One morning a couple of weeks ago, I found myself in Binondo on an errand (food related of course, what else would I travel through heat and traffic for?) at the unholy hour of eight o clock in the morning. First thought upon arriving ... where would I have breakfast?
I shunned the usual fast food joints, already busy with lines of office workers and headed towards Ongpin. I wanted to find somewhere new -- where I had not eaten before and that is perhaps why
my feet, guided by the food gods, led me to Awi's along Nueva Street.
I was not surprised to see that the place was nearly full (I got the last empty table). Since it's open
so early, I guess Awi's must have a pretty regular breakfast crowd. Everyone seemed to know everyone else.
The breakfast menu was so ordinary and uninspired that I had a brief urge to bolt out. Thankfully,
the friendly waitress said that I could order anything from the menu ("huwag lang siopao ma'm, wala pa kasi").
I was not in the mood for a lauriat for breakfast but the noodles section of Awi's had quite a long list of very appetising looking pancit dishes. And this is just the page for the stir fried pancit, there is another whole page devoted to noodle soups.
I could not make up my mind -- would I have bihon or canton? Chami, sotanghon or chatanghon? How about Singaporean noodles? Birthday chamisua? But it wasn't my birthday yet!
I could have sat there the whole morning procrastinating with my coffee but my waitress gently and firmly told me "Mariano's chami, special namin yan! Kasi first timer ka, kaya tikman mo ang aming special". What would I have done without her?
My Mariano Chami finally arrived (who is Mariano and why is the chami named after him? I forgot to ask) Fragrant with the essences of the wok it was just cooked in, this chami embodied everything that is so delicious about Binondo and Chinatown. Every spoonful and (slightly) greasy but tasty bite brought me back to all the platters of pancit I had enjoyed before -- growing up and wandering around Chinatown with my father. This was like my history of pancit in a plate.
Dear reader, let me disabuse you of my special powers -- I could not finish the entire order.
It was good for two or even three people. But I did justice to exactly half and took the rest home
(to be enjoyed for merienda later).
The nice ladies sitting at the table next to me said that next time, I should go on a Monday as
Awi's serves a very special lumpia only on that day. I will definitely remember that!
After doing my errands, I walked around Chinatown for a while and saw this sign. Does it really say "Gluttonous Peking Duck"? That's what I call targeted marketing! I shall definitely be headed back to Binondo soon.