Saturday, April 30, 2011

Attack of the Dumplings! + Dong Bei Restaurant in Binondo

So much has been said and written about this small authentic Chinese restaurant in Binondo.

So by the time that we've had the chance (and the moolah) to roam around Binondo again for some food hunting, our guts suggested that we visit this spot for a meal.

Entering the restaurant, I was amazed at the, how to put this, crudeness and simplicity of the place. In fact, it was messy that time. The storekeepers were making Xiao Long Bao in a table near the entrance and dashes of flour are all over the place. No elaborate designs nor embellishments. No fancy lights. Just two tarpaulin posters bearing the name of the restaurant with pictures of what they serve, one at the entrance and one inside.

They even reuse cups like this one to hold the napkins.

I loved it in an instant. And I got excited.

Some kind of a place, huh? I have always affirmed the idea that what some products lack in their packaging, promotions and add-ons, they make up through their quality.

Hmmm. We will see.

The Verdict

Fried Rice. The rice looked good and smelled good when it was served. In fact it's tasty. The only problem that I had with it are the hard bits of what seemed like burnt rice that were part of the dish. I'm not sure though if it was really like that in Northeastern China or Manchuria (Dong + Bei means East + North = Northeast in Chinese). Still, not a bad one. 

Dumplings. Though I didn't really went crazy over Dong Bei Restaurant's dumplings, I think that people loved their dumplings because it's relatively crispier than any other friend dumplings around. Or should I have tried their steamed dumplings instead? Nonetheless, I still recommend Lan Zhou La Mian's fried dumplings. You may click here to see my previous review of that restaurant.)

Xiao Long Bao. I'm having an ongoing self-assigned search for the best Xiao Long Bao in the Philippines. Everytime I go inside a Chinese restaurant, I search for XLB. So far, Suzhou Dimsum satisfied a lil' of my craving for it. But Dong Bei's XLB is not bad either. I think it's perfect who like the white wrappers thinner. Check out my post on how Dong Bei storekeepers created their uniquely shaped XLB here.

Overall, I liked my whole experience in Dong Bei. I am sure their other dishes are worth the try and definitely perfect to folks who love eating authentic Chinese on a foodtripper's budget.

Highly recommended for peeps who love to explore dishes from Northern China or Manchuria too!


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