The Binondo district turns into an exhilarating cultural destination on Chinese New Year’s Day, even for locals. It was likely the best day to visit for a full Chinatown effect. The crowd was thick and the lines were long at popular spots . It took us more than two hours at Dong Bei just to sample their dimsum. It was very good, yes.
Binondo, established in 1594, is the oldest Chinatown in the world. Unlike actual cities in Asia that celebrate the lunar new year by visiting loved ones in the countryside, people flock towards Binondo for the festivities and business likely booms better than any other day of the year. Strolling down the bustling Ongpin was a sensory overload; the name of the street alone evokes scenes from Rizal’s Noli me Tangere. The Filipino saint, Lorenzo Ruiz, was a Binondo local.
The district is a super foodie destination which sparked many a Instagrammable food crawls. Located towards the end of Yuchengco street, get a filling of Dong Bei‘s freshly prepared pork and kuchay dumplings and xiao long bao. The most delicious lumpia at New Po-Heng, on Quintin Paredes, works very well as either an appetizer or dessert (because of the sweet sauce).