kundol or Wintermelon tea, Soup#5
  • Price range: P90-P200/dish
  • Restaurant hours: Monday to Saturday 7:00 am – 8:00 pm; Sunday 7:00 am – 2:00 pm
  • Facebook: Cafe Mezzanine

A small family-run eatery that serves Tsinoy-style spring rolls made mostly of fresh vegetables. For just P50, the lumpia which contains crushed peanuts, seaweed and bihon bits, is surprisingly filling. Homemade condiments and a sweet and spicy sauce are served on the side.

A no-frills neighborhood establishment that’s been around since 1968. They serve Tsinoy “lutong bahay” specialties and other original recipes.

  • Address: 637 Carvajal Street
  • Recommendations: Ku-tsai-ah (empanada), Sate Mi noodles (pancit guisado with crispy kangkong), Deep-Fried Tofu drizzled with sate sauce, Fried lumpia
  • Price range: P40 – P200 per dish

A staple in the Binondo food scene, this authentic Chinatown eatery serves Cantonese style dimsum, noodles and rice meals, at budget-friendly prices. It’s also a good spot for coffee or tea if you just want to take a break in between all the other food stops or late at night as they’re open until the early morning.

  • Address: Benavidez St., Binondo, Manila, Metro Manila
  • Recommendations: Peking duck rice, dimsum, beef noodle soup, Iced coffee
  • Restaurant hours: Open everyday 7 am to 2am

A popular Cantonese dim sum place known for their seafood, siomai, congee, noodles, hakaw and cheong fun. They serve some pretty good desserts like steamed custard buns with salted egg yolk and mango and sago jelly.

  • Address: 809 Salazar St., Binondo
  • Recommendations: Scallop dumpling, Peking duck, Steamed Custard Buns filled with Salted Egg Yolk, Mango and Sago
  • Price range: P80-P400+ per dish
  • Restaurant hours: 2:30 pm – 11:00 pm

A modern Chinese cafe that serves some unique twists on typical Chinese dishes. The restaurant turns into a karaoke bar at night.

  • Address: 520 E.T. Yuchencgco Street, Binondo
  • Recommendations: Awi’s Lo Bihon, Coffee Spareribs, Gabi Cake covered with scallions and vegetables, Kuapao
  • Price range: P130 – P220 per dish
  • Restaurant hours: Monday to Saturday 8:00 am – 11:45 pm
  • Facebook: Awi’s Cafe & Restaurant

Sincerity Cafe & Restaurant is a family-owned establishment specializing in healthy and affordable Amoy dishes. They reputedly serve the best-tasting fried chicken in Binondo since 1956. Aside from chicken, they serve other specialties like BBQ spare ribs and oyster cake.

  • Address: 497 E.T. Yuchengco (formerly Nueva St.)
  • Recommendations: Sincerity Fried Chicken, BBQ Spare Ribs, Fried Oyster Cake, Fried Kikiam, Fresh Lumpia, Shrimp Omelette, 8 Treasures Machang
  • Price range: P120 – P320/dish
  • Restaurant hours: Monday to Saturday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm, Sunday 9:00 – 2:00 pm
  • Facebook: Sincerity Cafe & Restaurant

Adventurous foodies usually make a stop at Estero Fast Food, so named because it’s located right next to an “estero” or creek/canal. The hawker-style stalls, the most famous of which is LGA Fast Food, offer a range of Filipino and Chinese dishes including a few exotic ones like Fried Frog’s Legs, which you can have cooked in different styles (adobo, butter, fried in garlic, etc.).

  • Address: Brgy. 297, Santa Cruz, Manila
  • Recommendations: Crispy fried garlic frog’s legs (eat at your own risk)
  • Price range: P120 – P250 /dish
  • Facebook: Estero Fast Food

This fine-dining restaurant located in Lucky Mall Chinatown offers a variety of Chinese, seafood and Taiwanese specialties good for large groups holding business meetings or celebrating anniversaries and special occasions. Food here is more upscale and expensive compared to most of the smaller eateries in Binondo.

  • Address: 2/F Lucky Chinatown Mall, Binondo
  • Recommendations: Seafood with Spinach Soup, Shrimp Bombs (coated shrimp balls filled with melted cheese), Dragon Boat (prawns seasoned with butter and melted cheese served with broccoli and crispy noodles), Peking Duck served three ways and Lapu-Lapu in Pomelo Sauce
  • Price range: P300-P2,800/dish depending on size
  • Facebook: King Chef

Located at the Mezzanine level or Ramada Manila Central, a hotel right across the Binondo Church, News Café offers Western and Asian all-day dining with themed buffets during weekends. The cafe is decorated with photographs of scenes of Old Chinatown.

