Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shanghai Siopao: A Binondo Delight

Decades and relocation transfers later, Binondo remains as one of those places I consider HOME. My mind is filled with vivid memories of my mother dragging us on weekly trips to Chinatown to shop for the freshest greens and of course, other strange food delights such as black chicken, which caused so much confusion and argument even as a child since the only chicken in view were stout white ones with bright red rubbery wattles and combs. Years later, I discovered that it was the chicken's meat and skin that was black through an unfortunate witness of an actual fowl slaughter (or butchering, whichever you choose to feel less guilt).

I love walking the streets of Ongpin, Salazar, Soler, and Alonzo. There still is nothing like it in the world. One of my favorite snack foods in the vicinity of Binondo is the Shanghai Siopao featured in the photo above. These are steamed buns cooked in a unique "contraption" that steams the buns as the bottoms are fried brown simultaneously. This method of cooking allows all the juices of the meat to be retained. Each bite from this bun brings sheer gastronomic pleasure! It is a much bigger version of the famous xiao long bao in China and Hong Kong but much better since it gives you more bang for the buck. It is a juicy steamed bun filled with ground pork, fat (yes, that HAS to be there), scallions, water chestnuts (as filler/extender), soy sauce, and sesame oil. Someday, I will attempt to make my own version of this yummy treat. For now, I'm happy to purchase these Shanghai buns for only 18 pesos a piece from Binondo.


  1. Mouthwatering! Should go have some on my next trip to Manila. Where is it in Binondo?

  2. There are roughly 4 shops I know of selling these buns. Two of them can be found along Ongpin Street. :D

  3. i'm craving for siopao right now.. as in..gutom ako!!!