How do you say “Bon Appetit” in Chinese? Two weekends ago, some of my Plurk friends and I went on a Binondo Food Trip. It was a much-anticipated weekend. Aside from the feast that awaited us, the popular Ivan Man Dy was our streetwalker a.k.a. tour guide.
Our afternoon was called The Big Binondo Food Wok. Aptly named indeed as we ate, we walked, we ate, we walked. Our tour group met at the Binondo Church lobby, then Ivan led us around Chinatown. We sampled dishes in popular restaurants, some hole-in-the-wall places that served AWESOME food. Throughout the tour, he gave us insights on local history while we nibbled on our Chinese treats.
I obviously am not giving many details away. It would be best for you to experience the food trip yourself.
1. Ivan Man Dy is a great tour guide. He’s very personable and insightful. He encourages you to learn about the history of the place without sounding preachy or boring. He knows his stuff! His history teacher must be proud. He’s quite the entertainer, too. He was wearing a traditional Chinese top and head gear, which immediately gave off a playful vibe.
2. Our three and a half hours of eating and walking was well-paced. There was always enough time to enjoy nibbling on the best of Chinatown, and enough time to burn off the calories. We were never in a hurry to be somewhere. Tour groups usually make me feel like I’m in the military, but this one was leisurely even if there was an afternoon agenda.
3. The weather was balmy. An afternoon of walking in the sun is no joke, so we were all very pleased when the clouds tempered the sun’s brightness, and the breeze made our walks more pleasurable.
4. The company was fun, fun, fun! I was with a couple of bloggers, most of whom I’ve already met and interact with regularly. In the picture are: Ivan, Ruy and Liv (seated), Spanky, myself, Ajay and Jovan. We all love food (and taking pictures of our food!) so we all got along mighty fine. Aside from the bloggers, there were six more in the tour group, two of whom I recognized as my college batchmates! Small world, ‘no?
5. There was time for shopping. I had to buy some of my Dad’s favorite Asado Rolls from Eng Bee Tin and Hopiang Ube.
If you’re interested in joining a Binondo Food Wok, check out details here. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, especially with good friends. Check out the site for rates and schedules. Ivan Man Dy also has a blog: Street Walker Tales. He recently gave celebrity chefs Anthony Bourdain and Bobby Shin a taste of Binondo as well. Oh big time!