  • Address: Ramada Manila Central, Ongpin cor. Quintin Paredes
  • Recommendations: Buffet
  • Price range: P595 for Emperor’s Lunch buffet (every Sunday)
  • Website:

A small but modern Taiwanese cafe that specializes in stinky tofu and hot potato. They serve milk teas, dessert, fruit juices, bubble drinks, homemade fruit soda and other interesting beverages. They have a clean and decent restroom compared to some others in the area.

  • Address: 630, 1006 Yuchengco St, Binondo, Manila, Metro Manila
  • Recommendations: Mango Cheese Milk Tea Cover, Oreo Milk Cheese Cover
  • Restaurant hours: Open everyday 1pm – 10pm

Fred’s Revolucion is an indie watering hole in Escolta that serves breakfast meals, appetizers, coffee, cocktails, mainstream local beers and a few craft beers on tap.

  • Address: Fred’s Revolucion, G/F First United Building, 413 Escolta St, Sta Cruz, Manila
  • Recommendations: Brewed coffee, Craft beer
  • Business hours: Monday to Saturday 5:00 pm to 12:00 am

Uno Seafood Wharf Palace is a Chinese restaurant that serves family-style Chinese cuisine and has established itself as a Binondo favorite. Ideal for family celebrations and groups.

  • Address: Uno Seafood Wharf Palace, Calvo Bldg., 270 Escolta St, Binondo
  • Recommendations: Pan-fried oyster cake in Fookien style, Hong Kong Style crab meat Fuyong, assorted cold cuts
  • Restaurant hours: Monday to Sunday 11am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 11pm

Binondo has a lot of stalls selling everything from Chinese medicine, dry goods, books, toys, trinkets and fresh fruits and delicacies. Cat not included.

binondo chinatown cute cat

Preserves and kiamoy

Traditional stalls where you can buy different nuts and Chinese preserves like plums, ginger preserves, dilis and kiamoy. A good stall is the one located at the end of Carvajal street, Alley Market.

binondo kiamoy preserves stalls

Fresh Fruits

There are lots of stalls around Binondo selling cherries, dragonfruit, strawberries, apples, persimmons, oranges, grapes and other fruits.

47. vendors fruits

Ho-land Bakery

A family-owned bakery that sells an assortment of Tsinoy cakes, pastries and delicacies, including their bestseller – hopia.

binondo holland hopia

Polland Hopia

Polland Hopia has been making hopia or mung bean cakes since 1966. This branch sells a variety of hopia products as well as mooncakes, tikoy and many others.

Shanghai Fried Siopao

This small stall sells different kinds of Chinese food – hopia, kikiam, cuapao, but their best seller is the fried siopao, a meat bun filled with meat and vegetables. They also sell ma-chang, flavored sticky rice with bits of chicken, pork and chestnut.

By public transport, the nearest stations to Binondo are Carriedo on the LRT-11 line or Recto on the LRT-2. It’s also near the Escolta Station of the Pasig River Ferry.

Binondo could be a great food-trip biking destination, but sadly, many establishments lack proper bike parking. If you’re bringing your bike to eat in the area, choose streetside restaurants where you can easily keep an eye on your bike and bring a bike lock.

Because of the traffic congestion and narrow one-way streets, it’s very difficult to bring a car and find parking in the area. Car owners would be better off parking in Lucky Chinatown Mall and walking. A lot of locals use motorcycles, though street parking is very limited. Once you get there, Binondo is best explored on foot or by taking a sidecar.  I really think they shouldn’t allow cars at all in Binondo and just make the streets fully for walking and biking only.

This is also one of the few areas in Metro Manila where horse-drawn carriages or kalesas are still widely used to get around.

  • I highly recommend you just take the train or ferry to get here instead of taking a car to save you the hassle of finding parking along the narrow streets. You’ll be walking most of the time once you get there anyway.
  • Plan your route beforehand to maximize the number of restaurants you can try during your food trip.
  • If you want to save some money on drinks, bring your own water bottle.
  • Bring reusable containers so you can take-out of food!
  • Wear simple, breathable clothes and comfortable walking shoes. Leave the jewelry, fancy clothes and designer bags at home.
  • Keep your bag secure and take extra care of your valuables especially at times when the place is extra crowded (Chinese New Year, etc.)
  • Binondo is best explored with friends so you can share a variety of dishes. and have someone to split costs with.

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