#1 Best Binondo Food Crawl DIY Guide

#1 Best Binondo Food Crawl DIY Guide

Just touched down the Philippines? Before heading to your island destinations, why not follow along with this Binondo food crawl guide so you can also enjoy Manila?

Manila’s Chinatown – are you ready for a next-level food adventure that will make all those generic mall food courts totally lame by comparison?! I’m talking about the infamous Binondo district, a non-stop feast for the senses from aromatic street eats to bustling wet markets to centuries-old dining institutions dishing out fusion flavors you won’t find anywhere else.

This packed neighborhood swirling with scooter traffic and sizzling woks holds major historical hype as the world’s oldest Chinatown, did you know? And the cuisine scene here beautifully blends the best of both Chinese and Filipino food traditions passed through generations. I mean, where else can you gorge on lumpia Shanghai, sip bubble tea, and then tuck into hearty congee all on the same street corner?

But here’s the challenge, food fans – there are legit HUNDREDS of affordable places to sample in Binondo. You can easily get full (and lost!) after just a few stops. So I made it my personal mission as a Manila resident to create the perfect DIY guide for conquering this iconic district’s array of unbelievable eats.

I’ll provide insider tips on exactly where to feast, what dishes reign supreme, how to get around, must-know Tagalog phrases, and so much more intel to help you demolish a food crawl for the record books! From hidden gem dumpling dens to 5-star fine dining, we’ll tackle it all. Just come ready to eat, eat, and eat some more at one of the foodiest enclaves across Asia!

Ready to start this Binondo flavor tour? Let’s chow down!

Binondo Food Crawl Guide

Alright, hungry explorers, grab those elastic waistbands and get ready to loosen those belts! We’re about to dive mouth-first into a wild Binondo culinary crawl. Manila’s iconic Chinatown district serves up some of the most drool-worthy Asian fusion dishes you can find as the oldest and arguably tastiest Chinatown on Earth!

Must Try Restaurants And Specialties

Shanghai Fried Siopao

Location: Ongpin Corner, Bahamas Street
Price range: $

No food crawl through Binondo is complete without sampling the iconic Shanghai Fried Siopao – the ultimate Chinese-Filipino fusion snack. These delightful bite-sized buns envelope a sweet and savory pork filling, then get fried up to golden brown perfection.

The result? A crispy, doughy dumpling that provides the perfect balance of textures in one handheld bundle.

The filling features tender diced pork sautéed with soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil until fork-tender. Garlicky notes blend with the natural sweetness of the pork. You can also get crunchy bits of carrot and green onions, adding a fresh contrast. This all gets neatly tucked into chewy siopao dough, sealed shut, then lightly fried. The subtle sweetness of the bread plays off the salty, umami-rich stuffing.

Estero Fast Food

Location: Ongpin St., Binondo, Manila
Price range: $$

One of my favorite under-the-radar finds in Binondo is an entire alley of perfect street food stalls known as Estero Fast Food. Wedged between apartment blocks, this enclave of no-frills outdoor canteen-style counters offers up some of the most delish Filipino-Chinese eats you’ll ever chow down on.

Nab some grub from LGA Fastfood for non-stop plates of fried garlic frog legs in an umami-bomb sauce alongside some fresh pancit with plump shrimp and veggies. Also, a must-order is the fabulously named Betamax – not the videotape format but a pimped rice bowl of savory marinated chicken or pork belly over garlic rice. Each chewy roasted meat cube bursts with glazey char flavor. Oh and BTW, the locals swear that it’s a great hangover remedy!

Dong Bei Dumplings

Location: 642 Yuchengco Street
Price range: $$

Craving dumplings in Manila? You can’t miss Dong Bei along Yuchengco Street in Binondo, home to the famous kuchay dumplings that keep locals and visitors alike coming back for more.

These plump half-moon beauties might not contain piping hot soup like Xiao Long Bao, but the flavor packed inside will knock your socks off. Each delicate skin pouch overflows with a mouthwatering mixture of ground pork, crunchy chives, sesame oil, and secret spices.

