B 6 Experiences you will enjoy when you go there inondo ??? A travel magazine of the Chinatown in Manila, Philippines September 2010 Food Centers at Ongpin Street sizzles: TOHO What a Chinese businesswoman knows that might interest you How to cook : Chinese Chow Mein 2 Going around Chinatown After visiting the Chinese district, I am sure these experiences will make you always want to go back. By Angel Luke Bagano I went to Chinatown for the first time because we had to make a documentary for a travel magazine as an assignment in class.
The crowd, noise and traffic was deadening, because it was different from the usual experience in any of the crowded streets in Manila. Chinatown breezes with businessmen selling their wares, tourists going around looking for fancy but colorful trinkets and gift items in the numerous shops around, devotees going in and out of the old yet elegant Binondo Church. Binondo Church -it is one of the oldest places of Christian Worship in Manila. The Church is home to the Our Lady of China and in front of the church is the Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz .
Various wares and jewelries are found mostly in Ongpin Street where you find tourists and buy-and-sell traders flock to go buy items to display in their own shops anywhere in Manila and other cities or provinces. What most attracted me is the colorful designs that speak truly of Chinese art and design – red, blue and orange dominate the colors with designs of dragons, snakes and scallops of lanterns on chandeliers and lampshades. Jewelry shops and commercial centers are bedecked with trinkets, fancy jewelries, gift items and colorful decors that tell stories of Chinese art and design. 2 3
Exotic foods are served in restaurants and diners, the first time I saw them in the menu book I almost puked but then I saw a group of Chinese eating with gusto at a table opposite where we sat. In this instant, I felt respect for other peoples tastes and culture. I wanted to try their dish of innards fried to a crisp and filled with garlic oil. I realized that the taste is not as disgusting as the taste. Other exotic foods are snakes, pigeons, rabbits, frogs cooked in delicious ways as meat or soup and crisp fries. Besides the exotic foods are the familiar dumplings, sio-pao, sio-mai and lots of noodles and soups.
The Chinese are said to be the best This exotic food is from the innards of animals, cooks in the world. cooked to a crisp with garlic oil, or barbecued. Going around the Chinese district is not a problem. While anyone can go there on his own car, tricycles, jeepneys, taxis and calezas are everywhere. I love riding the caleza because you are given the chance to maneuver the horse, if you ask the driver. For P150. 00 to any destination around Chinatown, you can go through narrow streets and alleys and to anywhere you want to go to.
The tricycle drivers charge P25 for a minimum of two passengers. It can also take you around the district wherever you want to go to. Other places you might want to enjoy at this Chinese District is he Buddhist temple; Kuang Kong is open to the public and is worth visiting as it shows the roots of the ChineseFilipino, you can burn incense sticks and utter your prayers. There is also these red wooden half moons you can use to have your fortunes told. Kuang Kong is the patron of Scholars and Martial arts as well as the God of War; it is known as the protector of Quan Yin; the Goddess of Mercy.
The old art deco style buildings are found in Escolta Street, this used to be the home of many luxurious fashion brands and slowly declined in the 70’s after the growth of malls. Tricycles, calesas, taxi, jeepney – the mode of transportation around. 3 4 How to get there Chinatown in the Binondo district has a lot of narrow and small streets. It stretches from Santa Cruz Church in the east all the way to Binondo Church in the west. It is overcrowded with buildings as well as people. Getting there is easy because you have a lot of choices on how to go there. TOHO : By Mary Uy
Best food center This food center leaves a traveler spellbound Taxis are abundant in Manila. some of the timeless favorites. And what better They are the fastest mode of transportation of getting to Binondo. But, always be aware of abusive taxi driv- place to have a taste of these Chinese dishes ers who would always take advanthan in Chinatown? Here and there are food tage of you being new in the place. Jeepneys also pass by the streets of Chinatown. The fares are affordable and you get to see a lot of places for they make a lot of stopovers when they pick up or drop off passengers.
You can ride the jeeps heading to Divisoria and get off as far as the driver would go and then get down and ride a tricycle. The Manila LRT (Yellow Line) is also an affordable mode of transportation. Just take the LRT-1 and get down at Carriedo Station. Calesas, taxis and jeepneys stop at and around the station. T he Chinese are famous for their cuisine. siopao, siomai, yang chow fried rice – these are only stalls selling Chinese delicacies with a modern twist like the now-famous fried siopao. Still, the best sellers in Chinatown are the traditional dishes served with authentic flair.
Built on 1888, the New Toho Food Center is listed as the oldest restaurant in Manila1. The restaurant was established by five friends who originally named it as “Toho Antigua Panciteria”. However, four of them had to return to China and left the restaurant in the care of their dear friend Tai Tang. Since then, Tai Tang’s family has been managing the restaurant passed on from generations to generations. When you plan to go to ChinaFor a restaurant to be this old and to still be this famous, town, try to wear simple clothes to avoid standing out.
