Awesome Food and Culture Tour (Part 2 of 2)

If you haven’t read the first part of this series, you might be interested to check it out by clicking here.

Phoenix Dragon store

After sampling several different dishes, it was time for us to move on with the tour.  Our first stop was Phoenix Dragon Feng Shui Store. We were entertained by Mr. Samson Chua, who told us about several feng shui practices and beliefs.

Energy Cleansing

One of the topics discussed was how crystals and charms have a tendency to absorb negative or positive energies from the objects around them. He proceeded to demonstrate the energy cleansing process they do for charms with the use of the singing bowl. A couple of bloggers and journalists volunteered to have their stuff cleansed.

The process started with a mallet striking the bowl gently in several areas. The same mallet was then rubbed against the bowl’s rim in a circular motion, resulting in a high pitched sound that resonated throughout the store.

After several rounds, the process was said to be complete and the pieces of jewelry were returned to their respective owners. Mr. Chua was careful not to touch enough of the cleansed jewelries as he might transfer his energy to them.

Reflexion Studio wedding items

We bid farewell to the Phoenix Dragon after the demo and moved on to Reflexion’s Studio, which was also situated next to the Miao De Temple. There, the engagement process (called ting hun) practiced by a number of Chinese couples was discussed. The items normally used during the ceremony were also shown. Before we left, Reflexion’s Studio gave each of us a physical copy of our group photo to serve as souvenirs.

Rainbow Snow store

It was a nice escape from the Manila heat when we trooped inside the Lucky Chinatown Mall and headed for the food court at the fourth floor. We were taken to Rainbow Snow, a Taiwanese desserts place owned by  a young entrepreneur. I learned through one of the store’s staff that this establishment opened December of 2012.

Rainbow Snow poster

Here’s a photo of what Rainbow Snow has in store for their customers. I remember trying some of these items when we traveled to Taipei last year and how much we enjoyed them. It’s great to know that there’s a place offering these goodies here in Manila!

ice shaver

We were allowed to go behind the counters and take a look at how they prepare the Snow Ice desserts. Here’s a photo of their ice shaver in action, producing very fine shreds of chocolate flavored ice onto a plate.

We were given the opportunity to sample two of their flavors: chocolate and mixed berry. The chocolate was pretty ordinary next to the mixed berry one. The latter was a combination of strawberry and blueberry; it was slightly tangy and sweet at the same time. Perfect for summer!

Wellness Sanctuary

After the cooling treats, we were ushered to our next destination: the Wellness Sanctuary. We were welcomed by Dra. Milarosa Chua-Samson and were given passes for a free 15-minute treatment of our choice. We could choose to undergo acupuncture, have our feet pampered at the fish spa, or avail the tui na (back massage). I really wanted to try the tui na, but was informed that their therapists were still engaged with other clients. Since I didn’t have much free time on my hands, I decided to try acupuncture instead. It’s said to help in detoxifying the body.

The acupuncture procedure was done on both of my ears using very thin, sterile needles.  Thankfully, my tolerance for pain must have been pretty high as I didn’t find the procedure that painful. There was a slight pinching sensation when the needles were inserted and removed, but apart from that, it was a pretty comfortable experience. I was just unsure if undergoing acupuncture can lead to sleepiness, but I did feel pretty drowsy afterwards.

Tao Yuan storefront

Our last food stop for the tour was Tao Yuan Restaurant, located at the 2nd floor of the mall. The general manager was the one who came out to speak with us about the food they’ve prepared.

melon shake

We were each served a glass of cold melon juice, along with some hot tea, while we waited for the food and the rest of the group. I really liked this one.

Hainanese Chicken

The first item to be served was their Hainanese Chicken. The white chicken was delicious and its meat was tender. Similar to the other times I’ve eaten Hainanese chicken, I enjoyed mixing all three sauces together before eating.

Bday Pancit Canton

Next was Tao Yuan’s Birthday Pancit Canton. It’s important for noodles to be served during birthday celebrations since they signify long life for the celebrant. Brightly colored quail eggs are also usually placed on top.

We learned that this restaurant prepares their own hand-pulled noodles for this dish. They also use chicken and spareribs broth for the sauce, making it more flavorful.

Mago Lapu Lapu

The next dish served was their popular Mango Lapu Lapu. The addition of both ripe and unripe mangoes made this dish a lot more enjoyable. It also reminded me of Malaysian and Thai cuisine.

mango sago

A few minutes after the fish was served, it was already time for dessert. To end the meal and our Food and Culture tour, each of us were treated to a bowl of Tao Yuan’s mango sago.The mango sago is a very popular choice for dessert when dining in Chinese restaurants. I thought that the mix of sweetness and sourness was a suitable way to bring the event to a close.

If you’re interested to join the tour and experience these things yourself, go get your tickets from Lucky Chinatown Mall and Eastwood Mall’s concierge. Again, tickets are priced at Php888 per person, with the tour lasting for approximately four hours. It’s definitely a fun (and delicious) way to learn more about the Chinese culture here in Manila.

**Lucky Chinatown Mall is located at Reina Regente St. corner Dela Reina Street, Binondo, Manila. Mall hours are from 10 A.M. until 10 P.M.


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