Monday, May 5, 2014

My Awesome Food and Culture: Secrets of Lucky Chinatown Tour

Foodies unite! Get ready to explore some fascinating Chinese traditions along with exciting food treats at the Awesome Food and Culture Secrets of Lucky Chinatown Tour at Lucky Chinatown, a heritage project of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls in Binondo. 

The food and culture tour is a brainchild of the puissant duo of Our Awesome Planet's Anton Diaz and Mercato Central's RJ Ledesma. 
Mercato Centrale's RJ Ledesma welcomes guests.

The food tour started with a brief introduction and welcome remarks by RJ Ledesma which was immediately followed by tea-tasting activity. We were introduced to Botanical Herbal Halls at the Annex A of Lucky Chinatown Mall. Here we had a taste of Momordica Grosvenori Five Flowers Tea called Lo 5, Snowpear Chrysanthemum Tea, Maybloom Tea and Plum Tea--all four tea drinks are believed to have health benefits that help relieve different illnesses and could also be used for personal detoxification. 

Four of Botanical Herbal Halls bestselling organic drinks

Then, for a glimpse of the Chinese culture, we were ushered to Miao De Temple where participants learned more about Buddhist religion and its practices. Some were even taught how to properly light incense sticks as a sign of respect in the Buddhist tradition while others were lucky to be given books about Buddhism. 

At the Lucky Chinatown Walk, we were surprised to see lots of food kiosks as its part of Mercato Centrale Group's initial offering before their Wei Mei Lu (The Street of Good Food) officially kicks off on May 24, 2014. We checked out the Fu Dao Dumpling stall--where freshly made dumplings are done right before your eyes. They also serve a fantastic Sate Seafood Noodles with Shrimp in Sate Soup base. When you come to Lucky Chinatown Mall, don't fail to slurp on their delicious dumplings and noodle dishes, it's definitely worth all the trip! It's like being in mainland China without the need for a passport and visa. 

Lumpia rolls properly lined up
Maki Mi on a bowl

While you're at the Lucky Chinatown Walk, another must-try that you shouldn't dare miss if you're on a foodie adventure is Cha Cha Food House's Pumpkin Cake. It tastes soooo good that we bought our cakes right away that when Mr. RJ Ledesma saw us he had to warn us to reserve more space on our stomach as there are more food stops to visit thereafter. The said Pumpkin Cake actually looks like a small patty--flat and all, but don't let its looks deceive you. It tastes like the Chinese tikoy although somewhat yellowish or orange in color because it's made from real pumpkin. This is perfect for finicky kids who don't like eating veggies. The sweet and sticky texture of this pumpkin cakes will certainly make them forget they are eating something with pumpkins. And for only Php10 per Pumpkin Cake? It's indeed an affordable treat! 

The surprisingly delicious pumpkin cakes.

Freshly made dimsums are made right in front of you!

This cute little girl could not resist the yummy treats either.

My first bite of Mr. Fast Foo's Cua Pao brought me straight to foodie heaven. Made of braised pork belly, Kiam chay, sugared peanuts and cilantro (wansoy)--in soft fluffy white bun, Mr. Fast Foo's Cua Pao reminded me of Vietnamese Bahn Me--a delicate bun with filling soaked in a sweet special sauce. Oh my, I could go on forever on how awesome their Cua Pao had been! Don't get me wrong, it isn't my first time to try on a cua pao. But this one made by Mr. Fast Foo is so far the BEST I could consider. As proof, right after the Awesome Food and Culture Secrets of Lucky Chinatown Tour, we went back to Mr. Fast Foo in the hope to bring home some more cua pao, unfortunately, it's all sold out. By the way, Mr. Fast Foo also serves Maki Mi (pork tenderloin in noodles in a sticky sauce) and a vegetarian version of Chinese fresh lumpia (fresh spring rolls with veggies and tofu, topped with crispy seaweed, sugared peanuts, fresh cilantro (wansoy) leaves and garlic). The lumpia is made upon order and for only Php70 per order, it is good for sharing and is definitely filling. 

Special roasted chicken marinated for long hours.

Phoenix Dragon owner talks about Chinese Animal Signs

We also got to learn a few things about Chinese traditional wedding preparations at the Reflexion Photography Studio. I never realized the Chinese was that 'detailed' until I heard it from the resource speaker. At the Phoenix Dragon, we were given a bit of forecasts on this years' most auspicious animal signs. Those who had stones and precious gems with them were lucky to have them cleanse via the cleansing bowl. 

Reflexion Photo Studio spokesperson talks about the value of Chinese Wedding Tradition.
The young owner of Rainbow Snow

And because it's summer and Manila's in such a debilitating heat, Rainbow Snow (located at the 4th floor of Lucky Chinatown Mall, food court section) served as the perfect place to go to. With refreshing brewed tea drinks and flavored ice such as Azuki beans, Mango Snow, Chocolate Snow and Mixed Berry Snow--you'll never go wrong with whatever you choose because they all taste good. I loved the Mixed Berry because it tasted like my favorite yoghurt (sans the sourness, of course). It's pretty amazing that the owner is a young Chinese entrepreneur who brought in Taiwan's favorite icy treat on the Philippine shore. If you guys loved the street food iced scramble, I can assure you that Rainbow Snow is a better version of such street food favorite.

Mango Snow
Mixed Berries Snow

We also enjoyed our visit to the Wellness Sanctuary located at the 3rd floor of Lucky Chinatown, participants had a choice of availing one of the following services: acupuncture detox, fish spa session with garuffa fish (also known as 'Dr. Fish') or a tui na (massage) session--all for 15 minute duration each. I chose the latter because of two reasons: first, I fear needles and acupuncture isn't my cup of tea, thank you. Since I've tried fish spa before and my feet are aching from all the walking I've just had, a massage would be my perfect choice. True enough, I went out of Wellness Sanctuary feeling refreshed and happy.

Tao Yuan Restaurant's best seller: Hainanese Chicken

Deep Fried Fish in Sweet and Sour Mango Sauce
Birthday Noodles

Our last stop for the Awesome Food and Culture: Secrets of Lucky Chinatown Tour was at the Tao Yuan Restaurant located at the 2nd floor of Lucky Chinatown Mall. Here we've had samplings of Singaporean and Hong Kong style dishes. We've had Hainanese Chicken with Chicken rice (rice cooked on Hainanese Chicken broth), Fried Lapu-lapu with mango sauce, Pancit Canton Birthday Noodles and Mango Sago for dessert. 

You too can experience this Awesome Food and Culture: Secrets of Lucky Chinatown Tour for only Php888.00! Tickets are available at the Luck Chinatown Mall Concierge. Hurry, this food tour will only run on a limited time. 

Special thanks to Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, Mercato Centrale Group, Mr. RJ Ledesma and Mr. Anton Diaz. 

Bloggers enjoyed the food tour that they vow to come back again next time! 


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