CAVITE, home to the vanguards of the Philippine Revolution, is not known for its cuisine. Those from Manila often bypass the other towns of Cavite and instead, opt for a little R’n’R session at Tagaytay. You are mistaken if you think Cavite does not have any notable culinary treasures.
One of the reasons why Caviteño food is overlooked is because even local restaurants opt to serve westernized foods like pasta, pizza, and steaks—the reason being that Caviteño food can simply be made at home.
This makes tasting local cuisine more challenging for hungry visitors.
In collaboration with Food Writer Ige Ramos, and Cavitex, here’s how you can get to know Cavite through its food and history…
A typical Caviteño breakfast (referred to as Magdiwang breakfast by our guide), can consist of Salsa, Tapa, Tinapang Salinas, Tortang Itlog with burong mustasa, sibuyas at kamatis. Tableya Chocolate from Alfonso, Cavite; Fruits from Amadeo Cavite (Pineapple, Watermelon and Papaya).
Malen’s Restaurant – Malen Bunda
9025 Magdiwang Highway, Noveleta, Cavite
Telephone: +6346 438 5027 and +6346 438 1634
Café Amadeo’s “Pahimis Blend” can substitute the Hot Tsokolate—it’s a kind of coffee with cinnamon-like undertones.
Amadeo Coffee (Cafe Amadeo Pahimis Blend) and Organic Rice Sinangag
Bio Reis Trading – Arnold Arevalo
Blk66 L40 Starling St. Grand Catalina Gate, Antel Grand Village, General Trias, Cavite
Telephone: +63 917 623-6524
The Tinapang Salinas is made of herring (Tunsoy) and should be eaten with a lot of garlic rice, as the smoke and salt are quite overpowering.
The Caviteño Tamales are made with steamed rice flour (galapong), pork, chicken, chickpeas, and egg. These are a lot sweeter and nuttier than the varieties I’ve tasted in Pampanga.
Robinson’s Tamales – Ellen Guevarra
P. Burgos St., San Roque, Cavite City
Telephone: +6346 431 0315 and +6346 431 1285
The “Salsa” concoction made of mangoes, peppers, salted egg, and cucumbers is a colorful play on very Filipino flavors—sweet, salty, and sour.
The Tortang Itlog with egg, tomato, and mustard greens are a classic combination to the sweet-salty Tapa.
The star of the show, however, is the Imus Longganisa made by the Reyes Family of Cavite.
The flavors are well balanced and not too heavy on the garlic, making way for the other ingredients. These tasty sausages are all-natural and contain no preservatives or nitrates.
BIG BEN’S KITCHEN (Gene Gutierrez)
385 Medicion 1st-D Imus, Cavite, Philippines
Email: [email protected] / [email protected]
Telephone: +63 46 435 1967
Mobile: +63 915 137 1888 / +63 918 505 5886
Facebook: D’Famous Imus Longganisa
Cavite was primarily made of Friar lands like the ones in Naic. The Spanish colonizers would force the Filipinos to plant sugar, coconut, and rice, which have historically come to be known as the “crops of oppression.”
Since most of the harvest and profit would go to the Friars, the Filipinos used the food ways of the Colonizers as a form of protest—this is how Kakanin was born.
Kakanin are snack foods or desserts made from the “crops of oppression”: coconut, sugar, and rice.
The Sinudsod is crepe-like snack made of fermented rice (eaten by farmers then) that is submerged in sweet, cold coconut milk.
It gets its name from the cooking process where the rice batter is spread on heated banana leaves and scraped off.
Sinudsod, Alikaya, Muche
Aling Julia’s Kakanin – Julia Manalo
Barangay Makina, Naic, Cavite
Telephone: +6346 856 1011
The Alikaya is made of purple rice and topped with “Latik”, a sticky byproduct of cooking coconut milk.
This tasty snack, called Muche, is made of rice flour tinted with annatto seeds and stuffed with sweet Mongo bean paste.
CAVITEÑO LUNCH at CALLE REAL
Along Calle Real in Tanza, Cavite is a mom and pop restaurant that Ige used to serve tasty local dishes.
A Calle Real, or “Camino Real”, is historically a street that leads to a church during colonial times.
Owners, Mr. & Mrs. Tahimic, gave up their jobs in pharmaceuticals to run the establishment.
This house was built during the American period, which explains the modern, yet modest architecture.
Many Caviteños benefited from the agrarian reforms made by Governor William Howard Taft, creating a very comfortable mercantile class.
Inspired by the American period, we also got to try out the Tofu Sisig, which makes for an interesting protein substitute for the typical Pork jowls.
The Dried Pusit Salad has mango, tomato, cucumber, squid, and peanut brittle. Very refreshing!
Drizzle the salad with a dash of Tamarind dressing to make it tangy.
A Calandracas is a wet noodle dish (sometimes very soupy) made with glass noodles, shrimp and sweet potato. The taste and consistency is quite similar to Sotanghon.
This dish was inspired by an age-old funeral practice where food offerings to the dead were mixed up in a huge pot and cooked!
Cavite is well known for its fishing culture—it is especially abundant in squid, shrimp, mussels, and oysters.
The Paella Negra is an ode to Cavite’s rice and fish-producing period.
