For days when the lure of good food proves to be too much to resist, why not plan a quick roadtrip to Pampanga? After all, this province is fondly known as the “Culinary Capital of the Philippines," owing to a smorgasboard of gastronomic goodies perfect for any type of craving.
With its well-appointed rooms and stellar service, the Best Western Bendix, the first green building in Pampanga, is the obvious choice for your accomodation. Located at the junction of MacArthur Highway and Olongapo-Gapan Road, its proximity to Pampanga's best dining delights make it an ideal jumping point for your foodie road trip.
Indulge in a perfectly brewed cuppa joe from Where's Marcel?, a Australian coffee chain that prides itself on its crop-to-cup concept by sourcing their beans from local farmers and shareholders.
Fried frogs might not be on your radar for dishes to try, but don't write this Pampanga delicacy off just yet. A serving of Batute, or stuffed frog in English, is crispy goodness at its finest. Dip in some tangy vinegar or douse in banana ketchup. Tastes just like chicken, in our opinion.
An indigenous vegetable, the Fiddlehead fern—locally known as Pako—are touted to be one of the healthiest greens around, with its earthy crispiness lending itself beautifully as a local alternative to lettuce. The 1956 Downtown Cafe's Pako salad is a feast for the senses, with its colorful punctuations of tomato, red onion, and pugo eggs.
Belying its unassuming facade, Aling Lucing’s rendition of Sisig is sinful goodness on a sizzling cast iron plate. A mishmash of pork bits are charred to cripsy perfection, chopped and sauteed in margarine with minced onions and pre-boiled chicken liver. Forget about calorie-counting. You only live once.
With its many incarnations, sinigang is considered one the country's most iconic dishes. The beauty of the dish lies in its simplicity: fresh ingredients stewed gently in a broth brightened by the tanginess of a souring agent. In Cafe Fleur by Chef Sau del Rosario, the tartness of fresh guava and tomatoes give a nice contrast to the sweet-tasting character of the Ulang, a freshwater lobster found in a variety of Philippine rivers. Interesting textures from a medley of farm fresh vegetables like Sitaw and radish give the dish further depth and character.
Switch up your usual steaming cup of white rice for one that pays tribute to your indigenous roots. Mountain rice grains mixed with shrimps, wood ear mushrooms, and bamboo shoots are steamed in a bamboo shell, resulting in a rice dish infused with a distinct robustness that makes for a compelling alternative.
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Photographs from Instagram.com/wheresmarcelph, Instagram.com/bestwesternbendixhotel, Instagram.com/annnabananafofana, Instagram.com/jensteltonjose, Instagram.com/jerzoliveri, Instagram.com/cafefleur.ph, Instagram.com/snaphappyfoodie