Pampanga is known as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines for all the mouthwatering reasons. A Pampanga food trip is all you need to taste the best dishes that the province has to offer.
Only a two-hour ride from Metro Manila, go up north and do what every foodie must do: E-A-T.
Restaurants to include on your Pampanga food trip: Where to eat, what to order
Where to eat in Pampanga, you may ask. Below is a list of must-try restaurants and dishes. These are the places where you can get to taste how authentic the meals are. Also included are the best sellers for each restaurant.
1. Everybody’s Café
Everybody’s Café is an exotic restaurant. So expect to see betute (fried stuffed frog), kamaru (fried crickets) and tapang kalabaw (cured carabao meat) in the menu. These items sold out fast, so be there as early as you can if you want to try them.
If your palate is not ready, the restaurant also serves Kapampangan comfort food such as mami, sinigang na sugpo, embutido, and tsokolate (chocolate batirol), which took at least three hours to prepare. But morcon, the house specialty, remains to be Everybody’s Café’s best-seller.
There is a mini shop inside the restaurant. They sell the most delectable sylvanas in Pampanga.
There are two Everybody’s Café branches; one in Nepo Mart in Angeles and MacArthur Highway in Del Pilar, San Fernando City. Choose the second one because it is the actual ancestral house that was turned into a restaurant.
2. Aling Lucing’s Sisig
Sisig is originally from Pampanga. Aling Lucing’s Sisig claims that it’s the first to offer the delicacy made from pig’s head meat (cheeks and ears) and other parts that are considered scrap then. Today, sisig is known as a ubiquitous beer match and is almost always present in every Filipino drinking session. Luciana Cunanan or simply Aling Lucing, the Sisig Queen, introduced the dish in the 1970s. Incidentally, Aling Lucing claims to serve the best sisig in Pampanga.
The streetside eatery also offers sizzling pusit (squid) on top of the best-seller, sisig. There are many options to choose from a la turo-turo style, including fish, pork, chicken, chicharon bulaklak (ruffled fat crackling), and tokwa’t baboy (fried tofu and steamed pork).
Aling Lucing’s Sisig is located in Glaciano Valdez St., Angeles City.
3. Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy
Best-sellers: Tokwa’t baboy and sizzling sisig
Another sisig joint in the province which also claims the origin of this indulgent delicacy is Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy. Their version is on the crispy side, though, although the same ingredients were used in preparing it. The carinderia began operation in 1989.
Its best seller other than sizzling sisig is tokwa’t baboy served with its special sauce made from soy sauce, celery, and tomatoes. You have never tasted something like this before for sure.
Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy is a few blocks away from Aling Lucing’s Sisig. It is located in San Andres St.
4. Café Fleur
Best-sellers: Crispy shrimp okoy (appetizer) and crispy pork belly and macadamia kare-kare (main course)
The famous Chef Sau del Rosario is behind the homey Café Fleur. The restaurant serves classic Filipino dishes but with a French twist. Of course, Kapampangan dishes like pako (fern) salad, buro (fermented rice), and fried hito (catfish) are a staple of its menu.
Café Fleur is also known for unique dishes such as crispy shrimp okoy (shrimp cake) and crispy pork belly and macadamia kare-kare (stew in peanut sauce)–its appetizer and main course best-sellers, salted egg bibingka (cassava) cheesecake, lamb caldereta with kesong puti (cheese), and pandan (screwpine) sansrival.
The restaurant is located in Miranda St. Brgy. Sto. Rosario, Angeles City.
5. Historic Camalig
Best-seller: Armando’s Pizza: Ang Pambansang Pizza
From its name, Historic Camalig used to be the Nepomuceno family’s house and rice barn. The restaurant offers unique pizza flavors, with which the owners dubbed as the “pambansang pizza” (national pizza). Armando’s Pizza: Ang Pambansang Pizza is actually Historic Camalig’s best-seller.
Speaking of which, Historic Camalig serves longganisa (sausage) and salted egg flavored pizzas. Other best-sellers include tinapa (smoked fish), tuyo (dried fish), and chicken adobo pizzas.
Cisan’s, another restaurant in Pampanga but serves Japanese-Thai-Vietnamese dishes, is owned by the Nepomuceno clan as well.
