“When our souls are happy, they talk about food.” – Charles Simic.
One of the most exciting aspects of travel is discovering new food, trying out new delicacies, and exploring something different.
Through food, we discover a particular place’s cultural heritage and are given a glimpse of its colorful history. It is precisely for this reason that food tourism has grown exponentially popular over the years. Unfortunately, trying out new food does not always come cheap—especially if you wish to sample only the best of the best. However, this does not mean that you are barred from going on food trips on a budget.
As it is, some of the most unique food finds can be found in the humblest of eateries and restaurants. As a food enthusiast, looking for such places falls on your shoulders. One of the best places to go for affordable eats in the Philippines is La Union which is also regarded as the surfing capital of the North.
Owing to its popularity among urban dwellers and foreigners alike, many local tourists have mistakenly thought of restaurants, cafes, and eateries in La Union to be expensive. However, if you just know where to go, you will be surprised to find that it is an excellent place for an affordable food crawl as well. La Union has an assortment of restaurants with a melange of offerings—from Asian fusion cuisine to healthy food bowls, to Text Mex, to Pinoy favorites, and of course, fresh seafood. Menus are affordable, with prices ranging anywhere from 70PHP to 300PHP for single orders. So, if you are itching to go on a food trip up north, here are some of the best places to grab some grub in La Union:
a.) Great Gamble Seafood Shack
Seafood lovers, rejoice! If you wish to snack on the juiciest and thickest shrimp you will ever have in your life, then head on over to the Great Gamble Seafood Shack. Munch on delectable seafood while watching the waves kiss the shore. The Great Gamble Seafood Shack is one of La Union’s beloved and best restaurants, and if you are in the area, you should definitely stop by. Unlike most seafood restaurants, the Great Gamble Seafood Shack serves unique seafood recipes. They are quite known for their seafood brioche rolls (topped with fresh scallops, shrimps, and crabs), burgers, sandwiches, seafood pasta, and rolls.
Price Range: Php180-300
In the mood for excellent Thai dishes and Asian street food? Well, look no further than Seawadeeka, a restaurant joint that had its humble beginnings as a food truck but now has a permanent restaurant in San Fernando, La Union. Today, it is frequented by tourists and locals and is beloved for its Asian fusion dishes. Some of their best-selling food are nasi goreng, sambal, and pad Thai.
Price Range: Php220 and under
c.) Papa Bear Asian Smokehouse
If you want to feast on a hearty meal after hitting the waves, be sure to visit Papa Bear Asian Smokehouse. Situated in Urbiztondo, this restaurant offers some of La Union’s best Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine. Some of the crowd favorites are sambal pork, rendang, nasi lemak, char kway teow, and so much more. Vegans are not left out either, as the restaurant offers tasty vegan options such as Thai salad, vegan kare kare, and so much more.
Price Range: Php180-300
For the best deals complemented by unbeatable seaside views, head on over to Choka. Your family and friends will have a grand time sampling their various assortments of tray meals that are good for 8-10 people with prices ranging from Php1000 to Php2500. Some of the menu items you can fill your tray mills with are crispy fish, savory beef casserole, salpicao, spring rolls, and so much more. Choka also features breakfast meals such as fancy waffles dusted with confectioner sugar and other filling snacks, making it the perfect place to break your fast after your morning surf.
e.) Sabong Fried Chicken
Fried chicken enthusiasts should never miss an opportunity to dine at La Union’s very own chicken joint, Sabong Fried Chicken. Here, you can satisfy your crispy cravings and bite into a juicy, delectable chicken. More importantly, your fried chicken experience is elevated here as the restaurant offers a wide assortment of mouthwatering and delicious sauce flavors to choose from, such as Honey Bagoong, Elyu Original, Korean Soy, and Gocho Mayo.
Price Range: Php180- Php 520
f.) Olas Banditos
Fans of Tex-Mex cuisine will definitely love Olas Banditos. This beachside open food joint offers some of the most beloved Tex-Mex favorites such as quesadillas, nachos, churros, burritos, tacos—and so many more. Grab your grub with a bottle of beer, and you are all set for the afternoon.
Price Range: Php300 and under
If you have a penchant for Pinoy food, head on to Tagpuan. Translating to “meeting or gathering” place in Filipino, Taguan features classic Pinoy favorites and comfort dishes such as silog bowls, Elyu bagnet, lugaw, and so many more.
Price Range: Php70-120