The magic is in the wrapper – these little pillows of heaven boast fresh, homemade skins with the perfect chewy factor. Dong Bei churns out basket after basket, steaming hot and perfectly pinched into crescent shapes.

Sincerity Cafe And Restaurant

Location: 497 Yuchengco Street
Price range: $$$

In the maze of chaotic streets that make up Binondo’s Chinatown, there hides an unexpected respite – Sincerity Cafe and Restaurant. Consider your taste buds on notice! Once you step in, you’re hit with the sizzles and aromas coming out of the open kitchen of this modern Chinese cafe.

This little spot is all about tweaked Chinese cuisine and contemporary twists on traditional flavors. You can start off your meal with their decadent soup dumplings, packed with a burst of crab meat and roe goodness under delicate skins. Make sure to nibble one side first to let some steam out before gobbling it down in one bite!

If you’re craving something fried, you can’t go wrong with their fried chicken, covered in light, crunchy batter made in-house. Balance it out with some kailan drizzled with oyster sauce or a refreshing tofu salad if you dare!

Chuan Kee Binondo And Cafe Mezzanine

Location: 650 Ongpin Corner Yuchengco Street
Price range: $$$

Chuan Kee in Binondo has always been known for its down-home turo-turo style and lip-smacking Szechuan flavors. But when nearby Eng Bee Tin bakery acquired the property, this OG spot got a modern remake!

Enter the ground floor to a sensory overload – fiery aromas and rows of Chinese delicacies with Filipino twists and fried oyster cake just waiting to get doused in lip-tingling sauce. Fan favorites include kiam pong, pork maki, and five-spice chicken that you’ll devour to the bone. Balance out the heat with some cooling mango shakes or a sago gulaman.

But save room for the upper-level Cafe Mezzanine, their contemporary annex known for east-meets-west fusion dishes. Cozy up in a booth while you binge ongoing and soup no. 5!

New Po Heng Lumpia House

Location: Uy Su Bin Building, 531 Quintin Paredes Street
Price range: $$

Blink, and you might miss this tiny green corner shop. But trust me, once that sweet, garlicky aroma hits you from the street, just take a whiff, and your taste buds will drag you inside! This family-owned joint dishes out ginormous, bursting-full egg rolls packed with juicy ground pork, crunchy bean sprouts, carrots, and just the right hint of sweetness.

Lan Zhou La Mien

Location: 818 Benavidez Street
Price range: $$$

Forget about forks and spoons – at Lan Zhou La Mien along Benavidez Street, it’s all about hand-pulled noodles and expert chopstick skills! This bustling Chinatown noodle factory churns out bowl after bowl of chewy goodness to lines that just don’t quit.

Once you slide onto a red plastic stool inside, get ready for a feast for the senses! Stacks of fresh noodles get pulled and stretched right before your eyes. Then they get plunged directly into piping hot broth that perfumes the air with star anise and beef bones. Toppings like roasted pork, pickled veggies, and seafood add a symphony of flavors.

Their signature beef lamien delivers a powerful umami wallop in each slurp. Those generous homemade ribbons soak up the rich broth beautifully. Just be ready to work those chopsticks to wrangle the long slippery strands into your mouth! Add some chili oil or vinegar to give it even more punch.

Not interested in soups? You can also try out their famous chaw ho fan and fried dumplings for a change!

Tasty Dumplings

Location: 641 Norberto Ty (formerly Condesa) St, Binondo, Manila
Price range: $$

Don’t let the hole-in-the-wall facade of Tasty Dumplings fool ya – when it comes to pork chops, this little joint on Yuchengco Street serves ’em up bigger than your face! We’re talking ginormous, crispy-edged slabs of meat that literally spill over your palms. One order will cover a whole platter!

