Pampanga is one the food capitals of the Philippines.

In this Filipino food tour blog post I’m going to share with you some local food gems, mostly in Pampanga (but in Manila as well), that I had a chance to try on a full-on 15 hour food tour frenzy with Makansutra.

World Street Food Congress
Makansutra, World Street Food Congress

World Street Food Congress 2017

Makansutra, founded by KF Seetoh – a Singaporean food personality and advocate for the preservation of street food – had an idea to organize a street food festival of vendors from around the world in one place serving authentic local dishes.

So when I was invited to join KF Seetoh and team for a food tour in the Philippines prior to the main World Street Food Congress 2017 event, I was excited to go.

Although we enjoyed a few local restaurants in Manila as well, much of the 15 hour Filipino food tour was in Pampanga, just north of Manila, a region that’s known throughout the Philippines for their food.

Bulalohan sa España
Bulalohan sa España

1. Bulaluhan sa España

Our first stop on this epic Filipino food tour was a small carinderia (local Filipino restaurant) located at the back of a petrol station in Manila called Bulaluhan sa España.

bulalo Manila
Bulalo – bone marrow soup

This is a place where you’ll find an amazing version of bulalo, a beef bone marrow soup.

The broth has been boiled for so long that it has a rich meaty flavor, and some of the marrow begins to melt into the broth. It’s pure meaty goodness.

Filipino food tour
Deep fried fallopian tubes

Also here, I really enjoyed a Filipino eggplant dish that was flattened and coated in egg (tortang talong), as well as the plate of extra crispy deep fried pig fallopian tubes.

Bulalohan sa España
Address: Corner of España Blvd, Sampaloc, Manila, Metro Manila
Open hours: open 24 hours

Atching Lillian
Atching Lillian

2. Atching Lillian

We then took the 1 hour drive to Pampanga to start feasting.

Atching Lillian is an extremely special lady who is legendary for preserving traditional food from Pampamnga (known as Kapampangan cuisine). She’s so well known for her food that her single name is associated with the purest and the most traditional Kapampangan cuisine in the country.

She doesn’t run a typical restaurant, but she cooks from her home, and you have to call ahead to make a reservation in her private dining room.

Kapampangan cuisine
A plate of traditional Kapampangan cuisine

Many of the traditional dishes she cooks are challenging to find elsewhere, and have a unique story and history that surrounds them.

One of the most interesting dishes that I wanted to try at Atching Lillian were her version of Filipino tamales, since Mexican tamales are always something I enjoy eating.

While Mexican tamales are typically made with corn flour and wrapped in corn husk then steamed, these tamales were made from rice flour and wrapped in banana leaves before being steamed.

Filipino tamales
Filipino tamales

The rice flour was very pudding like in texture, while the filling included eggs and bits of meat. They were delicious, and had that banana leaf aroma to them as well, like you get when you cook anything in a banana leaf.

Eating at Atching Lillian was a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about traditional food from Pampanga, she’s truly a special lady.

Atching Lillian
Address: 2021, 174 3, Mexico, Pampanga
Open hours: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but you need to reserve weeks in advance: (045) 966 0211

Taldawa Pampamnga
Taldawa

3. Taldawa

I’ve been a huge lover of goat since before I can remember. As a kid growing up in Kenya, one of my favorite activities to do was hang out and eat roasted goat. So anytime I have the opportunity to eat goat I’m usually quite happy.

Taldawa is a local restaurant, or more like backyard eatery, in Pampanga, that serves only goat and duck, both of which are raised either right in the yard where they are being served, or very nearby.

Filipino food
Amazing goat and duck dishes

We tried 3 main dishes, kaldereta – a goat stew with tomatoes and carrots and potatoes, goat sinigang – a Filipino sour soup, and lastly duck adobo – one of the Filipino national dishes made with duck.

All three dishes were stunning, the meat was so tender, and really tasted like real natural meat – that’s the way I like it.

goat sinigang
Goat sinigang, the goat is so tender!

The goat sinigang soup was rich and oily, full of meaty flavor and the chunks of goat were fall off the bone tender.

Taldawa restaurant
Adobo with duck

Throughout my number of trips to the Philippines I’ve eaten quite a few versions of adobo, but this was my first time to eat duck adobe.

The bite sized chunks of duck were stewed with soy sauce and vinegar until ultra tender. It was salty, and wonderfully tender.

Taldawa Kambingan Grill
Address: Santo Cristo Rd, Angeles, Pampanga
Open hours: Definitely open for lunch

25 Seeds
25 Seeds

4. 25 Seeds

Along with KF Seetoh and the Makansutra team from Singapore, Chef Sau Del Rosario, a renowned Filipino chef, was also along with our group on the food tour.

Chef Sau is originally from Pampanga, and one of his signature restaurants is 25 Seeds located right in the center of Angeles City.

Although you’ll find some modern interpretations of Filipino dishes at 25 Seeds, one of the things I really liked is that they use local high quality Filipino ingredients in their dishes.

sisig paella
Sisig paella – first ever!

