Mami Heaven Masuki
On February 19, the best way to celebrate the first day of the lunar year and the Chinese New Year is to go to the heart of Chinatown in Binondo to savor authentic Chinese cuisine and experience the festivities.
Food is central to Chinese New Year celebrations. It is believed that eating certain kinds of food will bring fortune and good luck for the coming year. For instance, eating tikoy, the sticky Chinese rice cake, means the “sticking together” of the family. The celebration begins with a bang before midnight with a dragon dance. Then the family gathers for the elaborate dinner feast to give thanks for the year and to take in auspicious food such as fish for abundance, Peking duck for togetherness and fidelity, mandarin oranges for continuous prosperity and noodles for long life. Lan Zhou La Mien and Masuki both serve excellent handmade noodle dishes.
In the morning, take a walk along Ongpin Street and power up Chinatownstyle: a cup of Chinatown’s best brewed coffee and the famous pugon-roasted pork asado at SaLido Restaurant.
FishNow, grab your cameras and enjoy visiting temples, and taking photos of various lion and dragon dances, Chinese lanterns and fire-breathing dancers.
By midday, treat yourself to lunch at Cafe Mezzanine, the violet-themed volunteer fireman’s coffee shop; Tasty Dumplings for the breaded pork chop experience; or Wai Ying Fastfood for delectable dim sum.
Cap your day with hopia and tikoy pasalubong shopping at Eng Bee Tin or Salazar Bakery as well as fresh lumpia prepared at New Po-Heng Lumpia House.
The experience of food-tripping in Binondo to celebrate the Year of the Sheep is definitely priceless. But if you can’t make it to Chinatown for New Year, then have some mandarin oranges or noodles on hand so you’ll have your share of good fortune!
Kiong Hee Huat Tsai!
(Story/Photos by: Gerbs De Castro)