Pampanga Food Trip- A Culinary Tour of Pampanga 1.0
Spanky Tours Group Photo in Zapata's Mexican Restaurant. (Left to Right) Anton, my wife Rachelle, my son Aidan, Jay from Globe, Yuga of Yugatech.com fame, Abe from Convergys, Spanx our passionate tour guide blogging at spankyenriquez.blogspot.com, and Ajay of Annalyn.net or Blog-o-rama fame.
I don't know where to begin.
This was one of my dream culinary tour because I know that the Pampanga area is home of the best dishes in our country. Thanks to Spanx for sharing with us the word-of-mouth culinary secrets of the Pampanga area. We are now going to name this the Spanky Tours of Pampanga because of his passion and enthusiasm to show us around his hometown. This is a one-of-a-kind culinary tour and it beats the tours of any travel agencies because of Spanky's personal approach and you can feel the passion in him when he starts to share stories, food and history of the place. This meet was a barkada-food-gimik-cum-eye-ball of online friends and blog readers who like to eat, travel and take photos.
Someone should start to organize a Viaje del Sol equivalent in Pampanga, to promote do-it-yourself culinary tours in Angeles and San Fernando. In the absence of such, I'm glad that we have Spanx to show us the way and we are happy to share this experience with you. These culinary tours are not limited only to Filipino food because the intent of these food explorations is to savor the best of the best in the Pampanga area. We just scratched the surface and these Pampanga tours will be an ongoing series until we have explored the best of the best.
Join us in this food experience and we can assure you that this is one-of-a-kind adventure.
I was excited to finally meet Ajay, Spanx, Jay, Abe and Yuga. We were a cozy group of 8 and the sleepy rainy weather that morning have filtered out the real foodies. The photo above was taken at Shell NLEX Starbucks and we are all on-the-go as the food adventure awaits us.
The blog overlord Yuga (as Annalyn would describe him) with the camera bought by Adsense :) BTW, I also shared some tips on photography and I had fun showing Yuga some photography tricks along the way.
Spanky Enriquez is our passionate foodie tour guide. Definitely, not a dull moment with this guy. Doesn't he look like Troy Montero? Still a bachelor so we were teasing him that the next tour will include a blind dating angle into it :)
I finally met Ajay who featured Our Awesome Planet in blog-o-rama when I was just starting with my blog. She is a certified foodie and she beats all of us in the eating marathon.
My son, Aidan, who may be the most photographed baby in the whole world! This was a cute kodak moment that I'm glad I was able to capture.
We were also joined by Abe and Jay and I will respect their privacy because I'm not sure if they want to be highlighted in public via my blog.
First Stop: Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
One of the last remaining American restaurant of this kind and this was the reason we initiated this culinary tour. Spanx was raving about this secret honest-to-goodness american restaurant in Angeles, Pampanga. I was just so curious with this place because nobody in our sales group even know about this place so I guess this is through word-of-mouth.
Where can you find a true Shit-on-a-Shingle the way the American soldiers would have it? Made of ground beef with cream of muchroom and placed on a bread. Best eaten ASAP as this will get soggy in time. It sure doesn't look good to eat but it was otherwise! My wife was asking for a second taste but alas, i just finished it off without realizing that i haven't really shared my food with her.
If you are craving for a burger, this beats all the fast food burgers in the area. The meat was as tasty as it can be. You got to taste their french fries with mayo and sweet mustard -- you'll love it, I did!
>> Read more: VFW 2485 Canteen
Merienda Stop: Zapata's Authentic Mexican Restaurant
One of the last remaining authentic mexican theme restaurant in the country today. Can you think what is your best mexican restaurant? You can only name a few in the metro area huh? Either they did not survive or they resorted into a fast food type of quality in their food. When was the last time you would rave about a Mexican restaurant? I think this may be the only time and you can only find this gem in Angeles City.
The tacos were crunchy the way it should be with its crispy fresh ingredients and an addicting cheese. And you know what, they have this imported chili sauce that puts the Caramba Chili sauce in this picture to shame.
