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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Oldest PH restaurant continues to serve customers in Binondo

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Binondo, established in 1594, is home to the oldest Chinatown in the world. Among its many attractions are its historic restaurants, some of which have been serving delicious Chinese and Filipino dishes for over a century.

As you stroll along Tomas Pinpin Street in Binondo, the iconic ToHo Panciteria Antigua immediately catches your eye. The restaurant’s signage proudly declares “Since 1888” and as you step inside, you are greeted by a display of the Philippine flag alongside a sign proclaiming “The Oldest Restaurant in the Philippines,” sparking your curiosity about its rich history.

ToHo Panciteria Antigua, which used to be operated by five Chinese friends, was founded in 1888. It survived the first and second world wars. Wong Tai Tang, one of its founders, managed the restaurant after his friends returned to Guangdong. Since then, the panciteria has been handed down through generations of the Wong family.

It is said that one of the most notable patrons of ToHo was Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero.

The Department of Tourism, Culture and Arts of Manila mentioned in a Facebook post that Andres Bonifacio used to enjoy his pancit and asado at the restaurant before attending the founding meeting of the Katipunan.

In recent years, the restaurant has embraced modernity while preserving its traditional charm, with vintage decor and a nostalgic ambiance that evokes the spirit of old Manila. It has expanded its menu to include new dishes and has undergone renovations to provide a more comfortable dining experience.

However, the essence of what makes To Ho Panciteria Antigua special—the warmth of its hospitality and the timeless appeal of its food—remains unchanged.

The menu is thoughtfully divided into categories to ensure a delightful culinary experience for everyone. Diners can start with savory soups, including Toho soup, spinach soup with chicken, and hototay soup. For vegetable lovers, the restaurant offer dishes like mapo tofu, ampalaya (with asado, beef, pork, or lechon), lo han chay, broccoli with beef, and chop suey seafood.

Meat enthusiasts can also enjoy beef options, including curry or sate beef, Toho beef, and beef brisket, while pork lovers can savor patatim, kikiam, sweet and sour pork, and crispy pata.

Seafood fans can choose from fish dishes, such as lapu-lapu (steamed or escabeche), tausi fish fillet, sweet and sour fish, and fish steamed with white or ginger sauce , and shrimp options which include camaron rellenado, shrimp balls, and spicy shrimp or pat mi. Crab and squid meals are also available.

Chicken selection features fried, soy, white, buttered, Szechuan, lemon, and Toho chicken.

There are plenty of options for rice toppings, noodles, and fried rice. Be sure to try To Ho’s pancit and their famous Yang Chow fried rice.

Customers can choose from small, medium or large servings. Each dish is carefully crafted to promise a memorable dining experience that will keep them coming back for more.

To Ho Panciteria Antigua’s enduring legacy can be attributed to its unwavering dedication to quality and authenticity. Despite the passage of time and the changes in the culinary landscape, the restaurant has remained true to its roots, offering a taste of nostalgia to those who walk through its doors. Over the years, it has been a favorite dining spot for locals, tourists and even historical figures.

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