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Wok The Walk – the Old Manila Walks

Old Manila Walks

Old Manila Walks

Summer is not yet over despite the recent typhoon that hit us. Not if we can help it. We’ve experienced some rain showers in the past days, but I’m pretty sure we still have plans set for the days to come. If you’re in for something different, you should try the Old Manila Walks‘ Binondo Food Wok.

The Binondo Food Wok is actually a walking tour of Binondo — the country’s China Town. You say it should be “walk” and not “wok”? Wait a minute. There’s something in there that you should know. This is not just your ordinary walking tour. Aside from visiting key places, you also get to enjoy delicacies that makes it a unique experience. That’s right, you eat while you walk.

I joined this tour way back in 2007 with some of my colleagues. This was sort of a team building activity as we end an episode in our career and start anew. We had no idea what it was all about until we get into the thick of things. We arrived at the Binondo Church where we met Mr. Ivan Man Dy, the man behind the walking tour service. Our group was joined by 2 foreigners and the crew of the now defunct magazine show “100% Pinoy” by GMA 7.Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks

There he was, Ivan Man Dy, wearing a Chinese-inspired cap and shirt to complete the look. After catching some attention from church-goers inside the Binondo church where he introduced us to its baroque architecture and San Lorenzo Ruiz, we followed him to our next stop.

Kiampong, Soup and a drinkWe took a short trip to a place where chocolate tableas are made. Then we arrived at a corner where we thought we’ll get to enjoy freebies of Eng Bee Tin — the delicious hopia. Instead, we went upstairs to a restaurant and ate kiampong and fishball soup. Kiampong is a mix of adobo (pork stew), fried rice, peanuts and shrimp. A perfect appetizer for a feast that we’re about to partake. But we didn’t let the opportunity of buying hopia pass us by.

Moving on, we passed by a Chinese drug store where we saw traditional medicines, including a dried reptile on stick. Then we stopped at a dumpling house where we had our fill of dumplings in all shapes, sizes and flavors. This time I understood why we didn’t eat much at Cafe Mezzanine. We loved this place so much that we went back to buy more for us to bring home when the tour ended. DumplingsAfter eating lots of dumpling, we took a long walk and ended up in Estero Fastfood. The place is your all-familiar eatery, only it’s beside the canal. I remember smelling something foul. I’m not sure if the people eating there can smell it or not. I would have loved to enter inside the fastfood itself. We only stayed outside while Ivan tells us more about it. We learned that the food inside are mostly Filipino cuisine.

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As we move along, we saw a store selling innards – steamed and fried. A few steps further had us munching fried siopao. The walk was capped with fresh lumpia. This is the most delicious lumpia I ever had. And it’s big too! I remember buying two orders to bring back home. Lumpia - Old Manila WalksThe tour was filling, not just on the tummy but the experience itself. We walked a lot, but you’ll never notice how long you’ve been walking because of the many interesting things you’ll see. One of the notable things I saw was a restaurant proudly proclaiming that their serving food without MSG. That’s comforting, but I’m not sure anybody cared.

Manila ChinatownBinondo is a busy place – people walking to and fro, the traffic and the vendors along the sidewalk. This is an educational experience for everyone and highly recommended for students and relatives visiting from the province or overseas. Be there with an empty stomach and extra cash. We enjoyed the walk and the wok, we went home with plastic bags of full of food – hopia, dumplings, etc. The tour ended mid-afternoon. So if you’re in to explore more of Binondo, you still have much time to do it on your own. We were all so full that we ended up going home instead.

Where have you been in Manila? If you’ve been a resident of this city for a long time now and you haven’t been around, it’s about time to take the Old Manila Walks


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19 Responses

  1. Kenneth Ravida

    I would admit that the Chinese foods are one of the tastiest foods in the world, Love to go to Binondo, Although now I hate the country where the residents of that came from. Dont be mistaken, I hate the country they came from, not the residents here, nor the food

  2. The truth is… I’ve never actually toured Binondo and experienced any of these food or walk trips. I would love to visit this place and try to have those food trips myself.

  3. I am planning to visit Binondo this February to experience Chinese New Year! That would be a great time to explore the place. Walking and eating would be really fun. 🙂

  4. I’ve heard of this tour, being a fan of historical tours of old Manila (beginning with the Intramuros one of Carlos Celdran) but I haven’t had the chance to go. It’s a shame really; Binondo is just a jeep away from my condo.

  5. How I miss those days that me and my college barkadas do regular strolling down Chinatown. ang sarap kumain sa mga amlilit na Chinese dine houses serving traditional Chinese cuisine with matching big siopao at hot noodles.

  6. Binondo is one the my fave place in Manila. We also had our food trip there and we had so much fun and we enjoyed the food a lot. I can’t forget the first fried siopao I tasted in Binondo… it tasted really good. Now i’m drooling hahaha

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