METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES. Christmas is so near! I can already feel it from all over; from the traffic, the number of people that flocks the mall, the Christmas songs, advertorials, decorations, Christmas lights, that cool breeze, they all make the nearness of the holiday season more evident. And with that comes along the Christmas shopping too.
I am not the one doing my Christmas shopping since my mom is always so happy to take on the task. She is a serial shopper and I am not and she gets some kind of therapy from doing it that is why I just let her do it. However, among many other things that happened to me this year, this, too, is totally different.
I went with my mom earlier today to Divisoria since we need to do some errand and because we finished earlier than expected, my mom decided to already do our Christmas shopping too! At first I was hesitant to pick things up because I want to buy things for my friends that even I would like to receive for myself and you know how quantity most of the time underplay quality in that shopping haven. But since my mom knows where to shop it had not been too long when I found myself picking things up also for my friends! There are a lot of good, affordable stuffs there that you can find if you know where to look! I am just so happy with the gifts I bought earlier for my friends that I vowed that I will accompany my mom already when she goes Christmas shopping from then on! I now understand the happiness she gets from shopping for other people.
It took us almost 2 hours to complete our list and I think it was already past 2 PM when we finished our shopping. I was already so hungry by then and I wanted to eat something so good that would take my mind off from the weariness I was feeling. Since I have been hearing a lot of good things about Dong Bei Dumplings, we still traversed and look for it even though we already bought some Toasted Siopao to take home and even though we were lugging with us two big plastic bags as big as Santa's sack! Circumstances could not easily stop us, you know!
We arrived in Dong Bei Dumplings in no time. It was actually so easy to find it as it stands along Yuchengco Street, the street that lines at the back of the compound of Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and the one you can find at the end of the streets of Tytana, Norberto and Ongpin. There's nothing special about the interiors of the place. What you would notice instead would be the huge wooden table that sits at the back of the large glass window that lets bystanders from the outside peek freely inside the establishment. That table is actually an extension of their kitchen. It is there that they make the dumpling wrappers and the dumplings themselves!
Only one table was occupied when we came in. There was a huge menu made in tarpaulin on the left and a paper one on the right. The menu is very much straightforward and all their dishes are there so ordering would not be so much of a problem. If you find anything unfamiliar, you can just call up the waitresses and they will gladly help you reach to a decision. When I could not be bothered, it is my default to just ask for their recommended dish and order away what they suggested. The waitress told me with conviction that it would be their Kuchay with Pork Dumplings (Php 120 for 13 pcs). Since I saw that they also offer some Xiao Long Bao (such a fan too of it!) and am actually on the lookout for the best Xiao Long Bao (Php 110 for 6 pcs) in town, I got one order of it also. Even though we are eating Chinese delicacies, a meal taken by us, Filipinos, would never be complete without ordering some rice, thus the decision of getting Fried Rice (Php 75) which is said to be good for one to two persons!
The Kuchay with Pork Dumplings is the star of the meal. I had never been a fan of Kuchay dumplings as I find them so bland, until now! Dong Bei's version was stellar. It is just the right mix of Kuchay and Pork that made this dish stand out from the rest. The amount of pork was just enough to complement the Kuchay.
The Fried Rice on the other hand was so tasty it is already a meal on its own! Based on experience, their serving was actually good for two to three persons!
Though the Xiao Long Bao did not surpass my current standards, it had still been a treat to eat! I also hope that they increase the portion of the meat than that of the soup. The taste and serving of the soup is already good as is though!
I think what made the dumplings of Dong Bei more amazing was the fact that it is freshly made and done before your eyes. It always helps to have your ingredients fresh to bring out the exceptional taste of your dish. I went out of the restaurant feeling happier and more energized than when I went in. It was an exceptionally good call when we decided to still go find the restaurant even though our energy level was already low. The meal was worth the extra effort; a great ender actually to an otherwise exhausting shopping spree!
DONG BEI DUMPLINGS
- Address: 642 Yuchengo St., Binondo, Manila