For our case, this combination plate of buritos, enchiladas, and chili con carne is enough for us to share after eating at VFW. Even after walking off the food we ate at Puregold, Clark for a shopping spree as Spanky proudly say that this is one of the supermarket with a good variety of merchandise, we were kinda full. But who can resist these mexican dishes? So off we go and indulge ourselves after all, this is a culinary tour. There were quite a handful of patronizers so we know we didn't go wrong in trying some of their food.
>> Read more: Zapata's Mexican Restaurant
Pasalubong Stop: Susie's
Susie is in the heart of Angeles City in the public market area so just imagine the traffic we had to go through to reach this place. We just didn't know what to order for we are still full but as we spent some time looking and looking we noticed that palabok was one of the favorite to be ordered by the customers and so, Ajay ordered one for take out. For a mere P35, I can say that it was worth it. This is a good alternative for the palabok of Amber and Jollibee when you are within the vicinity. Now I'm wondering why Pampanga was not known for palabok when it fact, they serve once of the best palabok in town together with their now known halo halo.
This is one of the best place for pasalubong shopping. I bought Sasmuan polvoron for my friends in Singapore in this place and it definitely beats the goldilocks version. Sasmuan polvoron is also available in SM Megamall and Centerpoint stalls. By any chance, would you know if they have other stalls within Makati?
The pride of Pampanga --- Tibok Tibok! This carabao milk de leche just have the right sweetness, milk taste and jelly consistency that beats maja blanca in any given day. My range of dessert vocabulary just got extended and I'm wondering where I can find this in the metro. Would you know?
Halo-Halo Stop: Razon's
This is one of the first few branches of Razon when it started to expand out of its original Guagua Pampanga location. The Razon outlet is very humble in its appearance and the inside interior is just like eating in a kitchen of an ordinary Filipino household. Now, I understand why the interiors of Razon's in MOA is a simple kitchen counter.
>> Read more: Razon's Halo Halo in Mall of Asia
The best halo halo in town. It is only P50, P10 cheaper than the ones sold in the metro. Quality is also the same but I would say that the quantity of the ingredients in my halo halo now has more. I like this version better because you really get to taste the macapuno with its chunky cuts and bigger slices of banana/ saba. Adding a last touch to this perfect halo halo is its mouth melting shaved ice along with its rich milk.
Here is a picture of the group inside Razon's Angeles city branch and stopping over at one of the original branches never fails to meet my expectation. BTW, Thanks to Yuga who treated us and paid for all the Razon's halo halo!
Mother Earth is one of the most popular Ka-pampangan brands (of the Tayag family fame) when it comes to meat. Worth noting is their Sisig that we bought as a pasalubong. I heard they are also available in Shopwise supermarkets so you don't really have to go to Pampanga to buy one. But if you are in the area, this is one of the must stop overs.
The Dinner Finale: Mely's Sisig
This is the best sisig place in Pampanga, contrary to the popular belief that Aling Lucing's Sisig near the riles (train tracks) is the best. I once raved about Aling Lucing along Pasong Tamo but I heard that the quality deteriorated already as this is a franchised branch.
Most of us are exposed to a sisig served in a sizzling plate and it is usually crunchy. But pampanga's best sisig is all about its taste and how the chopped pig ears are mixed with an excellent combination of vinegar, pepper, and secret ingredients. It was really sinfully good. The only thing also is that there are a lot of fat chunks which gives flavor to this dish. But for some, this would be a major turn off.
After all the eating marathon, we forgot to serve some space for dessert. We ended at 9pm. Spanky was surely the best foodie tour guide of Pampanga and we promised to have a part 2 of this culinary tour of Pampanga.
Forget-you-diet, ultimate food trip in Angeles City, Pampanga by Ajay
Pictures from the Pampanga Food Trip by Yuga
Check out Mexican Restos in Manila: http://www.ourawesomeplanet.com/awesome/mexican/