Monday, July 21, 2008

A visit to the heart of Chinatown: Panciteria Lido

It just occurred to me that few of the food blogs I've been to feature menus from one of the all-time treasure chest of the local cui-scene, Chinese food! So I've decided to go and introduce them (inasmuch as my budget allows me to) here! Where better to start than in Chinatown, and which better to feature than one that is closest to my heart. Permit me to begin this worthwhile endeavor by blogging about one of the oldest restaurant in Chinatown, Panciteria Lido!

麗都餐館 (lì dū cān guǎn) literally means a restaurant in a beautiful city. And Manila is indeed a beauty--maybe not in the way one sees beauty--the fierce and stout-hearted yet amusing and relaxed sort. Lido (as it's more popularly known) has had a long flavorful history as Manila waxed and wanned throughout the 20th century. It's been a silent witness to the changes sitting at the same address in Alonzo St. near the corner of Ongpin St. since the 1930's--moving with the times, flourishing during Manila's golden period and likewise struggling in periods of economic turmoils.

I've personally encountered many old timers who recount with fondess their daily coffee sessions on countless early mornings and middays spent with their friends. Even the current Father of Manila, Mayor Alfredo Lim is a fixture here on Sunday mornings! Boy, this is a fun place on Sundays. Some of the "young-once" reminisce going there on Sundays with their family when they were kids. I've even heard of love stories that began while sharing a plate of Pancit where else?


Last Sunday, me, my brother and his fiancee, and my sister met our dad for lunch at Lido. My brother and his fiancee ordered the Beef Brisket in Hotpot (P215). This is actually good for 2-3 people, and is unlike most of the beef brisket serve elsewhere. It's flavor enhanced by the hotpot it's served in.

My sister ordered Steamed fish fillet in soy sauce (P250), one of my all time favorites. Simple yet filling, this embodies the simplistic nature of Chinese dishes.

I of course ordered my favorite rice topping (of all time?), Portuguese Chicken Rice (P125)! This dish is reminiscent of the time when Lido was still owned by a Cantonese man from Macau. This photo can be deceiving, it's actually a huge bowl (hence my attraction to it hehe...)
It's a combination of carrots, celery, green peas, tomato and chicken fillet in a delectably thick tomato sauce on top of plain rice (or fried depending on your preference I guess).

Pwede bang puro pambara na lamang? Syempre dapat may panulak! (I can't very well just stuff my face with solids right? I chugged all it down with a tall glass of Papaya shake! (P75) Ain't that beautiful!

This is a photo of their Pugon Roasted Asado (arguably the best Asado in Chinatown) and Lechon Kawali. (P175 per order--that's good for 1/4th kg!)

And their claim to fame, their very own Siphon-brewed Coffee (which you can enjoy for only P55 a cup) that's been dubbed as The Best Coffee in Chinatown!

The word "panciteria" (and of course pansit) actually originated from a Chinese phrase that means "let's all eat in a big table" so how appropriate that I chanced upon one of the tables, all set and ready with no one was occupying it. I suppose you can't blame me if I decided to go over and steal... some shots.
(From the center going counterclockwise: Pata Tim, Sweet and Sour Pork, Fried Chicken, Chopsuey, Chami, and Yang Chow Fried Rice. Served on the side is the traditional Nido Soup.)

Go on, give them a visit. And when you do, don't forget to say hi to the owner, Mr. King.

Who I'm sure will be more than willing to say hi back.

You can also find Panciteria Lido at West Avenue , Quezon City at the Westlife Center just besides Starbucks.


R Y E said...

I miss the food from Lido. My ex-officemate used to bring their specialty to our office. I cant remember a dish that we didn't like. We loved them all. :D

Rian Gabor said...

nakakatakam :) yum yum :)

joyfulchicken said...

I'm not a fan of Chinese food, but I do like Lido.

What happened to the Madison Square branch?

Momisodes said...

OMG! That looks so delicious. My mouth is watering buckets here. I LOVE so many of those dishes. I have never seen coffee like that before though! I'd love to try :)

spanx said...


along with the much-missed
See Kee and Panciteria China,

Peace Restaurant (still around),

and the original Ling Nam,

Lido was my Lolo's favorite
Binondo restaurant.

thanks for the post,
and the great foodie memories!

Anonymous said...

wow... the food is so yummy! im a chinese food lover and in constant search for the ultimate, homey oriental treat. thanks sharing this treasure. i can't wait to dig in!

hope you dont mind me linking you up.

Katherine said...

Ooohhh...more food posts. I went there a few times only. Food is ok. What attracted me was that they were saying many former presidents ate there~~ :P

philos said...

@rye: I've never had the chance to miss 'em hehe...

@rian: Haha... I take that as a compliment to my picture taking skills :)

@JC: Fell on hard times I guess...

@momisodes: Thanks! Tell you what, if and when you can get Dadisodes and Babisodes over, I'll buy you coffee hehe... you'd have to shoulder the food though :p

@spanx: Ooh, I've never tried See Kee and Panciteria China, didn't even get to try Panciteria Smart before it closed a couple of years ago. Ling Nam still stands, and has proliferated in fact, but Peace Restaurant (at least if you meant the one below Peace Lodge in Soler) has been replaced by Golden Fortune Hot Pot Restaurant. Thanks for coming by :)

@seaprincess72: you're welcome, and I definitely don't mind... belated happy birthday pala! :)

@KM: Seriously? Like who?

Anonymous said...

Food of Lido is definitely OK with me too.

Philos, maybe one day you could organize a food party or EB in Lido for your avid blog readers. :)

philos said...

@Lester: Read my response to KM above.

zherwin said...

I always wanted to do a food trip/walk tour of the Binondo/Chinatown area but the moment my spider sense told me that I am lost, I cowardly go back to where I came from and then just walk on the familiar route. kainis no? andami kong nami-miss!

Anonymous said...

loved how those meat looked! and those shake looked fabolous! you sure mademe hungry...

Katherine said...

philos: I think they have pictures there or something. I forgot, Ramos maybe and some others?

philos said...

@zherwin: hehe... kakaingit nga si ivan henares, I've been wanting to tour people around chinatown for quite some time now and he's doing it well!

@PM: come by whenever you're in Manila next!

@KM: Hmm... I have this sinking feeling that you mean some place else... all I saw were the photo of the FG and Mayor Lim

ALiNe said...

Grabe... Antagal ko na sobra di nakakain dito...

philos said...

@Aline: Good time to go back hehe... dun ka ba mismo kumain sa main? :)

Anonymous said...

hahaha never tried chinese food... but the papaya shake seem to cross my taste buds! and those meat look so d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s! one papaya shake pls!=)

Anonymous said...

Philos: What comment of KM? And who's KM? Don't see any KM. :)

ALiNe said...

oo ata :P

Camille said...

i thought they only serve pancit so i never bothered goin to their place.. you see their west ave branch is near our place.. hm ill try to visit them one of these days. are you related to mr king-the owner?

philos said...

@neuroticsister: I don't want to mess with their business but you do know that you can make your own papaya shake right?

@lester: use your browser's search function

@aline: let me know when you're coming next time and who knows? might even get to treat you hehe

@camille: I thought no one would get around to asking... yes, he's my gramps :) that's why this place is close to my heart... I spent half my childhood here hehe

Lisa said...

Tried Nido soup last year from like . Tastes really good... yeah, I thought it was gross at first, but wow, you won't regret it.