August 23, 2015

7 ‘Foodventures' to take outside Metro Manila

People are always going out for adventures and food tripping! Check this out and enjoy your 'foodventures'. lists seven locales beyond Metro Manila that have made major contributions to the country’s rich culinary culture.

As varied and trendy as restaurants are that pop up almost every day in Metro Manila, there’s nothing quite like going back to homegrown meals you’ll find at their place of origin. Every Philippine province and region has a signature dish they’re proud to call their own, making the task of sampling the best they have to offer an adventure in itself.

Here’s’s list of seven places outside Metro Manila that are known not just for their history and practices, but also for their trademark gastronomic delights.


Recognized as the culinary capital of the Philippines, Pampanga is a melting pot of local and international culture when it comes to food. During the Spanish times, colonizers taught the locals the basics of Spanish cooking, which influenced many of the province’s dishes. Some of their more mainstream offerings include the world-famous sisig, lechon kawali, and the cured sweet meats tocino and longganisa. If you’re up for a little adventure, some exotic dishes you might want to sample are adobung kamaru (mole crickets cooked in garlic and vinegar), betute tugak (stuffed frogs), and calderetang barag (a spicy stew of monitor lizard).

Ilocos Region

Have you ever heard of poqui-poqui, kabatiti, and utong? These terms might bring to mind less-than-kid- friendly images, but seemingly funny names are just one of the things that set Ilocano dishes apart from the rest. These are actually dishes made of various vegetables, much like the more PG-13 pinakbet, dinengdeng, and dinoydoy also from Ilocos. But while veggie concoctions seem to be the province’s specialty, one can’t take three steps within the area without stumbling upon other equally famous meat- based foods like Vigan longganisa, Ilocos empanada, and bagnet.


When it comes to rice cakes, you can’t beat Rizal. Their recipes and methods of cooking these sweet delicacies were influenced by various cultures, and remain the same to this day. Cainta put their city on the map by baking the biggest rice cake ever, subsequently earning the moniker “Bibingka Capital of the Philippines.” After paying homage to the Virgin of Antipolo, patrons indulge in the city’s version of suman, a glutinous rice treat cooked in pre-made tubes of young palm leaves.

Bicol Region

If you’re a glutton for punishment, heaven for you would be Bicol Region, where some of the country’s spiciest dishes originated. Coconut milk and chilies go hand-in-hand in many of the region’s best grub, such as Bicol express, a pork dish named after a train that travels from Manila to the Bicol region; kinunot, an appetizer made of malunggay and stingray meat; and laing, a vegetable and meat dish composed mainly of gabi leaves.

Roxas City, Capiz

The “Seafood Capital of the Philippines” has an economy that thrives on aquaculture due to the plethora of marine life in the area, which is why their local dishes celebrate the diversity and flavors of their most abundant yield. Angel wing clams (locally known as diwal), crabs, scallops, oysters, and shrimp are often simply steamed so one can enjoy them in their fresh form; however, many locals have learned to kick their preparation up a notch with fusion cooking.


Who can forget when world-renowned chef and food critic Anthony Bourdain went to Cebu and declared the province’s version of lechon (roast pig) “best pig ever”? Whether in belly form or in its whole skewered glory, what distinguishes Cebu lechon is the combination of herbs like lemongrass and leeks that give it its unique flavor as it roasts. Cebu’s suckling pig is so acclaimed, in fact, that you can buy them at airports in boxes to bring back home. Apart from Cebu lechon, a few common local favorites when it’s time for dessert are otap, caramel tarts, and dried mangoes.

Sulu and Tawi-Tawi

As a location unaffected by Hispanicization, foods in these areas are not influenced by Spanish cooking, but their techniques are more closely related to nearby Malaysia. One standout trait of foods in the region is the use of spices not common in the country, such as turmeric, coriander, and cumin. The satti—a local version of Malaysian satay—is skewered and grilled meat usually served in a bowl of sauce. Rendang, which traces its roots to Indonesia, is a dish composed of beef, lamb, or goat and various spices and is typically served during ceremonies such as weddings and Eid al-Fitr.

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