Pampanga is the Culinary Capital of the Philippines. Expectedly, there are thousands of dining places in the province. To help you narrow down your choices, here’s an impromptu guide of the must-try restos in Pampanga.
1) Aling Lucing’s Sisig
Sisig originated in Pampanga and it literally means ‘to snack on something sour.’ Thus, the sisig of the Kapampangans is a bit sour with hints of seasonings and spices. Aling Lucing’s Sisig is considered to be the first eatery to serve sizzling sisig to its customers in the 1980s. Aling Lucing’s sisig is made from maskara ng baboy (pig’s head) and liver, boiled, grilled and chopped.
2) Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy
There is yet another diner which serves the well-celebrated dish we now called the pambansang pulutan, Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy. Mila’s version is crunchy just like lechon kawali perhaps because they boil, fry and grill their ingredients before chopping them into bits.
3) 19 Copung Copung
Another famous eatery in Angeles City is 19 Copung Copung, a native resto with more than three decades of experience in the food business. The resto serves exotic Kapampangan cuisine such as adobong camaro (cricket), labut (or tuwalya) ng baka (beef tripe), and tocinong kalabaw (carabao).
4) Halo-halo sa Corazon
Pampanga is also known for its halo-halo places. However, their version is on the minimalist side with only sweetened beans, sweetened saba , sweet corn, and leche flan (caramel custard). The custard that the Kapampangan uses is made from pure carabao’s milk.
5) Didi’s Pizza
Didi’s Pizza, which is considered the most popular pizza parlor in Angeles City, was launched in 1972. The eatery serves square-cut Filipinized pizzas and pizza burger. What’s best about this dining place is it uses sweet tomato sauce and sources its cheeses locally.
6) Historic Camalig Restaurant
Another restaurant that specializes in pizza is Historic Camalig. It offers not-so-ordinary pizza flavors including longganisa, salted egg, adobo, tuyo, and tinapa. This is one restaurant that doesn’t scrimp on toppings of bell pepper, cheese, onion, mushroom and pepperoni. The restaurant, which is a former barn (camalig) built with adobe walls and iron window grills hence the old world charm, also serves kamias (averrhoa bilimbi) shake. The shake is the perfect complement to these truly Kapampangan pizzas.
7) Abe’s Farm
An ultimately friendly – abé is actually the Kapampangan term forfriend and homey restaurant in Magalang, Abe’s Farm is an upscale restaurant. It serves local dishes such as binukadkad na plapla (butterflied tilapia) with balaw-balaw (pickled shrimp) and mustasa (mustard) leave, fried betute (frog) and Sikreto ni Maria. The last one is vanilla ice cream with sticky rice and fresh mangoes. The ambiance is very indigenous, dining on a nipa rest house and adorned with wooden and bamboo décors.
8) Binulo Restaurant
Binulo is a Kapampangan term that means the way of cooking food inside fresh bamboo stalk. The Aetas, who are native to Pampanga, cook their food this way. Some of the authentic cuisines that Binulo Restaurant offer are pangat na ulang (sour broth boiled prawns) served fresh from the bamboo and binukadkad na hito (butterflied catfish). The restaurant is located in Clark Freeport Zone.
9) Everybody’s Café
Considered as one of the oldest dining places in Pampanga, Everybody’s Café is a Spanish home turned into a canteen. The restaurant offers Kapampangan classics as well, like pritong hito (fried catfish) served with buro (fermented rice with shrimp) and mustasa leaves, stuffed fried betute, fried camaro, pindang tapa (fermented carabao meat) and morcon (chorizo). The main branch of the restaurant is found in San Fernando. It’s a few minutes drive from Amaia Scapes San Fernando.
10) Kusina ni Atching Lilian
Atching Lilian is the gatekeeper of the authentic Kapampangan cuisine. She serves her guests with dishes prepared using traditional ways of cooking. She also makes the San Nicolas biscuit, made using an intricately designed mold. Her ancestral house is in Mexico.
Apparently, the Kapampangans really take their food seriously. Indulge in a gastronomic experience like no other when you’re in Pampanga. You need not be a hardcore foodie to appreciate what the province has to offer. After all, it will not be called the Culinary Capital for nothing.