Binondo among world’s best Chinatowns


Posted at Sep 18 2012 12:53 PM | Updated as of Sep 18 2012 09:03 PM

Binondo, established in the 1590s, is said to be the oldest Chinatown in the world. Photo by Karen Flores,

MANILA, Philippines – Binondo is not only the oldest Chinatown in the world, it is also one of the best around the globe, at least according to a travel website.

CNNGo, the travel website of the Cable News Network, included Binondo in its “World’s Best Chinatowns” list, which also included Chinese-themed areas in Cuba, India, Thailand, South Africa and Australia, among others.

Established in the 1590s, Binondo is known for its delectable street food, specialty shops and a church that is believed to be miraculous.

CNNGo said a must-try here is the country’s very own Soup No. 5, which is made from a bull’s testes or penis and is said to have aphrodisiac properties; and ube hopia, a Chinese puff pastry filled with purple yam.

Roasted goose with rice is also a must-try dish in Binondo. Photo by Karen Flores,

“The best place to start a tour is on Carvajal Street, otherwise known as Umbrella Alley (so-called for the multitude of umbrellas that protect the small street stalls), which offers some of the best street food in the city,” the website said.

Binondo was famously included in the itinerary of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain for his Philippine episode of "No Reservations." Ivan Man Dy, who runs an eating and walking tour of Binondo, accompanied Bourdain for the Binondo part of that episode.

It has also long been used as a shooting location for several shows, including ABS-CBN’s defunct primetime soap “My Binondo Girl” starring Filipino-Chinese actress Kim Chiu.