Affordable restaurant hopping in Chinatown Binondo

Whether it is rainy or sunny, the gastronomic delights along Ongpin Street in Chinatown Binondo in the city of Manila attract bountiful customers daily. Regardless of one’s ancestral roots, the authentic Chinese food served in every establishment always exceeds the expectations of the diners’ taste buds.

The variety of food choices along Ongpin—not to forget those stores hidden on alleys—overwhelms newcomers and leaves them undecided most of the time. In most cases, the store with flashy signage gets them all, leaving the underdogs unnoticed and untasted.

Ongpin Street has become one of my comfort places when I crave for comfort foods. So to help you in finding what restaurants to try out, my cousin and I did a sort of restaurant hopping and tasted an assortment of Chinese dishes. We started late afternoon at around 5 PM and we were surprised with the small amount of cash that we spent.

President Grand Palace Restaurant

We started at President Grand Palace Tea House located near Mandarin Square, on the other side of the small bridge. Do not be daunted by the lavish, for-the-rich-only exterior of the restaurant. There are affordable dishes on their menu which you can actually find on the last two pages of it. We ordered a big bowl of Beef Brisket Noodle Soup worth Php140 good for two persons. It is the perfect dish to warm up your stomach.

President Grand Palace Restaurant’s Beef Brisket Noodle Soup

Wai Ying Fast Food

Next on our list is Wai Ying Fast Food located at the end of Benavidez Street near Salazar Street. To get there from President Grand Palace, follow Salazar Street and turn right on the first block. You can also ask for directions from the residents or street vendors.

My favorite Wai Ying dish is Hakaw (shrimp dumpling) especially when dipped into a mixture of soy sauce, chili oil, and calamansi. Four pieces of Hakaw cost Php70. For carbohydrates, we tried their 6pcs. Fried Cua Pao (deep-fried plain dough) worth Php55. And of course for dessert, we ordered 3pcs. Hot Salad Roll (deep-fried rolls filled with fruit cocktail and mayonnaise) worth Php65.

Wai Ying Fast Food’s Hakaw

Wai Ying Fast Food’s Hot Salad Roll

Wai Ying Fast Food’s Fried Cua Pao

The Original Sa Lido’s Authentic Chinese Restaurant

On our hunt for the third restaurant along Ongpin Street, we came across a tarpaulin that says “home of authentic asado”. Since we’re looking for Siopao Asado and the message somehow matches the food we’re up to, we followed the stairs that lead to the second floor where Sa Lido’s Restaurant is situated. Good thing we asked the waitress if they have Siopao as it is not mentioned on the menu. A piece of Siopao Asado costs Php50.

The Original Sa Lido’s Authentic Chinese Restaurant’s Siopao Asado

Mei Sum Tea House

Our stomachs can still accommodate food so we opted to visit one more restaurant—Mei Sum Tea House. The two-story food establishment is easily noticeable as they have a large red signage and their dim sum are being done outside, which catches someone’s attention. We ordered Pork Siomai, Php65; Japanese Fried Dumplings, Php60; and Egg Tart, Php36. They also have free desserts of your choice—almond jelly or ice cream—but they normally don’t tell customers upfront. It happened that we asked for their bestseller dessert that they mentioned about the complimentary dessert.

Mei Sum Tea House’s Pork Siomai

Mei Sum Tea House’s Japanese Fried Dumplings

Mei Sum Tea House’s Egg Tarts

Breakdown of Expenses

Beef Brisket Noodle SoupPhp140
Hakaw Php70
Fried Cua PaoPhp55
Hot Salad Roll Php65
Siopao AsadoPhp100 (x 2)
Pork SiomaiPhp65
Japanese Fried DumplingsPhp60
Egg Tart Php72 (x 2)

But wait, there’s more!!!

Mei Sum Tea House gives 50% discount on some food items starting 7 PM and so we were able to lessen our food expense. So here’s the updated breakdown:

Beef Brisket Noodle SoupPhp140
Hakaw Php70
Fried Cua PaoPhp55
Hot Salad Roll Php65
Siopao AsadoPhp100 (x 2)
Pork SiomaiPhp32.5 (with 50% discount)
Japanese Fried DumplingsPhp30 (with 50% discount)
Egg Tart Php36 (with 50% discount)


Mark is a travel bug slayer, a practical backpacker, and a future globetrotter. He dreams to skydive over the Swiss Alps, to live in a Mongolian yurt, and to sled on the icy plains of Antarctica. When he's not dreaming, he plays the role of a web developer.

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