Welcome to Binondo!
This enclave of little sidewalks and alleyways can become really confusing for first timers. I myself find it hard sometimes to navigate through those one way streets and find a decent parking spot. That's why we frequent the place late at night to avoid the heavy traffic common in this area. You'll learn why it's better here at night time in a short while.
Aside from the old manila ambiance littered with little Chinese shops, the best asset of this place, in my opinion, are the Chinese Restaurants, so many, you need a lot of trips to try everything out (we're currently on that process)!
One night April was really craving for dim sum so I asked her where she wanna treat me (she's my financier with this, haha). She said anywhere as long as there's dim
sum. So on we journeyed to Binondo, not knowing a single place where to eat, and was left wondering the whole trip if there's still any resto or food place open that late (12 midnight). After a lot of rights and lefts we spotted this place called Wan Chai which got our attention since its a little place with lots of cars parked. When there's lots of cars, it's something to check out!
So we went in, got the menu and boy was I surprised (and delighted) that its very cheap here. We then ordered Beef Wanton Noodle Soup, Shrimp Dumplings and Shrimp Rice Cake. While waiting our others, they served us complimentary hot tea to keep us busy. I read somewhere that the tea is used to cleanse the palate before trying out another dish to appreciate fully its taste.
Let me start with the Beef Wanton Noodle Soup. My oh my this bowl is big --- and packed! There's LOTS of beef that's cooked real tender, several wanton filled with shrimp too, a hefty serving of noodles and the broth. Sipping through the hot broth you can taste the richness of the different flavors intertwined to achieve this delightful dish. The perfectly cooked beef is real good complemented by the soft and delicate taste of the shrimp wanton. A quick dip of this to some soy sauce, chili and lime juice and your mouth waters before even touching your lips. The serving of noodles is also something to take note of. They really didn't skimp with this dish.
Being first timers (and real hungry at that time), we didn't order anything adventurous and we stuck to those we already know. So we ordered some Shrimp Dumplings and we sure were not wrong to have done so. Unlike other shrimp dumplings we tried, the shrimp in this is huge. Another delicate and soft taste with hints of sweetness from the shrimp. Try it with the above mentioned dip and your good to go! The dumplings are pretty big too.
We ordered another shrimp dish too since it looked good in the menu called Shrimp Rice Cake. That is always a tip to myself whenever I order. If it's pictured in the menu, it's probably something they're proud of. Again, this dish is huge! It's shrimp enclosed in a sort of fresh lumpia wrap. It tasted as good as its looks. This dish is heavy on the tummy thanks to the rice cake wrap. The sauce that cake with it is something I never tasted before. It's like tempura sauce but thicker and sweeter. It's so good we ordered extra. This dish is a must try!
Three shrimp dishes, one meal. A shrimp trifecta.
Wish you were here? Haha. As of this writing I'm craving for Chinese food!
All done! That was a real heavy meal. We'll surely return to this place to try out the many dim sums, dumplings and noodles this place has to offer. Oh, before I forgot, 9 P.M. and onwards there offer discounts on select food items. Dim sum and dumplings are 15% off too! The beauty of going here late at night: no traffic and cheaper bill.
Wan Chai is located along Benavidez Street, Binondo.