Pampanga is famous for its original sisig, a Filipino dish of chopped up pigs face.

But KF Seetoh and Chef Sau masterminded a progression of sisig and created a sisig paella – and it was exactly as good as it sounds.

First chef roasted the pigs face, then chopped it up, and sauteed it with onions and magarine and light spices. He then added rice, and covered the mixture with banana leaves to steam and bake it.

Filipino modern food
It was sensational!

Final step of the paella was to top it with diced chilies, cilantro, and calamansis all around.

It was brilliant, gooey rice with the chewy bits of pig face, all wrapped up in an incredible smoky flavor.

25 Seeds
Address: 2F Dycaico Ancestral House, Barangay Sto. Rosario, Angeles, 2009 Pampanga
Open hours: 11 am – 10 pm daily

Susie's Cuisine
Susie’s Cuisine

5. Susie’s Cuisine

Located in the heart of Angeles City in Pampanga, Susie’s Cuisine is known for serving desserts, and just about all Filipinos with a sweet tooth are bound to know about them.

I have to be honest and tell you that I’m not into sweets, so Susie’s Cuisine wasn’t my favorite stop on this Filipino food tour in Pampanga. However, I did taste their signature desserts.

Tibok tibok
Tibok tibok

The first dessert I tried was tibok tibok, which is made from both carabao’s milk and coconut milk, and had a gooey pudding like texture.

Sapin-sapin
Sapin-sapin

The second Filipino dessert I sampled is called sapin-sapin, a glutinous rice flour cake with coconut milk and plenty of sugar. Traditionally the purple layer was flavored with ube, a Filipino purple yam.

A couple bites of the desserts was enough for me, they were very sweet.

Susie’s Cuisine
Address: MacArthur Highway, Balibago, Angeles, Pampanga

Makansutra Hawkers in Manila
Makansutra Hawkers

6. Makansutra Hawkers

After finishing with the desserts at Susie’s Cuisine, we drove back to Manila. The traffic was brutal.

Located at SM Megamall in Manila, KF Seetoh recently opened Makansutra Hawkers, a hawker food court serving dishes mostly from Singapore and Malaysia.

At this point we took a quick break from the eating to attend the World Street Food Congress 2017 press conference where KF Seetoh and a number of others spoke about the event that will bring together unique street food dishes and stalls from around the world into a single food market in Manila.

Singapore claypot rice
Claypot rice

After the event, they served up a full spread of food at Makansutra Hawkers market.

Probably my favorite dish was the claypot rice, which has to be one of the world’s most comforting of all dishes. It brought me right back to a hawker center in Singapore.

cebu zubochon manila
Zubochon

7. Zubuchon Lechon

It wouldn’t be a complete Filipino food tour without lechon on the menu.

Lechon, the famous Filipino style of whole roast pig, is often known as one of the best versions of roasted pig in the world.

Years ago, Anthony Bourdain went to Zubuchon in Cebu, Philippines and proclaimed it as the “Best pig ever.”

lechon
Fishing off with lechon!

Since then Zubuchon has become a legend and they even opened a branch in Manila, serving the same pig recipe.

lechon skin
That skin was insane!

There’s no other way to say it other than the lechon was spectacular.

The skin is easily one of the most crispy things you can possible put in your mouth, and the meat underneath is so soft and tender it melts in your mouth. The combination of both at once is heavenly.

Watch the video

If you have a few minutes, press play below to watch the full video of this incredible 15 hour Filipino food tour.

(Or you can watch it on YouTube here)

Manila street food
World Street Food Congress 2017!

Conclusion

One of the things I love the most about KF Seetoh and Makansutra, and why I support them, is that they are aiming to look to the future of street food and find a solution to preserve so many incredible family recipes and stories.

I’m not sure if we know all the answers or ever will, but the World Street Food Congress event, is certainly making steps in the right direction and is an amazing initiative to preserve the best street food.

I had a fantastic time on this Filipino food tour, mostly in Pamapanga, but also eating at a few places in Manila. I hope that this post will give you just a taste of the multitude of flavors and dishes to try in the Philippines.

World Street Food Congress 2017 – If you’re in Manila from 31 May – 4 June 2017, don’t miss eating at World Street Food Congress 2017. It’s going to be a huge event, with a curated selection of street food hawkers that I can almost guarantee will impress your taste buds.

Also, thank you to Makansutra and Philippine Department of Tourism for inviting me on this food tour!



22 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • abhishek soni

    2 weeks ago

    Hey Mark,
    I simply loved this one!!Great blog 🙂 I am dying to eat Filipino food 🙂

  • James Maddock

    2 months ago

    Hi Mark Wiens,
    Great Blog.I am eager to eat Filipino Food. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

  • Yuri

    2 months ago

    Wow !!! Great blog. Thank you for sharing, Mark. I’m from the Phils., but i am now in KK. Might go to Brunei tom. Your tips on how to get there by ferry is a big help. Thanks a lot. I hope to see you in Manila soon.

