The fabulous CLO (Community Liaison Officer) organized a Wokking tour of Manila's Chinatown - the neighborhood of Binondo. Actually, it was more of a walking and eating tour - so right up our alley!
We learned that the Chinese community developed on the other side of the river from the old city - Intramuros (within the walls). The Chinese people there traded with the native peoples (Filipinos) as well as the Spanish - who controlled the area. Many Chinese people came and settled there and incorporated the food they knew, with what was available.
The first stop we made was to a Chinese lumpia place - very different from the Filipino lumpia I've had. It's more like a burrito, with lots of vegetables.
We went down a hallway that opened up into a lovely interior courtyard.
There we were introduced to Chinese lumpia. There was sweetened chopped peanuts and toasted rice with seaweed as toppings.
Here's half a lumpia before you put the toppings on.
And here it is with the toppings. You also add hot sauce, chopped garlic in vinegar, and a sweet syrup. Put it all together and it's super yummy!
From there we walked through some narrow alleys.
Notice all the electrical wire grouped together overhead.
There is a cute bridge over the river. But the river itself is not particularly clean.
We went down the famous main street - Ongpin Street.
People get around on tricycles - with sidecars.
There's great fruit sold on the street - mangosteens are wonderful.
Great street ambience
Our tour guide explaining about dumplings and donuts.
These dumplings reminded me of char siu bao - but they were filled with ground meat - not bbq pork.
And here are the donuts - sort of. Traditional Chinese fried dough - but here they often toss them with sugar - then they resemble a churro.
The yams here are purple on the inside and called ube - with a different flavor. Then the sweet potatoes are red on the inside - and taste more like yams.
We eventually came to a very small dumpling shop. Just 20 seats and they make everything by hand right there in the window. Wonderful!
Our last stop was at a pastry shop that sold hopia. Small cakes with various fillings. Traditionally filled with mung bean paste.
Purple is ube - the purple yam.
But they also had ones filled with flan - my favorite.
The last thing I tried, were these peanut cakes - they tasted a lot like a really great Butterfinger.
A very fun and interesting day.