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5 Foods You Have to Try in Pampanga

If you’re in Luzon and you’re up for a food adventure, your first choice of destination should be nothing else but the Culinary Capital of the Philippines, Pampanga.

This province has a lot to offer for those who are willing to be at risk of food coma.  From delectable appetizers, mouthwatering dishes, to delightful desserts, there will always be something to eat.

In order not to overwhelm you, we’ve come up with a list of the top 5 dishes you have to try when you’re visiting Pampanga.


1. Sisig Babi

You couldn’t say that you’ve been to Pampanga without feasting on the province’s iconic dish, sisig babi (pork sisig). Although this dish has been copied in many restaurants outside the province, nothing compares to the authentic Kapampangan pork sisig. No, the original sisig babi does not have mayonnaise or raw egg on top. The true pork sisig is a concoction of chopped pig parts (mostly from the head), liver, marinated and married in different herbs and spices.

Contrary to popular belief, Aling Lucing of Angeles City was not the one who invented the pork sisig. In fact, it was a certain Kadok Dinio, who first served the sisig babi as pulutan or accompaniment to beer in his eatery located at the city’s railroad crossing. Aling Lucing, who had a stall next to Dinio, reinvented the dish in the 70’s by adding other pig parts and grilling it instead of boiling it.  In the 80’s another Angeleño, Benedict Pamintuan thought of serving the sisig babi in a sizzling plate. These reinventions brought us the sisig we know today.

Fortunately, you could still have a taste of Pampanga’s sisig by visiting the original branch of Aling Lucing’s at the old railroad crossing of Angeles City. Another version (crispy) of the sisig babi that you shouldn’t miss is the one they serve at “Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy” that is also located in Angeles City.


2. Buro

You may not like the idea of eating fermented rice mixed with shrimp or fish, but buro, or what locals call as balo-balo is one dish (or condiment) that you should not miss eating when in Pampanga. Once you get past the pungent smell, you’ll see that buro is indeed delicious. Eat buro as condiment for deep-fried or grilled fish with mustasa leaves (mustard greens) and boiled okra, ampalaya (bitter gourd), and eggplant on the side.


3. Betute and Kamaru

If you’re up for something exotic, it’s betute (stuffed frogs) and kamaru (crickets) that you should try in Pampanga. Betute is usually served deep fried with ground pork meat as stuffing, while the crickets are served adobo style—cooked in garlic, onions, vinegar, and soy sauce. These dishes are a must-try if you want to earn the bragging rights of eating Kapampangan exotic food.


4. Murcon

This hearty dish is for the meat lovers. Murcon that is much like an embotido, is a savory meat roll stuffed with chorizo, eggs, carrots, and cheese smothered in its drippings before it is served. One of the best places to eat murcon is at Everybody’s Café that has one branch in the City of San Fernando and another in Angeles City. One order of Murcon will set you back around P300 to 400, but every bite is worth every peso you’ve spent.


5. Tibok-tibok

When you’re done with the main dishes and still have room for sweets, one dessert that you should try (and also bring back home) is tibok-tibok.  This dish was recently named by a local television show as the “the best Pinoy dessert”.

Tibok-tibok is made with carabao’s milk, a hint of dayap (local lemon) served with latik on top. It’s a smooth, creamy, and melt-in-your-mouth food that will make you come back to Pampanga for more.

Find more Pampanga Restaurants and Food & Dining places here.

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