It’s probably going to take a while before we can enjoy food tours like we used to. Good thing Old Manila Walks founder Ivan Man Dy has devised an alternative way for foodies and history enthusiasts to experience their popular Binondo Food Wok tour in virtual form.
“While nothing beats the original, classic, on-site ‘WOK-ing’ food tour, this is the next best thing for now,” says Ivan who has been leading the culinary tour in Manila’s Chinatown for about 15 years until the pandemic struck.
In the cultural-culinary tour via Zoom, Ivan will talk about some of the most fascinating details about Binondo’s 400-year-old heritage community. The virtual event covers the typical areas Ivan used to visit with his guests like the Binondo Church (Basilica de San Lorenzo Ruiz), Ongpin Street, local specialty restaurants and shops, and the Carvajal Alley Market.
And of course, there’s food involved. “Food is tied up with history, so that at the end of the tour, busog ang utak at busog din ang tiyan,” promises Ivan.
Seventeen participants from NCR Plus—Manila to Malolos—got to experience the initial salvo of the online Binondo ‘wok-ing’ tour recently. They got to taste nostalgic treats Tsinoys grew up with, from lumpia to kikiam, to stir-fried noodles, all delivered to their homes a few hours before the Zoom meet. The participants were also treated to a bit of history about the restaurants and the food included in their package.
Unlike the usual live tour that lasts for 2 ½ hours, the virtual tour is compressed to 1 1/5 hours. “It’s busog in terms of ‘chikahan and chibugan,’” says Ivan who says organizing a virtual event is actually more demanding than putting together an actual tour. But he adds it’s “quite fulfilling in the end especially after more than a year of absence.”
The virtual food tour fee is Php1950/head + delivery. For inquiries, message Old Manila Walks on their Facebook page.