Thursday, February 7, 2013

Need for Speed (and Eats) : All-New Ford Focus goes on a Binondo Food Wok!

I guess it's pretty obvious that Paul and I share a number of similar traits and personalities as well as a million and one shared interests. There's our love to eat, to cook, to travel, to listen to the same kinds of songs and a lot more. We also love going on road trips and we do admire pretty cars. We both believe that one should not work for the car but you always have to make the car work for you. Having a car should make your life easier and if it doesn't, then sadly, you are in big trouble.

Two years ago, Paul and I took the Ford Fiesta Sport for a spin. We drove to Pampanga to have an authentic Capampangan lunch followed by some pasalubong shopping for our favorite native sweets. It was one of the best impromptu road trips that we've had and it really helped that the Ford Fiesta made traveling and driving such a breeze.

ford focus binondo tour
Call it fate as Paul and I were invited once again by the cool folks of Ford to go on a fun Chinatown food trip in anticipation for the upcoming Chinese New Year last Tuesday. We went to Binondo, Manila in style as we took the All-New Ford Focus for a test drive.

ford focus binondo tour
Look at our pretty ride! We were given the 2.0L Sport 6PS which was part of the 5-door hatchback category. I love how compact it may look but believe me this is one powerful baby! As we got into the car, I felt so giddy and happy as I just love the smell of brand new cars! It was love at first smell. We got in pretty easily as this car had a keyless-entry!As soon as the car can sense the remote nearby, it automatically opens the door for you. No need to search through your bag for the keys. Starting the car was once again so easy as Paul simply had to press the start button and the engine immediately revved up. Awesome!

ford focus binondo tour
On the road we go!

Paul was such a skilled driver that despite driving the All-New Ford Focus for the first time, the entire ride was so smooth and *thank god* accident-free. Luckily, the Ford Focus is such a smart car too! It's equipped with all the necessary safety features such as the Blind Spot Information System, Side and Rear sensors and believe it or not, it has the Active Park Assist where the car can parallel park for you..get this, hands-free! This is the futuristic dream happening now.

ford focus binondo tour
What I love about Ford is that their top line series has the Ford Sync function where you can sync your mobile devices to your car and it can help you answer calls, read text messages and even reply to them as the program takes commands from you. This is iPhone's Siri's long lost brother! We got a text message from Issa of Ford and we let the Sync program read the message to us outloud. I like how "she" read it correctly and clearly.


ford focus binondo tour
Don't you just hate it when you have to answer an important call while you're driving? In the All-New Ford Focus, Paul was able to answer a call by just nudging on this button found at the right side of the steering wheel. No need to take your eyes away from the road when the phone rings. Safety is really Ford's top priority.

ford focus binondo tour
As Paul's happy passenger, I also checked out the features on my side of the car. Check out the wide vanity mirror making it easy for me to fix myself up while on the road. It even got lights which becomes really helpful at night.

ford focus binondo tour
Finally, we're in Binondo! I love Chinatown very much as there are just a lot of things you can try and buy here. Always remember to come with an empty stomach for you to be able to eat your way around.

ford focus binondo tour
Meet the Binondo master, Ivan Man Dy. Ivan has been doing walking tours around Chinatown for years! This was actually my fourth time to join his BIG Binondo Food Wok and I still enjoyed every minute. He's such a great tour guide.

ford focus binondo tour
Our first stop was at Cafe Mezzanine. This is located at the 2nd floor of the famous Chuan Kee. Cafe Mezzanine specializes in home cooked Hokkien dishes. The kind that more Chinoys like yours truly grew up eating at home. We each had a bowl of Kiam Peng (savory rice cooked with soy sauce, pork, veggies and topped with salted peanuts), Fish Ball Soup and a new addition -- Lo Tau Hu (Stir-fried tofu). This is comfort food for me. So yummy!

ford focus binondo tour
We moved on to Dong Bei Dumplings which offers potstickers from the Northern part of China. It's always a joy watching the servers prepare these dumplings day in and out.

I brought Papa here years back and we had our father-daughter date over a plate of Steamed Dumplings, Fried Rice and Deep-Fried Scallion Cake.We loved it so much that Papa even bought a pack of frozen dumplings to bring home for Mommy and Pan.

ford focus binondo tour
This time, we got to try a couple of  new dishes on top of the popular ones. The first one is a plate of Stir-Fried Chicken with Carrots and Cucumbers. What makes it interesting is that it made use of cumin seeds giving it a slightly similar flavor as most Indian dishes. This shows the Muslim influence present in some parts of China too. Lastly, Ivan made us try a dish called Guo Ta Tou Fu a.k.a. Tofu Burger. Trust the Chinese to create all sorts of dishes with beancurd or soy. This one gives a modern twist to the usual fried beancurd that we normally eat plain with a bowl of congee. Kids will definitely love this!

ford focus binondo tour
Moving on to our third stop, we headed down E.T. Yuchengco street towards Awi's Cafe & Restaurant. This is one of my Kongkong's favorite hang out spot whenever he wants to have coffee and a bowl of Lomi with his Tai Chi buddies. I seriously couldn't take in another bite but I know we have to try Awi's Lo Bihon (Php. 130) which Ivan has been raving about. I'm used to having my bihon (rice vermicelli) dry with shrimps, veggies and pork. Mommy would cook this at home and Paul and I would have at least two servings each of mommy's Cha Bihon. I'm not so fond of soupy noodles yet I kept an open mind towards Awi's Lo Bihon. We took Ivan's advice to add some black vinegar and lots of pepper before dividing it further into our smaller bowls. The soup was yummy but sadly my feelings towards soupy noodles remain the same. I'll try Awi's Cha Bihon next time.

ford focus binondo tour
We also had Gabi Cake (Php. 180) which I love love love! I'm such a fan of pan-fried "cakes" such as the more popular radish cake, the Singaporean carrot cake and, this one, the gabi (taro) cake. They cooked this with the same ingredients used for the Lo Bihon so we got some sliced fish cakes, cabbage, carrots and shrimps on top of the cake as well.

ford focus binondo tour
The auntie who owns Awi's made us try her version of Coffee Spareribs (Php. 230). We could hardly take another bite but sensing her enthusiasm, we all just didn't have the heart to say no. This was pretty good but for those who are expecting to taste a strong coffee flavor then I wouldn't recommend that you try this. In fact, I could taste a hint of maple syrup and my tablemates all commented that it was rather on the sweet side. It's good but definitely not coffee-tasting. This would go so well with a bowl of steamed rice.

ford focus binondo tour
Here's a tip, when dining at Awi's make sure to order their homemade Iced Tea. It's yummy and a really good way to beat the coming summer heat.

We bid Awi's goodbye and headed to Polland for some hopia and Chinese snacks shopping. What a fun food trip! This was just half of Ivan's regular Food Wok and yet we were all so full already. Wish we had more time to explore Chinatown even more. That would probably come next time when Paul and I return with our very own Ford Focus. *wink*

Till then, we all returned to our drop off area in front of Binondo Church where all our handsome carriages a.k.a.the All-New Ford Focus cars were waiting for us.

2 comments:

  1. Oh... this is why you were in Binondo last sunday haha. I was wondering what you were doing so far away from home! ;)) Everything looks yummy fran! <3 And i want a ford focus.. automatic parallel parking??? be still my heart!! ;P

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  2. @jane: food tripping in Binondo is always the BEST! yes..be still my heart indeed!! I was so amazed with the Ford Focus

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