COCONUTS HOT SPOT — Growing up in a family that frequented Binondo has trained my palate to crave the taste of real Chinese food wherever I am.
Fastfood Chinese does not cut it for me. I look for the flavors of Estero in Ongpin and raise my eyebrows when the food served does not measure up.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking for upscale Chinese food. What I want is the hawker-type street food that is tasty and yummy and makes your mouth water at first sight.
I was doubtful that I would ever find a (Peking) duck rice meal to match the experience I had at one of Singapore’s hawker places many, many years ago.
Duck Rice Craving Satisfied
Imagine my surprise when we came upon this hole-in-the-wall in Legaspi Village, Makati. Spring by Ha Yuan is at the ground floor of the BSA Mansion building and looks like it could seat maybe 25 to 30 people at most. It was small, unpretentious, and smelled of street hawker classics.
I nearly cried when I saw a whole Peking duck hanging in the kitchen. Without thinking twice, I ordered duck rice and hubby got the Maki mi – a thick, gooey soup with plenty of noodles and mushrooms. I, on the other hand, was very very happy with my duck.
La-Lah Lumpia Bowl
That was not our first visit to Spring. That week alone, we must have gone there three times and we’ve been back often. My duck craving satisfied, we proceeded to try out the other items on the menu. The place is almost always packed with diners looking for filling yet very affordable meals.
One of Spring’s specialties are the lumpias. This is lumpiang sariwa with sweet soy-garlic sauce and crunchy peanuts. If you go to Binondo to get lumpia, you have a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about.
Spring serves different kinds (vegetarian, seafood, meat, and even light versions) of their lumpias. You can even get in a bowl instead of a wrap. Siomais and dumplings are also great to try. The price range is a very affordable PHP70 to PHP90 for the lumpia and dumplings. And did I say that the portions were generous too?
Spring’s Mushroom and Chive Dumplings
For the health conscious, the restaurant offers healthy options like an all veggie Monk’s bowl or platter. Their kua paos also come in whole wheat buns instead of the regular white variant. The service staff are very attentive and courteous too.
If you’re on a tight budget but want to survive working in Makati by eating healthy and nutritious food, you should pay Spring a visit. They’ll give you complimentary house tea and free soup if you ask nicely. They start serving at lunch time until about 9 in the evening.
The only disadvantage about this place is that sometimes, they run out of my favorite items and they don’t restock immediately.
Spring by Ha Yuan is at the G/F BSA Mansion Legaspi Village, Makati
Pbulished at: http://manila.coconuts.co/