Tuesday, May 20, 2014

One Awesome Food Trip to Pampanga

Pampanga has always been known for its rich and diverse culinary heritage, and if you have a day to spare, go for a drive and enjoy some of the best local flavors in one epic food trip.  

The fertile plains of Pampanga, irrigated by the massive Pampanga River, combine to form Luzon's rich rice basket, with a bounty of agricultural and freshwater produce. History and its unique geographical features collaborate for a melting pot of flavors, a diverse culinary heritage enriched by Malay, Spanish and Mexican influences. Begin your culinary experience at Claude Tayag's Downtown Cafe in Angeles City, with his wide range of traditional and local dishes, including the Crispy Hito Sarsiadong Bihod, crispy deep-fried catfish on a rich and creamy egg sauce with fresh fish roe. One of Pampanga's culinary icons, Claude Tayag brings back traditional and comforting flavors in his newest restaurant, making this a mandatory stop in any food trip to Pampanga. 

Then, cap your meal with Claude Tayag's Halo-Halo, a traditional and refreshing shaved ice dessert with preserved fruits topped with a smooth and flavorful ube ice cream drizzled with a sweet and creamy pastillas de leche for a rich indulgent blend of local flavors (see more on Claude Tayag's Downtown Cafe here at http://dude4food.blogspot.com/2014/05/flavors-of-pampanga-good-times-at.html). 

Go for an all-out pork feast at Mila's Tokwa't Baboy, a neighborhood institution serving up local pork dishes for nearly thirty years. Start with Mila's Chicharon Bulaklak, crunchy deep-fried pork entrails. Like many local regional dishes, no part of the pig is thrown away, and Mila's offers a "snout to tail" pork experience.

Pampanga is also known for its sweet tocino, cured and marinated pork, and Mila's offers a skewered barbecued version with their unique Pork Tocino Barbecue (see more of Mila's unique and local pork specialties here at http://dude4food.blogspot.com/2014/05/flavors-of-pampanga-pork-fest-at-milas.html). 

For dessert, go for the traditional and classic Ensaimada, based on a cherished 1930s recipe, from Chona Ayson's Homemade Treasures. Incredibly soft, fluffy and buttery brioche topped with cheese and sugar that just melts in your mouth. Pair this with a thick hot cup of Spanish chocolate for that perfect late afternoon merienda. 

Or go for Homemade Treasures' Classic Cashew Sansrival, with layers of chewy meringue, rich buttercream and cashews. Aptly named, the decadent Sansrival is a classic throwback to prewar days and elegant times. The combination of butter, chewy meringue and cashews just bring back so many childhood memories (for more on Homemade Treasures' classic desserts, see my other post here at http://dude4food.blogspot.com/2014/05/flavors-of-pampanga-classic-capampangan.html).

And before the long drive home, go for a light dinner at Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwich Eatery, with authentic Vietnamese dishes that rival the best from Manila. The signature Pork Barbecue Banh Mi, with savory, smoky, tender and juicy pork topped with sweet and tart pickled vegetables and fresh herbs on a crisp and crusty baguette.

And don't forget to try Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwich Eatery's other dishes, including  their popular Fresh Spring Rolls stuffed wth plump shrimps, noodles and vegetables. Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwich Eatery is a welcome addition to Pampanga's ever growing culinary diversity, and a perfect last stop before the drive back to Manila (see more on Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwich  Eatery in my other post here at  http://dude4food.blogspot.com/2014/05/flavors-of-pampanga-last-stop-at-banh.html).

A wide range of flavors in just one city, with so much more to try and experience. But if you just have a day to spare, this should give you an idea on where to star your culinary experience. 


  1. Pampanga is touted as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines, and why not? The Kapampangan cuisine is legendary. If a Pampanga food trip is what is on your mind, it will be surely helpful to determine which food you must try first before gearing up to go to the province.

    1. Hi Clyde, I absolutely agree with you, there's just so many flavors to discover in Pampanga and a shortlist of must-try dishes should help in making your food trip memorable. Thanks for stopping by!


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