Trip to the other Chinatown: Quezon City’s Banawe eats

Kathleen A. Llemit – Philstar.com

February 17, 2024 | 12:07pm

MANILA, Philippines — When one thinks of Chinatown, Binondo is most often at the top of mind. But there are other Chinatowns in the country, one even relatively nearer, especially for those who live in Quezon City. 

The long strip of Banawe Street in Quezon City is known as a car enthusiast’s haven. Many automobile aficionados have been visiting Banawe for their car needs and accessories. 

In recent times, however, the street has seen the rise of restaurants that offer mainly Cantonese food. 

In fact, it has its own Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch, located at the intersection of Quezon Avenue and Banawe Street. It’s a welcoming arch to Quezon City’s Chinatown, as donated by the Quezon City Association of Filipino-Chinese Businessmen Inc.

The Quezon City Government held its Quezon City Chinatown Heritage Tour last February 9 that led its participants to popular Chinese restaurants, temples and a toy museum. 

The day started with a light Chinese breakfast at the famed Mandarin Sky, which opened to the public in 2009. 

It arguably served the best siomai, which the group would discover will be a staple during the food crawl/tour. 

Other food served were beancurd roll (a personal pick) and chicken feet. 

The stops were two temples, Tzu Chi Temple and Sheng Lian Tempple, and a toy museum, which are going to be featured in another related story. 

After these, the group are on to three Chinese restaurants that served platefuls of filling dim sums. 

Causeway turned out to be a popular restaurant for families and large groups. Just like Mandarin Sky, it has lazy susan tables where platters of food are neatly arranged. 

Here, the tour participants were able to sample some of their dishes, which include chicken feet, breaded fried tofu that is crunchy on the outside but soft in the inside (again a personal pick), and of course, siomai. 

We were informed that we only get to spend a few minutes at Causeway before we head on to the neighboring Z Square Mall, where Cai Hok was located. 

A sizable lunch crowd greeted the tour participants at Cai Hok. Diners can get a glimpse of the cooks slicing peking ducks and pork asado. 

Apart from siomai, the group sampled pork asado that goes perfectly well with a steaming bun of siopao. 

The unfamiliar yet welcome treat came with the Ma Lai Go, which is a yellow steamed cake with custard filling. It was a welcome break from the mostly savory dishes served that day. 

For a final stop, the group headed back to David’s Tea House, a brand that is most likely the more known among the restaurants featured during the crawl. 

Tour participants, of course, were served with siomai and a set of either sweet and sour pork or fish with rice. 

Capping the day was the three-day Banawe Chinatown food fair where more Chinese sweet treats and food, from the savory dim sum and pancit to the sweet treats tikoy and tanghulu were sold. It was held from February 9 to 11 along Banawe Street crossing the Linaw Street. 

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RELATED: In photos: Chinese New Year treats at Quezon City Chinatown Banawe fair

 

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