Siopao Ma Mon Luk restaurant in Quezon City

Siopao (and Mami) at Ma Mon Luk (Quezon City)

One can’t help but feel being transported back in time upon entering Ma Mon Luk, at least the one in Quezon City. The tables and chairs are obviously dated. Plastered on the wall beside the main door are photos of celebrity visitors, a lot of them now dead. You’ll be surprised to see that the place looked really ancient. It’s probably ancient.

Mr. Ma came to the Philippines, from China, in 1918 and set out to create this restaurant named after him. The old-looking menu handed to customers proudly declare that Ma Mon Luk was established in 1920.

It also proudly declares that it’s The House of the Original Mami Inventor. The “mi” in “mami” means “noodles” in Chinese. The “ma” in “mami”Ā  is derived from the name of the “Mami Inventor” — Mr. Ma Mon Luk. Some say it’s one of the best noodles around. I tried it once and I thought maybe there’s a right way of eating it. First two sips and the soup tasted bland. Stirring the spring onion well into the soup (and adding pepper) made it better. It tasted better and better with every mouthful of noodles, soup and meat. I cleaned the large bowl of mami.

Still, the mami is not the reason why I go back for more of Ma Mon Luk. There’s one item in the menu I order every chance I get.

Siopao. Siopao special asado (asado, chicken and salted egg). Here —

Siopao, a Chinese food, is steamed bun with fillings. It could be bola-bola (meat balls in a bun), but I always go for asado, which is diced pork/beef seasoned with, among others, soy sauce. Ingredients, blends or recipes greatly vary, so not all siopao are created the same.

No matter what is said about the Ma Mon Luk siapao, it’s still the best in my book. I don’t care what’s inside, it’s still delicious. The taste of the meat filling is just right, not overpowering (sorry, unless someone has a better translation of “hindi nakakaumay”). The bread or bun is just perfect, tender and not too dry, I could eat it by itself. Yummm.

How to go there? I understand that there’s Ma Mon Luk in Quiapo, but don’t ask me where because I don’t know. But I do know there’s a Ma Mun Luk along Quezon Avenue, near the Banawe Street intersection. If you’re in Dapitan Arcade, you’re just a few turns away from Ma Mon Luk. If you’re coming from Manila, through the Quezon City “Welcome Rotonda”, you’ll see this to your right side, after around a hundred meters. If you hit the Banawe St.-Quezon Avenue intersection, you’ve already missed the place so take the next u-turn slot. No worries, it’s really a low-profile restaurant and you’ll easily miss it — except for the sign (see photo to the right) and the vehicles double parked in front. If you’re still lost, ask for directions; it’s sort of a “landmark” so you’ll have no problem asking directions.

It’s fair to say that the interiors of the restaurant haven’t been upgraded to stay with the times. The wooden chairs show the wear and tear that time brings. A hand-written stylized sign hangs on a concrete column, exhorting us to try the Sang Yuk Pao (bola-bola siopao).

This, however, adds to the history, character and authenticity of the place. Or you could always have your siapao “to go” (or “take-out”) and spare yourself from looking at old photos, hanging on the wall, of Richard Gomez, the late Ike Lozada, Bong Alvarez and other personalities who’ve been here.

13 thoughts on “Siopao (and Mami) at Ma Mon Luk (Quezon City)”

  1. Hay Fred, if you think Ma Mon Luk at Banaue is ancient, Quiapo should be jurassic. The restaurant should be about three shops away from the Church if you’re going to Recto. Tables are white metals, glasses are the generic thick glass you’ll see in chinese restaurants. And if you wash your hands in the lavatory, they have the brown soap bar–perla or wheel? The strangest thing is the waiters are the same waiters circa ’79 but they have not aged at all. Meanwhile, I have grown from a youngster then who could only finish regular siopao.

    Ma Mon Luk is the best. The best dough in the whole siopao world.

  2. Thanks, Roy. I just realized it’s called “dough”, as you mentioned, and not bread or bun. Indeed, it’s the best dough in the siopao world I know.

  3. hi! just want to agree with you both. i grew up eating ma mon luk siopao too. they used to have a restaurant here in cubao also. near mercury drug. i have eaten a lot of siopao and i must say that nothing is as good as ma mon luks’.

  4. Hi.. Sir to Sir George and Sir Robert, musta na po kayo… si leah po ito ang dati ninyong empleyado, sobrang mis ko na po talaga ang siopao ninyo at ang fried mami na pariting pa snack ni sir George.

  5. can i ask where is the exact address location, of this restaurant ?? i want to try there cuisine, its been previously shown on jessica soho episode and it interest me what is the version of there mami šŸ˜€

  6. since childhood i have always admired ma mon luk. I plan too open in cebu. may i know the details of franchise.

  7. at this moment, i want to ask for the franchise fee. Location in cebu is no problem. I am also the owner of bakery businesses in davao and cagayan.

  8. when it comes to mami either beef or chicken MaMon Luk has the best mami in town plus their best tasting siopao.walang nabago sa lasa THE BEST PA RIN.

  9. Ma Mon Luk is the best! Their Mami is the best especially if you mix it with hot sauce..yum yum.IM CRAVING FOR IT AGAIN..also the siopao:) i could finish them all..Very Authentic and Genuine Taste! It is like a glimpse of China while eating their meals šŸ™‚

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