Enjoy exploring there has to be some sort of secret right? According to the Chinese community since the earthe current owner of Toho, they only have one secret. liest days of the Old Manila. And that is… drum roll please…the use of all-natural Angel Luke Bagano ingredients. He said that using artificial flavorings and Continued on page 5 4 5 TOHO… (continued from page 4) food colorings will not only make the dishes lose its authenticity and its “true” flavor, but will alsochange the very tradition in making these dishes.
To date, the recipes used in making their dishes haven’t changed from the day Toho was established! The must-try dishes in Toho are their delectable platters of Pork Asado, Lumpiang Shanghai, Pancit Canton and Ampalaya (served with beef, pork, seafood, fish or chicken). Of course, for those don’t have much in their pockets, money won’t be a problem because their food is sold at very affordable prices. (And yes, they do accept credit cards! ). Delicious food and affordable prices, no wonder people keep coming back for more. Let’s Cook Chinese Food Chicken Chow Mein 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Ingredients: Fried noodles 2 whole chicken breasts 8 ounces (225 g) boneless lean pork 3 tsp (15 mL) cornstarch, divided 21/2 tbsp (37mL) dry sherry, divided 2 tbsp (30 mL) soy sauce, divided 1/2 cup (125mL) water 2 tsp (10 mL) instant chicken bouillon granules 2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil 1 pc fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 8 ounces (225 g) deveined shelled shrimp 2 medium size yellow onions, chopped 1 red or green pepper, thinly sliced 2 ribs celery, diagonally cut into 1 inch slices 8 green onions with tops, chopped 4 ounces (112 g) cabbage, shredded
Makes 6 servings 7. 8. 5 Prepare fried noodles, set aside Remove skin and bones from chicken breasts Cut chicken and pork into 1 inch (2. 5 cm) pcs Combine 1 tsp (5 mL) cornstarch, 11/2 tsp (7 mL) sherry, 1/2 tsp (7 mL) soy sauce in large bowl. Add chicken and pork; toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Combine remaining 2 tsp (10 mL) cornstarch, 2 tbsp (30 mL) sherry, 2 tbsp sherry, 1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) soy sauce, water and bouillon granules in small bowl, set aside Heat oil in wok or large skillet over high heat. Add ginger and garlic; stir fry 1 min.
Add chicken and pork; stir fry until no longer pink in center, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp, stir fry until shrimp turns pink, about 3 minutes. Add vegetables to wok, stit fry until crisp tender, 3-5 minutes. Add bouillon soy sauce mixture. Cook and stir until sauce boils and thickens; cook and stir an additional minute. Arrange Fried Noodles on serving plate, top with chicken mixture 6 It was exactly 11:21 in the morning when all five of us alighted the train at the Recto L. R. T. station. We all decided to squeeze ourselves inside a small tricycle going to Chinatown.
After 5 minutes of travel inside the tricycle, one of us asked, “is this Chinatown already? ” I replied, I “I doubt it, I don’t think we’re in Chinatown already. haven’t seen those red Chinese lanterns yet nor do I smell incense in the air. ” However, to my surprise, the tricycle driver parked by the pavement after a couple of minutes and told us, “nandito na po tayo. ” Chinatown in Manila was established in 1594 which makes it the oldest Chinatown in the world. Being the oldest, I expected it to be a glimpse of China but to no avail, it did not turn out to be what I thought it would be.
Though there were red street lamps and lots of stores selling authentic Chinese medicine, food, and furniture on both sides of the street, it still lacked that ambience that would make you feel as if you’re actually in China. There were even a lot of kalesas in this part of Manila that would make you think that you’re in Intramuros rather than in Chinatown. If it were not for the Chinese arch located at the entrance to Chinatown or the Chinese characters found on different store signs one would not be able to differentiate this street from other streets found in Manila.
All in all, I can say that our local version of Chinatown is quite far from the other Chinatowns I have seen. I have been to a Chinatown in Singapore and in an instant, it is as if you magically teleported into China. Though the Chinatown found in Manila would not give you a sneak peek into what China looks like, it is still a good place to have a first hand experience of Chinese culture and see the fusion of Filipino and Chinese cultures. 6 Are We There Yet? By Kevin Udasco A first timer loses his direction in Chinatown 7 A Woman’s Business in Chinatown By: BJ Yao
In the bustling streets of Chinatown with the horse-drawn “kalesas” and busy people going about, a store opened by a Chinese national doesn’t seem to be out of the ordinary. However, what makes this store so different is that it was founded by a Chinese woman, named Lolita Co. When I interviewed Omega Optical branch in what is was like to start a town, the first thing she starting a business all on Chinese community such grace and the help of tical has flourished. ” She a business from scratch community mination that and looks strength Dr. Lolita T. Co, founder of the It was really hard, starting a business all on my own, especially one in a Chinese community…” Ongpin St. , Manila, about business in a place like China said was, “it was really hard, my own, especially one in a as China town. But with God’s family and friends, Omega Opfaced the difficulties of starting and the hardships of living in a down on women. With detershe worked hard to make Omega Optical a success. Omega Optical started in 1994, inside the teeming streets of Chinatown and since then, it has prospered. Even today, many residents of Chinatown depend on the store for their visual needs, such as glasses and contact lenses. 7 8 8