09 Jul2012

It was 1030am on a Friday morning and we just walked a mile or more in sweltering tropical heat, finished our purchases at the Arranque market and were a bit peckish. Too late for breakfast and kind of early for lunch, we decided on this brunch, which actually was an early lunch… :) Me and two crew members headed to the corner of Salazar and Benavidez Street, where the “Happy Delicious Kitchen” is located. I am not sure if the place has recently changed ownership, but I think it has housed an eatery or perhaps even a classic panciteria for many, many decades. Today, the food on offer is described as “Taiwanese Chinese”…

At 1030am, a lot of the dishes had JUST been cooked and laid out for viewing. Hardly anyone else was dining in, but several takeout orders were already being filled. We picked out half a dozen dishes and settled down to the one table (the rest are raised counters with highstools) to wait for them to be served.

There must have been at least 40 different viands on offer, and heavy on the vegetables and seafood to boot. Not many meat dishes, and I found this pleasantly appealing.

Most customers apparently take a plate with a cup of rice, and 2-3 different viands, for PHP150-180 ($4-$5) to eat-in or take-out. We opted to get several dishes instead and intentionally ordered more than we could eat, so that we would have extras to take home with us for the rest of the crew…

There were four soup choices but I ended up ordering a favorite, hot and sour soup.

We got some broccoli, green beans, polonchai or chinese spinach, some sweet and sour fish, steamed shrimp, pork chops, and rice.

The soup was only so-so; a bit of a letdown actually. Hot (temperature wise) and a bit sour, but not spicy and it lacked depth of flavor. A watery tasting hot and sour soup doesn’t get high marks. A healthy sprinkling of wansoy or cilantro on top means you either love it more if you are a cilantro fan, or are truly turned off if you don’t like cilantro. Apparently, people’s reactions to cilantro are often at polar opposites on the like/dislike spectrum.

The steamed shrimp were SUPERBLY done. Perfect on their own or with a chili spiked dipping sauce. The sweet and sour fish fillet was as expected, the vegetable dishes delicious and the pork chops were very good as well. Overall, it was a great lunch considering the cost of the food and modest surroundings. A meal that would have easily fed five people came out to roughly PHP220 per person or $5 each. We left just as the the lunch crowd was building… I suspect the place is packed by 12 noon.



  1. PITS, MANILA says:

    haven’t tried this restaurant, and the food looks good! we’re usually brave enough to tackle estero-food. not altogether hygienic in my opinion, but the food is delicious and relatively cheap … no casualties naman after, hahaha!

    re the cilantro, we love it! i’m glad they’re available in more markets now. my mom hates it, she says they smell like bugs … remember the time when they were P800/kilo and could only be found in arranque?

    Jul 9, 2012 | 7:56 am


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  3. Papa Ethan says:

    “Happy Delicious Kitchen” = Budget Satisfy Customer! =)

    Jul 9, 2012 | 8:32 am

  4. Papa Ethan says:

    Off-topic lang, MM: I would like to ask you and your readers for referrals to the best sapin-sapin here in Metro Manila. Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

    Jul 9, 2012 | 9:24 am

  5. Ynna says:

    I absolutely despise cilantro! The smell completely turns me off. Did you know that this is actually connected to a genetic mutation of some sort? http://gizmodo.com/5911387/is-cilantro-hating-genetic

    Jul 9, 2012 | 10:15 am

  6. bitoy says:

    Its former name is HsinTong Yong, same owner just across (place where you took the 2nd picture) the resto selling chinese sausages, pork floss ( Ma-hu), dried pork meat ( Ma-pa), Loose pork floss ( Ma-sang) and Raddish/ Squash cake ( Tsai-taw ke / Kim-kwe- ke ). :)

    Jul 9, 2012 | 10:44 am

  7. phil says:

    there is a popular noodle place a few steps down benavidez called lan-chou la mein. hand-pulled beef noodles for only 120php. also try the kuchay dumplings. of course there is the classic ma-mun-luk noodle place further down the street. i think its now called mazuki or something.

    Jul 9, 2012 | 11:29 am

  8. florisa says:

    Papa Ethan, Dolor’s lang ang alam ko dito sa Manila na ok ang sapin sapin e. The original branch is in Malabon, pero available na sya sa ilang grocery like Landmark.

    Jul 9, 2012 | 1:56 pm

  9. Joseph says:

    Binondo used to be my “hood”. Born and raised in T Alonzo St next to Arranque Market. Havent been back since we left in early 80’s. Thanks for posting these series on Binondo/Arranque Market. It sure brings back memories.

    Jul 9, 2012 | 2:19 pm

  10. Marnie says:

    Right you are MM about the cilantro/wansoy. My husband and I used to hate the stuff and would rather have kinchay. Now, having eaten at asian restos that pile these stuff on, I must say we’ve grown to love it.

