The first time I went to Binondo I was with my then boyfriend. It was 2 in the morning, we just came from clubbing with our friends and we were both hungry. I was craving in particular for really good hargaw, prawn dumpling, and he had the bright idea to try the local Chinatown.
We immediately saw an open tea salon. It’s name was Wan Chai. A glimpse from the windows would show old men hunched with their newspapers and people our age in party clothes drinking what could only be jasmine tea. It looked like we hit the jackpot.
I immediately asked for the dimsum list and it made me swoon with the choices available. When the waitress noticed the sparkle in my eyes, she even proudly mentioned that their dimsum chef is an authentic chef from HK. I asked for the hargaw, shark’s fin, wrapped abalone, and pork siumai. I could tell that my boyfriend wanted to intervene when I was telling the waitress my third order. He was probably wondering where I’d put all that food.
Finally, the bamboo steamers were placed in front of me. These along with a pot of fragrant jasmine tea. I opened the hargaw and I was satisfied. The rice paper was nearly translucent and you can see the plump, pink prawns just waiting to be picked up by your chopsticks. I picked one, and time just stood still. It was different from all the prawn dumplings I had before. You could say that Plato’s Allegory of the Caves was running through my mind at that time. I was definitely in ecstasy.
The rest of the night is now a blur. All I remember is that even before I finished my orders, I was already thinking of ways on how I can go back.over 4 years ago