Szechuan Frog Legs. Well, I didn't know they can make this and more other exotic food choices at Estero Binondo after I've gone with my niece, my granddaughter, my son and my niece's hubby yesterday.
It took a few blocks along Ongpin St. in Binondo, Manila to locate the Estero Fastfood area. From the hustle and bustle of Chinese business stores in the area, we finally found the haven of Chinese food delight next to the Ongpin North Bridge. It was amazing to notice the original place where Hapchan, Salazar Bakery, David's Tea House and other famous restaurants now located in malls everywhere. The streets smelled of Chinese herbs and incense. It made me feel Hongkong reminiscing those hawker's style street food and lanterns in every corner.
It looked like an ordinary carinderia from outside with tables and mono-block chairs piled in each stall. The place is really simple but the food they offered proved one extraordinary culinary adventure.
Then we saw the frogs, bamboo shells, sea cucumber and other seafoods rarely offered in many restos. We've decided to stay in the air-conditioned area of LGA Fastfood since all seats were already taken outside. The menu was simple and all orders were on small, medium and large size orders ranging from P90-P170 for large orders. The waitress recommended we take small sizes of each of our choices and we all agreed.
First served was the Hot and Sour Soup we ordered on a small size at P90. It was thick and hefty filled with tofu chunks and mushrooms. We were four with little Ayee but the serving can really be suitable for more than six. It was really cheap and really delicious.
Their Squid Calamares at P95/small was served with sweet and sour sauce. It was surprisingly delicious with no extenders and my granddaughter loved it.
Their Garlic Kangkong at P70/small was stir-fried with oyster sauce. It was crunchy and really flavorful. My son, Cho-u never liked kangkong but he had lots of it after having a first bite.
Fish Fillet with Tausi P95/small tasted like pork was stir-fried with onion leeks, carrots, onions, celery and black beans. It deceived my 3-year-old grand daughter saying it's pork. I could make my son eat fish and vegetables everyday I thought if only I had the skills of the cook in this fastfood.
I've had rockefeller oysters and other dishes served with oysters so I've thought of ordering the Pinoy style preparation of it with Kilawin Talaba at P90/small which my niece, her hubby and I loved. It was sweet, sour and spicy and perfect as appetizer.
Bihon/Canton Guisado P90/small reminded me of my neighbor's pansit with wansoy and mixed meat and vegetable. I've had so many pansit in many restaurants and parties and LGA Fastfood's Bihon/Canton Guisado was the only pansit with less noodles and more meat. It has all the vegetables and types of seafood and meat; beef, chicken and pork with liver and kidneys. It was really delicious and the serving can suit at least 2-3 with their small size.
Szechuan Frog Legs (P110/small) for me was the piece de resistance. Sweet, salty and tangy with celery and bell peppers complimented the crunchy deep-fried frog legs. Yes, it tasted like chicken like what everybody else said but it will totally make you forget they're frogs until you bite into the middle of the legs. Szechuan, according to Bobby Chinn of TLC, is simply liberal use of garlic and chili peppers with the unique flavors of Szechuan peppercorn. Sometimes they also add peanuts, sesame paste and ginger to make it more pungent and bold. It originated from the Szechuan province in China.
After having that wonderful feast, they served free hot tea like real authentic Chinese restaurants and it was a perfect ending to the indulgence.
I thought what we've eaten will be over a thousand pesos considering how hefty their servings were in small sizes but we only paid P735 for everything. It was really cheap and delicious and I plan to go back to try their bamboo shell dishes and other exotic food like Sea Cucumber with Pork Tendon.
It was a great weekend culinary adventure with the family.
Where to find Estero Fastfood? Locate Binondo Church in Manila and look for the Chinatown landmark that'll lead you to Ongpin. Walk along the street of Ongpin until you see the Ongpin North Bridge and you're there!