18 October 2011

Long Hai Restaurant

Dragon Sea Snacks. At least that's what I think the Chinese characters on their menu say. A few weeks back, Gus and I went on a Chinatown adventure. We were supposed to go bargain hunting in Divisoria when I realized the prices were a bit higher, or just equivalent, to that of the products one can find in Greenhills. So instead of shopping, we decided to just enjoy food-tripping in the nearby Chinatown, Binondo.

We literally scoured through the whole of Binondo, trying to look for a new place to eat. A place we wouldn't find elsewhere in the metro, or at least, within the limits of where we both lived. We saw familiar restaurants like Hap Chan, Mang Inasal, Starbucks, MXT, Ling Nam, and some more. I told Gus I wanted to try something new. Something new, but traditional. A place we haven' been to, which serves authentic Chinese dishes. We were getting pretty hopeless since we've been walking (yes, WALKING) for nearly two hours, and nothing seems to fit our lunch qualifications. We did pass by a Chinese fast food, but we were hoping to find something more "uncommercialized." I really wanted to experience China in Manila. 

After nearly two hours of walking around, we were almost decided to head back to that Chinese fast food we first went to, when we came across this little "hole-in-the-wall" type of restaurant. It didn't even look like a restaurant because there were no big, colorful signage anywhere, no attendants outside the door, no smell of food coming out of the place. One would think of it as a shop, since the place was made of glass, and you could see tables inside when you come close enough to it. The only reason we noticed it was because of this one poster on the left side of the store that had pictures of dishes and prices. That's what made us come closer, and notice this small flyer posted on the other side, which had a complete list of all the food items they were offering. A Chinese lady came out when she saw us checking out the menu, and started talking to us in Chinese! She and Gus talked for a while, and then Gus asked if we were good in this restaurant. After looking at their menu again, we decided to give it a try.

Before entering the restaurant, I already told Gus what I wanted, to avoid having the owner talk to me again. Not another nosebleed, please! Hahaha. I decided to get a bowl of Sate Beef Noodles, choosing this over the more common Garlic Chicken Noodles, and kikiam. Gus ordered their Beef Rice dish, and since I felt like eating rice too, I ordered a cup of kiampong.

Gu Ba Mi (Sate Beef Noodles)

For P90, this bowl is made of win. It's inexpensive considering underneath all that beef, vegetable, and tofu, is a big serving of noodles! I was actually surprised to find all that noodle underneath the soup. I should've started eating the noodles while sipping the soup because halfway through the soup, the bowl was still filled with so much noodles. They also used real beef, tender beef, for this one. I was expecting just a few cutlets of beef, maybe three to four cubes, but this one had several slices of beef in it. Aside from the beef, it also had large tofu cubes, and squidballs that we mistook for beef tendon. As for the soup, it tasted very good. It was spicy, but not the type of spicy that makes you tear up, or makes you cough. All the right spices and ingredients put together forms this very filling and pocket-friendly noodle dish.

Gu Ba Peng (Beef Rice)

The beef dish Gus got was also delicious. The beef was tender, just like the beef in my noodle soup, and we were both convinced that this was real beef they're using. Real, good beef. It wasn't hard to chew, and it was very flavorful. It tasted like home cooked Chinese food, according to Gus, which for me, is the best part of this dish. We were looking for something authentic, we found it.


Compared to the other version of Kiampong I've tasted before, this was better. It wasn't too oily, and it suited my tastebuds better. The flavor wasn't too strong and, can you believe this cup only cost us P25?

Finally, the kikiam. Eversince I tried the Chinese kikiam, as Gus calls it, from the Taiwanese shop along Ortigas, I've been craving for it. I've stopped eating the regular kikiam they sell on sticks because it always reminds me of the different, flavorful, and stuffed Chinese kikiam I've already tasted.


We suck at taking photos because we are too excited for the food, so I apologize for the ugly-looking photos. We are working on it. :) I was too stuffed to finish the kikiam, but I was still able to sneak in two slices in my tummy. I was very satisfied with their kikiam, though it was a bit overcooked. It was filled with all the good stuff, with not much fat in the filling, plus the skin was extra crisp. And again, all this for just P30. 

The food in this place was really great. Plus, it only took around 5-10 minutes for us to get all the food we ordered. But don't be alarmed, even if the service was that fast, all our food was served hot, and fresh. The owner was very accommodating, and her staff was very alert and efficient. The restaurant looked very simple, and was very clean. I really felt like I had experienced my authentic Chinatown lunch.

Price Range: P50-110/person

5 out of 5 for Long Hai Restaurant

Long Hai Restaurant 龙海小吃
553 T. Pinpin St.
Binondo, Manila
Phone Number: (63 2) 708 2608

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