Exotic! That’s the first thing that comes to mind whenever I hear the word Binondo. Yes, not Chinese nor hopia… EXOTIC. I find it funny that it was just this year when I first visited this place, and now, I just can’t get over it. Soup #5, Turtle Soup, Frogs, Eels… these things charm me in a very odd manner.
November 26, 2011. Fear Factor: Exotic Food Trip Edition.
I invited several friends from Couchsurfing to a different kind Binondo Food Trip. Unfortunately, I was not aware that the word “exotic” could turn them off like The Grinch seducing the mommy who kissed Santa Claus. Alas, I was able to gather 7 people with the help of a fellow CSer.
Our first stop was Café Mezzanine known as the Volunteer Fireman’s Coffee Shop. There we ordered Soup #5 (PHP250) and Special Kiampong (PHP50 per serving). I also ordered Coffee Float (PHP90).
Odd. It tasted like nilagang baka. The broth reminded me of my ultimate favorite Filipino dish. The meat however was very soft and effortless to chew. I was told though that they did not use balls but cartilage instead. :| So, does that mean I was not eating something exotic?
The Special Kiampong on the other hand was something I really enjoyed. I first tried it a week before when I got a free pass to the Big Binondo Food Wok of Ivan Man Dy.
The Kiampong, a Chinese fried rice, had bits of pork, chives, and nuts. It was a bowl of different textures yet they all went really well together. There was the moist rice, chewy bits of pork, and the crunch of chives and nuts. I also love how the sweetness of the nuts made the fried rice more interesting. But the oddest thing for me was that it went well with Soup #5. Usually, fried rice and soup do not go well together. But this one is an exemption.As for my drink, the coffee taste was definitely there and it was quite a refreshing beverage. I drank it though with an empty stomach (it was served before the food) and it made my tummy ache. But, it was still delightful and I want more!
I will definitely go back for more of that kiampong and perhaps a hopia food trip on the side.
Café Mezzanine is located at 650 Ongpin Cor. E.T. Yuchengco Sts., Binondo, Manila.