Binondo is popular for being the heart of Chinese culture in Manila. It is also believed that several restaurants serving exquisite Chinese delicacies gather here. My friends and I decided to try out those various dishes offered there one Saturday afternoon. The problem is that we do not know much about the different restaurants located in Binondo. Luckily, one of our friends had just recently dined in a place named Wan Chai Tea House. She highly recommended trying out the different food included in their menu and most of all, their famous seafood dumpling.
Only a quick tricycle ride away from Recto station, Wan Chai is inconspicuously located in a quiet street of Binondo away from all the noise and pollution from the main streets. Upon entering this restaurant, you will be greeted with the rich scents of the steamed meat and dumplings being cooked inside. Contrary to its name, Wan Chai Tea House does not only serve teas but also a variety of food and drinks which included pork, chicken, dimsums, vegetables, herbal soups, noodles, beverages and desserts.
We decided to have a balanced meal and ordered pork loin, seafood with XO sauce, chicken lemon, vegetables and finally the seafood dumpling. You may try their free freshly brewed tea which has a subtle bitterness yet does not overpower the tastes of the food you eat. Our order came in less than 20 minutes which is delightful since we were already craving while watching a presentation of their mouth watering dishes at a screen installed on a wall.
During the meal, everyone participated in light conversations while savoring the luscious flavor of each dishes. The pork loin is tender and covered in a creamy sauce which leaves a fine taste even when other dishes are tasted. The seafood with XO sauce compliments the creaminess of pork loin by having a smooth combination of soy, salt and spice like flavors. The lemon chicken can be defined as a unique blend of slight sweetness and sour lemon. Finally, the vegetable contributed to balance out these different flavors by giving a bland yet saucy texture to the dish.
You could not deny the fact that these four dishes made a group of seven full beyond satisfaction. Finally, for the dimsum, it was served freshly steamed. A bite on it really refreshes your appetite since even when I am already full; I would still like to eat the whole dimsum in one go. The soft and white outer membrane increased the tenderness and flavor of the seafood within. Proper steaming might have increased the quality of this dimsum which is beyond compare.
The only drawback of this restaurant is that it resides deep within Binondo. The main road is also filled with traffic prolonging your travel time. But as in all adventures, treasures are well hidden. And with all the delicacies offered in Wan Chai, together with friends to enjoy the trip, I could say that this is one treasure worth finding.