Expect more visitors to Quezon this week as the province celebrates a number of festivals, from the famous Pahiyas in Lucban to Agawan in neighboring Sariaya.
To those who are planning to join the festivities, take the opportunity to go on a food trip and try some of Quezon’s well-loved dishes.
Here are seven must-eats in the province, as sampled by ABS-CBNnews.com during a familiarization trip organized by the Philippine Tour Operators Association and the Department of Tourism.
Lucban longganisa. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
A visit to Lucban, Quezon will not be complete without trying the municipality’s take on longganisa (Filipino sausage). Lucban longganisa is known for its garlicky taste and is not that sweet compared to its counterparts in other provinces.
This delicious sausage is best enjoyed with a heaping serving of rice (steamed or fried, doesn’t matter) and a sunny side up egg.
Pancit habhab. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
Another Lucban specialty is pancit habhab, or miki noodles sautéed with sayote, pork meat and soy sauce and drizzled with vinegar.
Natives prefer eating this simple yet tasty everyday dish by slurping it from pieces of banana leaves without utensils, or habhab style. Eat it with garlicky longganisa for a complete Lucban experience.
Hardinera. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
Loved by Lucban residents, the hardinera is a type of meatloaf that is usually served in fiestas, wedding and baptismal receptions, and other special occasions. It is prepared in an oval-shaped pan called llanera and is topped with egg and bell peppers.
While it does not look that appetizing, the hardinera certainly makes up for it in terms of flavor. The tender pieces of diced pork lend a nice texture to the dish, which is like a cross between meatloaf and another popular dish, kaldereta.
Budin. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
The town of Tayabas is known for a delectable cassava cake called budin, which is baked with eggs, coconut, sugar and margarine and topped with cheese.
Enjoy eating this round cassava cake on the spot or bring a few of them home as pasalubong to family and friends.
Yema cake/leche puto
Several stores and resorts in Quezon offer the province’s popular yema cake and leche puto. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
Several stores and resorts in Quezon offer the province’s popular yema cake and leche puto, which are said to have originated in the town of Tayabas.
The yema (Filipino custard candy) icing and filling and grated cheese topping give a sweet-salty flavor to the light and fluffy sponge cake and is a nice way to end a meal. The leche puto, on the other hand, is a lovely combination of steamed rice cake and leche flan (caramel custard).
Kalamay. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
Ideal as an afternoon snack, the kalamay is a native cake made from ground sticky rice, sugar and coconut milk.
Some natives prefer eating it before it is completely cooked, with the sticky rice swimming in a thick syrup that tastes a lot like coco jam.
Kilawin na baboy
Kilawin na baboy. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
Last on the list is what is said to be an heirloom dish called kilawin na baboy na may atay. Bite-size pieces of pork are soaked in vinegar, drained and sautéed, with chopped liver, garlic and shallots eventually added to the mix.
Natives usually eat the kilawin with kalamay and lambanog, a Filipino alcoholic beverage made from coconut.