19 dishes make case for Pampanga as culinary capital of PH

Jeeves de Veyra

Posted at Dec 22 2017 08:07 PM | Updated as of Dec 23 2017 08:30 AM

ANGELES CITY -- “Culture is best served on a platter,” mused chef Sau Del Rosario in his opening remarks during the Kapampangan Festival 2017 held recently at the massive Fontana Conventional Hall in the Clark Freeport Zone. 

With President Rodrigo Duterte in attendance, the Kapampangan Festival 2017 was a joint project of the Pampanga provincial government, the Department of Tourism, and Culinarya Pampanga. 

Th newly established Culinarya Pampanga is a network of chefs and restauranteurs from one of the culinary capitals of the Philippines. With Pampanga’s deep culinary history as its inspiration, it counts preservation and promotion of the recipes and food stories handed down by word of mouth as its mission.

Culinarya Pampanga’s illustrious members showcased a menu of diverse influences and recipes during the festival. 

Here is a taste of what was served during the event:

1. Des Tanglao Castro (Teaspoon Cafe)

Salted egg, tomato, onions and pako (fern) was a pleasant savory starter from the creator of the Queso De Bola Cheesecake. Photo by author

2. Claude Tayag (Bale Dutung)

Claude Tayag’s Bulanglang Sugpo has delighted visitors from all over the world who come to eat at his own corner of culinary heaven. Using guava as the souring agent of this version of sinigang gives it a mellow sour taste. Photo by author

3. Chris Locher (Amare by Chef Chris)

Chef Chris is credited with creating the rolled pizza. His Kapampangan Rolizza, made with salted egg and onions with a side of atchara, is a tribute to the province he now calls home. Photo by author

4. Froilan Cruz (Grand Palazzo Hotel/Cioccolo)

Chef Froilan Cruz showed off a more delicate preparation of buro, hiding a sliver of catfish fillet in his dish Photo by author

5. Josephine Mendoza (Toll House Catering)

Mendoza’s version of pancit luglug stands out, not only because of her rich sauce, but also by using kamias to add that extra sour note instead of calamansi. Photo by author

6. Bong Sagmit and Ramon Tang Jr. (Century Hotel/BBQ and Co./Pigs and Pints)

This tag team came up with two dishes: Relyenong Palaka, deep-fried stuffed frog; and Pindang Damulag, thinly sliced cured carabao meat. Photo by author

7. Sau del Rosario (25 Seeds/Café Fleur/Frida)

Rolling bringhe inside pork belly is a sure hit, each bringing its flavors into Sau Del Rosario’s meaty entree. Photo by author

8. Zeny Cunanan (Aling Lucing)

Sisig from Aling Lucing’s Zeny Cunanan doesn’t fail to impress even if served at room temperature without the sizzling plate. Photo by author

9. Den Lim (Den Lim’s Kitchen)

Den Lim’s spin on the liver-rich kilayin shows why his restaurant Den Lim's Kitchen is one of the hardest places to book a table in Pampanga. Photo by author

10. Norma Garcia (Taldawa)

This kalderetang kambing is deceptively mild -- until couple of seconds later when the spice to deliver a pleasant punch to your tastebuds! Photo by author

11. Howard Dizon (Howard Dizon Catering)

Asadong dila with castanas is not made like Chinese-style asado. Rather, it’s made with tomato-based sauce whose sweetness nicely complemented the chestnuts and lengua. Photo by author

12. Poch Jorolan (Everybody’s Café

While this San Fernando must-eat destination is known for more unconventional entrees like camaro and palaka, Poch Jorolan prepared his Mother of all Meatloaf, made even better with rich gravy made up of his morcon’s drippings. Photo by author

13. Vince Garcia (Rainforest Kichene)

The chicken galantina, presented as a whole chicken packed with Garcia’s own stuffing, is a favorite entrée at his restaurant on the outskirts of Angeles. This is a far cry from the usual chicken roulades served everywhere else. Photo by author

14. Governor Lilia G. Pineda

Even the Pampanga’s governor, Gov. Lilia G. Pineda, joined the chefs with family heirloom recipes of pititian, Pampanga’s version of chicharon; and tidtad, their own version of dinuguan. Photo by author

15. Judy Uson (Cafe Noelle)

“The Cake Artist” of Pampanga takes on Kapampangan tamales. Bobotu is a sweet-savory pocket of ground rice, peanuts, coconut milk with chicken and egg. Photo by author

16. Ian Jocson (Lola Nor’s Meryendahan)

Putong babi, pan de sal with a layer of buttery ground beef, and tsokolate de batirol that Lola Need Café serves as filling sides to the pancit palabok. Photo by author

17. Atching Lillian Borromeo (Atching Lilian’s Kitchen)

When you need to know anything about Pampangueno culinary history, you look for Atching Lilian Borromeo. She brought her own fluffy ensaymada and sanikulas, cookies with the stamp of Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of bakers. Photo by author

18. Patricia Tayag (Sweet Maven Cakes and Pastries)

One of the best places for desserts in Angeles City brought bibingka and puto bumbong right in time for Christmas. Photo by author

19. Susie Yabit (Susie’s Cuisine)

Susie’s Cuisine is part of the reason Pampanga has become known for kakanin. While Susie Yabit’s mochi and tibok tibok are old favorites, her duman kalame made of naturally green colored rice is sure to become a new favorite. Photo by author