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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Binondo: The Alternate Route to Chinatown

Public transportation in Manila can sometimes be cramped, slightly dirty and dangerous when it's late. During rush hour, the trains, buses and jeepneys are not for the faint of heart (or those who are easily pushed around, for that matter).  Enter the Pasig River Ferry Service, which we along with some friends decided to take on our trip to Binondo.

 The Pasig Ferry, popularized and romanticized by the Bea and John Lloyd movie, Miss You Like Crazy, is a pleasant alternative to public transport. We took the ferry at Hulo station (near Robinson's Pioneer), there's a long interval between trips but it was okay because the waiting area was not crowded and clean.


View of the Pasig River from Hulo Station. Looks surprisingly clean, doesn't it? Hope that projects to clean up the Pasig River continue and improve the river's condition.

 Another view of the river from the ferry. Quite a number of people asked me if the river smelled, and the answer is - no. Didn't see any floating trash either, but the water was still dark and murky.

We hopped off the ferry at Escolta Station which is right under Jones Bridge. The lantern-inspired lights at Jones Bridge tell us that we are about to enter the Chinatown. After asking around/checking Google maps and riding a pedicab that can amazingly fit in 7 people, we arrive at our destination - WaiYing.

 WaiYing is actually one of those Chinese fast food places that still preserve the Chinese authenticity of their food. Makes me wonder if there are any Chowkings in Binondo because their food simply can't compete. 

WaiYing was packed when we arrived and we had to wait a few minutes before getting a table at the second floor. We didn't wait long for the food to be served though, as our orders quickly began to come in. 

HK Milk Tea 
This was good! Would suggest you go for the cold one though as you won't need to mix the milk and sugar in as with did with the hot milk tea.
Pork Siomai 
Just the standard fare here, I guess siomai has been integrated into Filipino food culture so much that it seems to be less Chinese and bit more Filipino.

Century Egg Congee with Lean Meat 
Delicious, but the meat could have been cut in to smaller slices.

 Roast Duck with Fried rice
Yummy! The duck was flavorful and tender and they didn't scrimp on ingredients on the fried rice. Really affordable too so thumbs up for this one.

Egg Tart 
A bit bland, still not at par with Macau egg tarts.

WaiYing might not be one of those restaurants with well-thought out interiors or fancy decor, but its mishmash of plastic chairs and tables as well as the hustle of the place all combine to give it an authentic feel that can only be found in Chinatown.  The affordable prices, speedy service and diverse and yummy food are sure to keep customers coming back for more. My only complaint? The location! They've got to open a nearer branch.

Wai Ying Fastfood 
Benavides Street
Binondo, Manila


Anonymous said...

This is a nice entry. You can try and post other restaurants in the same area, those that are in the insides of Binondo.

Pam said...

Thanks! Yes we will try that, definitely. Any places you might recommend in Binondo? =)

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