Historic Camalig is located a few meters away from Café Fleur. It is specifically located in Camalig Square, Dalan Sto. Rosario, Angeles.
6. The Original Razon’s
Best-sellers: Halo-halo and pancit palabok
From its humble beginnings as a refreshment parlor, The Original Razon’s became a household name thanks to its halo-halo and pancit palabok, which are both the diner’s best-sellers. The owners even included the tagline “The Halo-Halo & Palabok that Made Guagua Famous.”
Razon’s opened in 1972, serving what we now call the minimalist halo-halo. Their version has only four ingredients. The quaint family-friendly restaurant also has a mini shop inside selling chicharon (crackling), uraro (arrowroot), bottled sardines, and taba ng talangka (crab fat).
Razon’s is located along the MacArthur Highway in Mabalacat, Pampanga.
7. Apag Marangle
Best-sellers: Adobong camaru, sizzling balut, and relyenong betute
Apag Marangle, like Everybody’s Café, serves exotic dishes. What makes the experience more unique is the menu that resembles a banana leaf, and the table set inside connecting nipa huts partially submerged in the water.
The menu items are written in Kapampangan but also includes the English translation of each. Their best-sellers are adobong camaru (mole crickets in vinegar and soy sauce stew), sizzling balut, and relyenong betute (stuffed frog).
It also offers ningnang (grilled) and pulutan including tokwa’t liempo (fried tofu and steamed pork belly), sizzling balut, chili garlic camaro, and tugak king bawang ampong lara (chili garlic frog).
The rustic place is huge with a small pond where the catfish are contained, play area, mini zoo with birds and monitor lizard and selfie spot. The place is surrounded with greens so you’ll have a relaxing yet delicious meal.
8. 1956 Downtown Café
Best-sellers: Trianggulo, sinigang na lechon, crispy hito and halo-halo
1956 Downtown Café is owned by another renowned Kapampangan chef, Chef Claude Tayag of the Bale Dutung fame. The restaurant was established to commemorate his birth year.
The retro-styled diner serves unique dishes from crispy aromatic spring duck and lechon taco to halo-halo with crema de pastillas. Halo-halo is one of its best-sellers along triangulo (fried samosas filled with tinapa, pili nuts, and spinach), sinigang na lechon (roasted pig in sour stew), and crispy hito (catfish).
Eating here will make you feel nostalgic with all the memorabilia despite being a relatively small diner.
9. Nathaniel’s Bakeshop
Best-seller: Buko pandan salad
When Nathaniel’s opened in 1994, it mostly offers frozen dessert products such as juices, fruit salad, sylvanas, and its best-seller buko pandan salad. The last one sells out so fast the crew has to replenish the stock on the fridge several times daily.
Now, the selection widens to include chicharon, bucheron (chicken gizzard crackling), cashew flavored barquillos (crispy waffles), puto pao (steamed buns), and other local delicacies. A bigger portion of the main branch, where the plant is located at the back, is converted into a restaurant.
No one can mistake Nathaniel’s stores or products because of its mint green branding. The main branch is located in
10. Kusinang Matua ni Atching Lillian
Best-seller: San Nicolas cookies
Lillian Borromeo is famous for her San Nicolas cookies, which is also the Kusina’s best-seller. The kitchen is the first floor of her house. She hosts cooking demos here. She lives on the second floor. If she’s there, Atching Lillian welcomes an impromptu interview.
Her place is like a mini museum with all the artifacts that her family used when cooking. There are old ovens, stone mills, wooden mortar and pestle, sewing machine turned into a table, and of course, hundreds of biscuit molds that were passed from generation to generation.
Kusinang Matua ni Atching Lillian is not actually a full-blown restaurant, but including it in the list is a must too.
For your camping needs and essentials, shop at Philippine Camping Gears Online Shop.
COVID-19 TRAVEL GUIDELINES
Under GCQ Travel Guidelines, travel to Metro Manila provinces is allowed with no travel documents necessary. Tourists and travelers are reminded to maintain safe social distancing protocols, basic hygiene guidelines and to wear masks and face shields in public spaces.