  • rosemel

    2 months ago

    I enjoy watching your vdeos. And bcoz of your food trip i discover there’s a lot of street food have a great menu or dishes that i never know. Maybe sooner i wanna join your food travel. Keep on goin’ Mark, many fans of your are waiting in your next food travel.

  • Jesse Bailey

    3 months ago

    Mark, I discovered your videos through a friend who shred your link to Aling Sosing’s carinderia. I have been planning a trip back home to Manila this year after being away for 7 years and you just made me more homesick with your videos. I am a fellow foodie and aspiring chef, and I definitely love the places you have been to and plan to do my own food safari. Keep up the good work, hope they get you on food network soon.

  • Von Jeremee Torreliza

    3 months ago

    hi…im Jeremee from makati….I really enjoy watching your food blogs…i really really envy you…hehehehe…. anyway…if you come back to pampanga….you may want to visit “buffet 168 a.k.a. holiday land” in san fernando…a buffet if authentic pampanga dishes foe only P 168 pesos
    …and also “Lelot baculod” more or less 1km from buffet 168….its the best rice porridge in pampanga…ok..thats it for now…goodluck to your every journey…god bless…

    Jeremee

  • ann

    3 months ago

    mouthwatering! i feel so hungry right now… I’m at work and I’m watching this..
    multi tasking hehe

  • Mari Lü

    3 months ago

    Droooollllliiinnngggg!!!!! Thank you for visiting my beloved Philippines. And for enjoying our Food. 2 months more and we will get to taste authentic Filipino dishes again. As my husband calls it: Everyday Filipino Party! Yaaayyy… Greetings from Germany. 🙂

  • Rody Silva

    3 months ago

    I’ve seen quite a few of your vids on YouTube but the one on Aling Sosing’s, strangely enough, is the one that brought on some hyper salivation! I have seen and noted that carinderia several times and have heard about their food but have never tried it. Thanks to you, I will now surely do! And also those places in Pampanga.

    • Arnie C. Trinidad

      3 months ago

      It’s the first time I’ve seen any of your vids. I have become an instant fan. Next time you are in Quezon City, you should try Pochok’s Bangusan (grilled milkfish), a hole in a wall restaurant along Chino Roces Avenue, Quezon City. They serve grilled milk fish with a tomato celery salad spread on top of the deboned milk fish. I also love their nilagang baka (boiled beef with chinese cabbage and corn). The place is packed during lunch hours, a testament of how good the food is!

  • Kay

    3 months ago

    Great post! I’m fairly familiar with Kapampangan cuisine but the tour seemed to focus on less known stuff. I’ve been wanting to try Mexican tamales, I knew about those before learning we had our local version! I do like our local version though, it’s like a distinctly Southeast Asian take on the dish with the ground peanuts/achiote mixture, the glutinous rice paste and banana leaf wrap 🙂 You can find this in other Luzon provinces not just Pampanga. Sometimes we can buy this from rice cake vendors outside church after Sunday mass.
    I wish you could have tried other Kapampangan food like bringhe, carabao tapa, betute or frog legs, fried mole crickets, palabok, aligue (crab roe/fat sauteed in oil), and my favorite deep fried fish with fermented rice paste (called buro or balo balo kinda like koji rice I guess) wrapped in mustard leaves. Susie’s is also famous for its palabok, rice noodles with a shrimp gravy with fried garlic, scallions, hard boiled egg and chicharon (some versions have tinapa or smoked fish). They have some nice empanadas as well (although I personally buy my meat pies from a different Kapampangan store). If you went up further North to Nueva Ecija you’ll find kesong puti or kesilyo (quesillo) or salty water buffalo cheese wrapped in banana leaves. The flavor is similar to haloumi 🙂 Anyway I’m so happy you were able to feature Filipino cuisine, it’s more than balut and adobo 🙂 Next time you’re here do try the foods of Bacolod and Iloilo, it’s seafood and chicken galore and their spiced vinegar sinamak is the best in the Philippines 🙂

  • Theresa

    3 months ago

    Your food pictures is making me hungry!! Love to come home from work and to relaxed watching your videos! It’s so exciting & stress reliever!

  • Pamela Mandalihan

    3 months ago

    Mark, you have the best job in the world! 😁Nice article and very accurate 👏🏼

  • Larry

    3 months ago

    The Philippines has an underrated food culture … glad you got to experience it!

  • kfseetoh

    3 months ago

    thanks for the sweet( and sour plus spicy) piece here Mark… stay tuned, more deliciousness to explore ahead!

  • Rian

    3 months ago

    I’d love to visit World Street Food Congress 2017 , but too bad I cannot add any more off days 🙁

  • Bama

    3 months ago

    I have to admit, my knowledge of Filipino food was limited only to balut, adobo and Bicol Express. I’m particularly intrigued by Kapampangan cuisine — not only does everything look yummy, but also complex. Too bad now these dishes are not that easy to find, but that makes the search for it really special. Thanks again for another enlightenment, Mark!

    • Mark Wiens

      3 months ago

      Hey Bama, I’m with you as well, before visiting on this trip I had never heard anything about Kapampangan cuisine. Thank you for reading!