Because shrimp is highly abundant in the area, it used in this tasty Pork Binagoongan.
Cavite also has this very flavorful kind of fish sauce called “Patis Tanza”. Instead of it being made from your typical fish, it is made from Alamang, or small shrimp.
It has a stronger smell and is more umami than regular patis.
CALLE REAL RESTAURANT
Sta. Cruz Street, Tanza, Cavite
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 046 5052836
Mobile: +63 917 628 1692 / +63 922 883 9532
Facebook: Calle Real Restaurant
MERIENDA IN CAVITE
For second “merienda” or snack time, you can enjoy some robusta coffee with a side of “Sopas Tanza”, a kind of tamarind-shaped dry biscuit.
The Sopas were made by Kaibigan Bakery of Tanza in the 1920’s after the revolution, before WWII. Since many notable businesses popped up during the 20s, it shows how peacetime leads to prosperity.
Cavite serves up this delicious Pancit Pusit (rice or bean noodles cooked in squid ink) from Asiong’s. It’s one of the most flavorful I’ve ever tasted!
Considered the pride of Cavite, Asiong’s “carienderia-style” dishes have attracted food lovers from all corners of the Philippines. Over the course of more than 50 years, it has become a must-see (or eat) destination in Cavite.
The Halo-Halo from Asiong’s is a summertime favorite made with Leche Flan Yema, pure Ube paste and milk.
Paterno Street in Caridad, Cavite City
Mobile: +63 926 713 9400
Kaybiang Tunnel at Ternate
This tunnel cuts the travel time to Nasugbu, Batangas from 2.5 to just 1.5 hours.
Casa Hacienda de Naic
Casa Hacienda de Naic is one of the last standing Hacienda houses erected by the Friars and where the Naic Assembly was held in April 17, 1897.
Also called Our Lady of Assumption Church, Maragondon Church is a national heritage built by the Jesuits. It gets its name from an onomatopoeia for thunder!
The church was built in the 1600’s and still fashions the original doors made of ornate woodcarvings.
Museum of Andres Bonifacio
At the Museum, you can learn about the life, death and capture of Andres Bonifacio.
The tour begins with a short film viewing of Bonifacio’s life.
You also get an overview of how the two political factions of the Katipunan, the Magdalo and Magdiwang, were formed.
Dramatic vocal reenactments of of Andres Bonifacio’s trial and death can also be played at the museum.
Bonifacio Trial House (Museo ng Paglilitis ni Bonifacio)
Curator: Melanio Guevarra
Considered one of the must-see destinations in Kawit, Cavite, this is the place where Philippine Independence was born.
Inside you can have a guided tour about his life, death, and presidency.
The museum includes Aguinaldo’s memorabilia,
… the rooms of his children,
… medicine box,
… and dining area.
The shrine is full of secret passages and escape routes added to the mansion early into Aguinaldo’s presidency.
It’s interesting to note how cautious Aguinaldo was. The family water tank is indoors since water tank poisoning became a popular modus operandi.
When you’re done with the guided tour of the mansion, make sure you catch the light show at around 6PM to fully appreciate the experience!
National Historical Commission of the Philippines
Aguinaldo Shrine (Dambana ni General Emilio Aguinaldo)
Officer-in-Charge: Gina Ayran
Museum Guide: Lean Samala Alcantara-Aldea
Cavite El Viejo Heritage Tourism Association
Congratulations to Ige Ramos, Cavitex Infrastructure, and Easytrip for organizing such a culturally enriching trip.
Mabuhay ang Pilipino!
Live an Awesome Life,
Sheila of Team Our Awesome Planet
Disclosure: Our experience is courtesy of Cavitex, Easytrip, and Ige Ramos. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.
P.S. When in Cavite, don’t forget to try the Quesillo (a cheese made from Carabao’s milk).
First and foremost, getting to Cavite is less time consuming thanks to the Cavitex Infrastructure. You may avail of a reloadable RFID tag by Easytrip to reduce the hassle of tollgates.
Not only does Cavitex make travel quicker, but they also have an eco-friendly CSR (headed by Julius Kinol) to go along with the development.
PEATC (Public Estates Authority Tollway Corporation) has implemented a program made up of volunteers to promote environmental awareness and the preservation of our mangrove forests along the coast.
Due to the rapid urbanization of surrounding areas, our mangroves end up catching any floating debris—as much as 10 sacks of garbage per day.
Mangroves are beneficial to the ecosystem, as they not only provide a habitat for fish, prevent erosion and flooding, but also desalinate water.
Naturally, Mangrove seedlings are meant to fall from branches and penetrate the soil below the water. Unfortunately, there is so much garbage along the coast that volunteers must manually plant the seedlings.
The garbage is often repurposed into containers for seedlings.
Garbage that cannot be repurposed or recycled is burnt in an eco-friendly manner.
The PEATC built a custom carbon filtration device to help reduce toxic fumes from the burning—black smoke that enters the filter becomes white, or completely disappears from the exhaust!
Residual waste is then transformed into a thick, moldable substance…
… that is then used to create pylons, flower pots, and even tiles!
Cavitex is a great way route to take if you want to experience Cavite the most convenient way.
Cavitex Infrastructure Corporation
Off to Cav(eat)te!