And don’t sleep on their dumplings too. Those delicate little pillows of ground pork and chopped chives pan-fried to a delicate crisp will have you licking sauce straight off the plate. For less than 200 pesos an order, it’s a flavor joyride your belly will thank you for.

navigating your Binondo Food Crawl

Alright, you’ve got the restaurant recommendations down and are drooling over visions of xiao long bao and crispy siopao dancing in your head. Now it’s time to prep a game plan to actually pull off an epic Binondo food tour.

Decide Your Starting Point

If you’re coming from the LRT/hub areas, I recommend kicking things off on the Manila Chinatown arch side to work your way west. Feel free to go against the grain, though – just be strategic with clustering stops close together.

Focus On Your Route

As for the route, zig-zag through core foodie streets like Sabino Padilla, Ongpin Street, Quintin Paredes, and Yuchengco blitz both hole-in-the-wall gems and long-standing institutions. I suggest grouping 2-4 places per street/block so you can sample more dishes!


Transportation-wise, skip driving yourself and taxi/grab in between stops unless needed for outlier destinations like Lucky Chinatown Mall. Walking is still my top recommendation for hitting up main foodie thoroughfares like Ongpin Street and Sabino Padilla. This area forms a compact, pedestrian-friendly block with countless street eats and restaurants beckoning. Simply stroll down aromatic alleys, fully soaking in the sights, smells, and sounds!

For linking further clusters like Lucky Chinatown to Quiapo, quickly hop on one of the jeepneys continuously running main arteries. These kitschy public rides only cost 10-15 pesos for short distances and offload you right on prime corners. No time wasted!

Another ultra-convenient and cheap way to zip between Binondo hot spots is by tricycle! These covered sidecar motorbikes function as nimble neighborhood taxis that can cut through small alleys. Just flag one down, tell the driver your destination, hop aboard the side bench, and watch the streets whip by from under your private awning. Most drives within the district cost around 50 pesos or less.

Binondo Food Crawl Guide

Key Tagalog Food Phrases

While many Binondo restaurants have English menus and takeout signs, venturing beyond the tourist track into legit local gems helps to know some handy Tagalog dining terms. Here are crucial phrases to deploy:

“Ano ang masarap dito?”

Translation: “What’s delicious here?”

Ask staff this to get the scoop on which dishes their shop is best known for.

“Anong marerekomenda mo?”

Translation: “What do you recommend?”

If you’re overwhelmed scanning a menu, ask the waiter what they suggest trying.

“Puwede pabigyan ng (dish)?”

Translation: “Can I get/have some (dish)?”

Use this format to politely order items that catch your eye.

“Magkano ito?”

Translation: “How much is this?”

Confirm prices if not clearly listed to avoid sticker shock when the bill comes.

“Kumpleto na ba ito?”

Translation: “Is this everything?”

Before paying, verify you were brought your entire order and didn’t miss anything.

“May bayad ba ang sabaw?”

Translation: “Is there a charge for the soup?”

Some spots sneakily charge extra for soup, so ask first if it comes with the meal.

Of course, toast your successful food run at the end with “Salamat!”, or “thank you” in Tagalog! Using key local terminology earns you bonus points with vendors too.

Enjoy Your Binondo Food Crawl Experience With Ling!

As your epic Binondo feast adventure comes to a close and you’re struggling to button your jeans, I hope this DIY guide has equipped you to conquer Manila’s thrilling Chinatown food scene on your own next time!

From must-try culinary gems to strategic crawl routes to insider transportation tactics, you now have the blueprint to tackle this. “World Food Tour in One District” like a pro. No street cart, hole-in-the-wall shop, or longstanding restaurant matchbox should intimidate you anymore with the dining lingo and recommendations provided here.

The only side effect? Likely some serious post-feast food coma! But now that you’ve had a mouthwatering preview, I know you’ll be eager to return to keep discovering Binondo’s incredible fusion flavors and boundary-pushing new eateries popping up every day.

To fuel more of your Filipino food adventures, be sure to download the handy Ling app for essential phrases beyond dining, plus deep culture and etiquette guides. It breaks language barriers to unlock authentic local experiences – whether that’s karaoke-ing your heart out or beach hopping through the islands! Download it for FREE now!

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