Dragon dancers about to swallow Ampao or money in a red envelope hanging high above the doorway.

As promised, I am finally doing a blog post on Chinatown! I went down there on Feb. 7, the day before the Chinese New Year. The place to my surprise was already in a celebratory mood then. Ongpin Street was closed to motorists because of the deluge of people most of whom appear to be from the locality/ vicinity but some were obviously not local... tourists.
Chinese Lunar new year celebrations aren't complete without good luck charms. Luck to the Buddhist-Chinese generally follow certain themes/ characteristics: something red, round, sticky, and sweet to name a few. Hence, you see plants, fruits, cakes, pastries, and candy on street-sides and in front of doorways having one or more of them in form. 
We were there to dine in a restaurant I had read in the morning daily but I suppose that article and prior experience dining in the area had set my expectations too high for Mami or egg-noodle soup and Siopao or steamed pork buns. That was the first time I was let down dining in this area. They're not however bad but not exemplary either.
Here are the sights as we walked to and from where we parked and ate. We also stopped by a mini Chinese grocery to pick up sun-dried peanuts and Tikoy or Nian Gao.
The following images were shot with the new Nikkor 24mm 1.8G ED lens and a DSLR. Shooting with a lens this wide on a full-frame camera, the challenge was finding a focal point and achieving subject isolation. Otherwise, the lens is stellar in sharpness and in the way it renders color! ​​​​​​​

These Kalesas or horse drawn carriages aren't a usual mode of transport today. They're there for tourists.

Mother and daughter enjoying the grill.

If you like scallops you'll love it here.

Really small pineapples just sitting in front of a shop. round objects are symbols of luck!

The place is part of what's referred to as "old manila" as you can see.

Pretty much a hole in the wall type of place but prices aren't exactly cheap. Don't take deep breaths if you're sensitive to animal scents.

That sauce is added to the soup. Interesting idea but not so on the palate... on mine at least.

Extra large Siopao with shredded pork. The filling was quite unique and savory.

Crowd wasn't as enthusiastic.

Tikoy or sticky cake (sliced like spam and fried to serve) is a popular gift during the Chinese new year. It's suppose to bring luck to the giver or party gifting the round-shaped cake.

I found Happiness here!

Festive streets through the late night hours. KIds do impomptu dragon dances using cutout cardboard boxes and improvised drums from cans for money.

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