    Jul 9, 2012 | 2:48 pm

  11. Marketman says:

    Marnie, I am definitely with you… didn’t like it before, and now, totally love it. bitoy, thanks for that, I kind of thought it had a different name just a few years ago… Papa Ethan, Dolor’s is the only one I am familiar with, though I suspect there are others… There is vendor at Salcedo market that sells sapin-sapin, but I am not sure where they get it from, and while okay, it’s not a standout…

    Jul 9, 2012 | 2:53 pm

  12. manny says:

    MM, you said you ordered more than usual to take home to the crew. Does crew mean a zubuchon in manila?!?!?

    Jul 9, 2012 | 4:07 pm

  13. Marketman says:

    manny, sorry, no didn’t mean to mislead. I also refer to staff at home as “crew members”… :)

    Jul 9, 2012 | 4:41 pm

  14. Mimi says:

    Papa Ethan: We buy kakanin at Mommy’s on Congressional Avenue, but I think they have branches at SM malls. I believe Mommy’s sapin-sapin is from Dolor’s too.

    MM: those turo-turo stalls are a staple here. I am not happy on how they ‘tambak’ the meats and veggies on the plate though, quite a turn off. Good thing your orders were served on separate bowls. But when I do eat, I get the eggplant (like your sambal eggplant) and egg tofu circles in a slimy oyster sauce.

    Jul 9, 2012 | 4:54 pm

  15. EbbaBlue says:

    Alot of Chinese Groceries here in Houston now sells Turo-Turo style lunch dishes. Combo prices for 2-dishes/1 rice, or 3-dishes/1 rice. Then on the side, they have these hanging Lechon (chinese taste style, Peking duck, braised chicken.. etc) which are sold extra (per pound). And Kikiam, siopao, soups, etc. In one store, they have the dishes like you have in the picture. The owner is cantonese/taiwanese and most of the meals are veggies… I have bought from them many times, medio naka-ka-sawa na, pero bakit sa pictures mo parang na-gutom ako at parang iba ang dating.

    I really have to put Arranque on must on my itinerary sa next kong pag-uwi ng Pinas.

    Jul 9, 2012 | 8:47 pm

  16. rosedmd says:

    i will try that resto, i see that everytime i got binondo tripping……….never tried it. there’s a noodlestore next to wai ying(is my spelling, right?) i dont know the name of noodles reto, its in chinese. we were referred by a local when we were looking for best noodles. they have knife noodles!! i love their steamed dumplings too!

    Jul 9, 2012 | 10:50 pm

  17. marisse javier says:

    I used to abhor cilantro but having tried it on a version of Hainanese Chicken–I love it and my family has learned to like it as well. You learn to like it and it grows on you. For those who dont like it…try it. Its the kinchay that semlls like bug…..It is so difficult to find though.I usually find some in Shopwise Libis–but none at the markets.

    Visiting Binondo or any part of it is a tour in itself. Then you are all sweaty and hungry. You end up looking for a resto to eat–and find a lot of yummies as you walk by….woooo… makes me hungry.

    Jul 10, 2012 | 9:35 am

  18. peng says:

    *Is that d old delicious restaurant?haven’t been there for quite sometime so just askin if it is the same place we used to hang out

    Jul 10, 2012 | 6:01 pm

  19. Papa Ethan says:

    MM, florisa, Mimi: thanks for the tips on sapin-sapin. Sorry for this late reply.

    Jul 11, 2012 | 11:43 am

  20. Gerard Naidas says:

    Hi MM, do try wa ying just across Happy delicious kitchen. Its one of them hole in the wall kinda places. They serve authentic dimsum, though the interior doesnt look spotlessly clean, the food is really good. IMHO, better than President teahouse.

    Oh, and BTW, i love your packed Zubuchon at Mactan airport. Hope to visit your restaurant and eat freshly cooked Zubuchon soon.

    Very best,

    Jul 12, 2012 | 11:22 pm

  21. Char says:

    Hi Market Man! This turo-turs has the same owner as Shin Ton Yon along Salazar, which sell sausages, some viands, dried meat and meat floss among other stuff. They also have a novelty/dry goods/grocery shop almost beside Shin Ton Yon selling Taiwanese pineapple cake and mochi. I work nearby. Sayang I didn’t see you! Would’ve shown you around. :D

    Jul 19, 2012 | 11:56 pm

  22. TonyAllones says:

    In the 1950’s there is a restaurant along Carvajal St. named Carvajal Restaurant. They served authentic Chinese Cuisine and I liked their Pancit Canton with big chunks of bola bola and kikiam. They opened up a branch in Harrison Plaza but was razed by fire back in the 70’s or 80’s. I can’t seem to find them now. Any info?

    Nov 23, 2012 | 8:13 am


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