January 26, 2020

Revisiting Wai Ying Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown, Binondo

Not so many good news is coming out of China nowadays. Their continued practice of modern communism, the latest Corona virus epidemic, their issues with international relations, etc. But whether we like it or not, the influence of the Chinese people is evident almost in all corners of the world. You can also find them in most, if not all countries. One fine influence of the Chinese to all of us though, is their cuisine.

I don’t usually say it, but I really love Chinese food. This is maybe because Chinese cuisine is so integrated in Filipino food and former has a huge influence on the latter. A lot of household or home cooked dishes in most Filipino homes are somewhat influence by the Chinese cuisine, may it be super obvious – like the pancit and lumpia; and some subtle.

Last Sunday, I went to Manila with my little sister/brother. Our agenda was to buy graded eyeglasses in Quiapo. My specs are so worn out and broken and they’re already 4 years old that I badly needed to have them updated. Since we left mid-morning, by the time we got to Manila it was almost 10 am. Both of us didn’t have breakfast and started to feel a little famished.

Since Hidalgo and Estero Cegado Street is quite near Binondo, I suggested that we have an early lunch first before having my glasses made. At least in that manner, we are not gonna go back and forth. Of course, my sibling agreed, she/he loves to eat as much as I do, plus it’ll be a treat.

I’ve always loved this area of Manila. The Quiapo-Carriedo-Binondo-Divisoria area. Some people hate going there or even being near that place, but for me I like it. I may not always visit but when I’m around that place I take advantage of being there even if only for a few hours.

If you don’t know it, the Chinatown in Binondo, Manila is the oldest Chinatown in the world outside of China (duh of course). It was formally established in 1594 but was already a hub of Chinese commerce even before the Spanish colonial period. Where business is, you would also find food. And Binondo is abundant with restaurants serving Filipino-Chinese food.

One of the established Filipino-Chinese restaurants in Binondo Chinatown is Wai Ying in Benavidez Street. I am not sure if this is their flagship store but even back in college (late 2000s) that I’ve visited that place, they already occupied that space. I think I’ve tried a couple of other restaurants in the area, but I always go back to Wai Ying. I think it has been 2 years since I visited that one in Binondo though.

My sib and I order a couple of items off their menu, though I have to help out my sib to pick a dish because it’s her first time there:

Pork Asado Rice – this is my favorite Chinese dish at Wai Ying next to sweet and sour. I forgot that they have a combo of this with either white chicken or soy chicken. But it’s ok, the serving is a lot that it even took me sometime to finish everything. As for the taste, it’s not like how I remembered it though. I felt like taste of the sauce isn’t that flavorful as it used to be. But the pork asado meat is still good with that little hints of Chinese spices and star anise. Also, the pork asado meat was not hot or warm anymore when it was served to us. I still like it though and will still order that when I visit again.

Pata Rice – my sis had a good job ordering this one. I love that they didn’t scrimped on the serving. The pork knuckle had a good ration of fat and meat and they were very tender and easy to eat. The sauce was also super flavorful (man just look at that color, right?) and it was served still warm, unlike mine.

Hot Service Tea – nothing special about this glass of freshly brewed tea other than it’s free and that it warms the tummy, before during and after eating.

HK Milk Tea – I love the bold flavor of the tea that they use for their milk tea. There’s no additional sweetener added in there except for the condensed milk. I really like this one and I can say that it’s legit!

Radish Cake – I was introduced to this side dish by one of my doctor friends, the one time I visited with him and some other nurse friends. And since then, whenever I visit Wai Ying, I order this. I can’t really describe how it taste but it’s just like grated radish made into a cake and you dip it in some hoisin sauce. I forgot to order the hot salad though, which I usually get together with this. But there’s always a next time.

Chicken Feet – this is my sib’s request since my family is big on chicken feet. But my mom cooks it too sweet and with a lot of star anise, that I don’t really like that much. This one just had subtle hints of star anise and with black beans. It’s good but I only ate one because my sis really loved this.

Hakaw Dim sum – I’m a sucker for hakaw and I always eat them whenever I get the chance or if it’s available. Wai Ying serves one of the best hakaws. The shrimp inside is plump and the translucent wrapping is so soft it’s like biting on a piece of cloud hehe.

The place hasn’t changed much, well they might have repainted the place, but the furniture and layout are all the same. I also noticed that their prices have increased a bit too, well, probably because they’ve gotten really famous over the years especially in the advent of social media. Yet, they still retain their affordability and that authentic Binondo hole-in-the-wall atmosphere. I always love revisiting this place. My sib and I planned to go to another dumpling place, but we were already full and we need to go get my eyeglasses too. But we will definitely go back to Chinatown one of these days.

810 Benavidez Street,
Binondo, Manila
Contact Nos: 02 82436665
02 82420310

For more information, complete menu and restaurant reviews, check out their Zomato profile: 
Wai Ying Fastfood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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