What to eat at Ilang-Ilang Restaurant

A Culinary Voyage: What to eat at Ilang-Ilang Restaurant in Binondo, Manila 

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A Culinary Voyage: What to eat at Ilang-Ilang Restaurant in Binondo, Manila

December 2023. Binondo, Manila Philippines. - We finally concluded our first completed Binondo Culinary and Heritage Tour, hosted/guided by Rence of Walk with Chan. Among our best picks for delicious food, atmosphere, and service is the Ilang-Ilang restaurant. One of the eateries in Manila's Chinatown district's 100-year history is this one. The restaurant's name, Ilang-Ilang, is derived from the name of the street. The business started out as a panciteria, or noodle house, in 1910 and expanded into a full-fledged restaurant in 1945. Avoid confusing this with the Cafe Ilang-Ilang within the Manila Hotel, which opens a little earlier. Additionally, the location has a sizable function space that can hold 250–280 people at once. 
Ilang-Ilang Restaurant in Ilang-Ilang Street in Binondo, Manila¯
Ilang-Ilang Restaurant in Ilang-Ilang Street in Binondo, Manila¯

When you enter Ilang-Ilang, you enter a world that perfectly merges the modern and the traditional. The interior is tastefully decorated with Chinese-inspired décor, creating a classy yet welcome setting. The restaurant's attractiveness is enhanced by the quiet hum of conversations and the clinking of chopsticks on china plates. 

Signature Dishes at Ilang-Ilang Restaurant

Buttered Fried Chicken. One of the food offered in restaurants that you really must taste is the fried buttered chicken. You can taste the butter in this, and it is served hot. It's a large amount with a noticeable butter flavor. It can be compared to Sincerity Cafe and Toho Antigua, but Ilang-Ilang's version is more on the aromatic buttery side. 
Buttered Fried Chicken
Buttered Fried Chicken (Php 500)

Hot and Sour Soup. A hearty and comforting spicy soup that demonstrates the restaurant's dedication to authenticity. With its homemade flavors, the thick broth elevates this dish into a delectable masterpiece that will have you craving for more. 
Hot and Sour Soup
Hot and Sour Soup (Php 330)

Buchi. Additionally, they are the only people that we are aware of that create fried gabi, which are little balls of fried mashed taro that are delicious as a dessert, a snack, or even a side dish. 
buchi made with taro

Bestsellers. Ilang-Ilang was renowned for its extensive assortment of noodle dishes, per the book "The Governor General's Kitchen." Regulars still swear by their bowl of lomi (thick noodles cooked in a thick and starchy egg broth, (Php 210). They are also well-known for their spare ribs with rice-wine sauce (Php 360), chami or miki guisado (Php 210), and rellenong hipon (P360 for 5 pieces), stuffed eight treasures chicken (Pph 960) and the braised patatim, made of pig's shoulder (Php 960), deep fried tender juicy pigeon (Php 700). 

The rest of the house specialties are kikiam (Php 195), braised chicken feet (Php 360), atay con bawang (Php 390), glutinous flour rings (Php 390) and chan o e (Php 360).  
Ilang-Ilang Restaurant ceiling
Ilang-Ilang Restaurant interior

Catering. Ilang- Ilang offers a range of foods that you wouldn't often find in a typical panciteria because of its catering business. Certain meals must be ordered in advance, especially the ones listed on their menu as House Specialties. Doreen Gamboa Fernandez, the late culinary chronicler, claimed that the street where this restaurant is located—rather than the flower—is where it received its name. In 1945, it was converted from a noodle business to a restaurant by Xiamen cook Mr. Nua and his son Eng Guan. However, Ilang-Ilang did not profit from a noon clientele like the panciteria in Plaza Sta Cruz did; instead, their dinner service was more profitable. Nowadays, catering parties account for the majority of their business. 

For this trip, we only had a taste of 3 kinds, it was actually our second restaurant stop after the Toho Panciteria Antigua dine-in lunch. 

Ilang-Ilang Restaurant in Ilang-Ilang Street in Binondo, Manila¯

Ilang-Ilang Street corner Jabonero St. in Binondo, Manila¯

Ilang-Ilang Restaurant in Binondo is more than just a dining experience; it encapsulates the essence of Filipino-Chinese gastronomic fusion. Each element symbolizes Binondo's vast cultural tapestry, from the friendly environment to the skillfully produced cuisine. So, whether you're a local foodie or a curious traveler, don't miss out on this gastronomic adventure at Ilang-Ilang and experience the flavors that have withstood the test of time. 

How to get there? 
551 Ilang ilang St. San Nicolas, Manila

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