In partnership with Globe Business, CHiNOY TV launched a three-part food series showcasing various Chinoy food hotspots all over the country. Valerie Tan took us to an exciting world of Filipino-Chinese cuisine, from popular restaurants to hidden gems.
Binondo is best known as the city’s Chinatown and a hub for foodies and Chinoys looking to reinvigorate their Chinese roots. Joined by Carl Chuidian of The Chui Show, Valerie explored the best restaurants in Binondo.
Their first stop was Masuki. Willen Ma, the owner of Masuki, welcomed our two hosts into her restaurant and offered them their best-selling noodle dish consisting of beef, wanton, chicken, and asado. The dish was complemented by “The Magic Sauce” which could go on the noodles, siopao, siomai, and other dishes.
Masuki was established in 1991. Previously, the restaurant was called Ma Kong under her parents’ management and ownership. When Willen and her sibling took over, it was finally named Masuki which is a combination of their family name and “suki” which translates to customer. As with any intergenerational family business, Masuki began humbly when Willen’s father and great uncle first came to the Philippines to peddle mami in Binondo. Slowly, they grew and established a restaurant in the 1950s.
Today, Willen’s children also play a part in the family restaurant by providing digital solutions to improve operations, yet she noted that the menu and taste stayed the same over the years.
The next stop was Eng Bee Tin which is best known for its traditional Chinese delicacies like hopia and tikoy. It takes pride in its innovation in terms of its wide assortment of flavors and offerings. Their tikoy alone has 17 different variations!
Royce Gerik Chua is the fourth-generation owner of Eng Bee Tin. Valerie mentioned that with each new generation come greater risks of failure, but Eng Bee Tin has stood the test of time thanks to their innovative spirit. One of their unique offerings is the Lumpiang Tikoy which is tikoy mixed with Chinese chorizo wrapped in pastry skin.
What has helped Eng Bee Tin stay afloat this generation was the sales information gained from having a POS followed by greater reach made possible through online platforms. Gerik’s advice to other business owners? Keep innovating all while staying consistent in quality.
Their third stop was Sincerity Cafe and Restaurant which is beloved for its juicy fried chicken. Its third-generation owner Paul Marvin Uy offered Valerie and Chui a spread of their dishes, starting off with the famous Sincerity fried chicken. It was described by our hosts as juicy, crunchy, full of flavors, and slightly sweet.
The restaurant was established in 1956 by Paul’s grandparents who launched various failed businesses before Sincerity’s overwhelming success. The restaurant was initially manned only by their family members. Paul, like most Chinoy children, was immersed in the business at a young age, manning the cash register and preparing the marinades in his high school years. He introduced improvements to their current processes such as recipe standardization and payment methods. His grandparents’ advice to the current management of Sincerity? It’s okay to offer cheap food, as long as there is volume. It’s important to consider whether the cost of the meals is sustainable if one would eat there every day.
Their last stop was a bakeshop called twenty four bakeshop, owned by AJ Francisco who is an online seller turned physical store owner at only 24 years old. While her family’s business dealt with automobiles, she ventured out to the food and beverage industry because it was her hobby. As a student, she would sell her sweets to friends and classmates who urged her to turn her hobby into a business.
AJ first worked in the corporate world for three years before starting up her business. During those years, she joined bazaars just to be able to continue baking and selling.
Her advice to young entrepreneurs with big dreams was to not be afraid to seek help from family, friends, and even colleagues, and they will help you. It’s also important to keep going and persevere.
Valerie and Chui’s food trip in Manila comes to an end after having a delicious treat at twenty four bakeshop, Sincerity Cafe and Restaurant, Eng Bee Tin, and Masuki. Missed the premiere? Watch it here!