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Deliciously Yours, Bataan








"Oh Doctor forgive me for I have sinned, my blood pressure spiking high again, ‘coz Bataan tempted me to eat again and again!" 

PawikanFestival maybe a famous annual festival in Bataan but that is not a sole reason for us to visit this province only once a year as this place caters also tourist attractions litter in the different municipalities. But aside from these attractions, you shouldn’t miss the foods and delicacies offered in the peninsula.

And trust me, Bataan is not a place for those who are in strict diet. This province was once part of the Great Pampanga and must be the reason why the people here have carry on the tradition of cooking with a twist and reinventing the traditional delicacies.  

You may find the food in Bataan somewhat no longer “original” as the culinary traditions were partly influenced by nearby provinces and international cuisines on the course of wars. In fact,  this is already my third food related article about my travel in Bataan and the food here just keeps me going. So here are my latest finds.

Café Kyoto in Plaza Hotel,  Balanga


The most obvious influence came from the Japanese. The Japanese may have destroyed Bataan in the past but their short-lived occupation made a huge impact in the local gastronomy. In Balanga City alone, there are dozens of Japanese restaurants you can find. I guess, the descendants of World War II frequently visit the place and these restaurants serve as haven to make them feel at home.  One I like the most is Café Kyoto found inside the Plaza Hotel in Balanga.

So far, Café Kyoto serves the best and authentic Japanese cuisine in the area and I truly recommend this place and you will surely come back for more after your first dine here.

 
Top notch selection that won my heart was the salad with a twist. I love the hundreds or say thousands of orange-colored fish eggs popping in my mouth. The savor was just delectable and appetizing that even after we finished our meal, my head keeps on looking if there was salad left on the bowl. Yummy indeed! 

 

The Spicy Tuna Maki is a must try in Café Kyoto. This sushi was a revelation for me as I have never tasted as good as this. I regret that I was too slow working with my chopsticks to steal more from the plate.

 
The Big Sashimi Platter was another blockbuster. For Php 700 ++,  you will get amused with the variety of fresh seafood perfectly sliced including my favorite salmon and tuna. The servings did not disappoint my discriminative palate.


I am a soup guy and the seafood ramen that I have tasted here was simply sumptuous that you would savor the umami from its soup. Yum.

Though you may find the food here a little pricey, your Php 1000 will go a long way. This restaurant deserves my 8/10 rating, BOW!

You'll find Cafe Kyoto at the 2nd Floor of Plaza Hotel Balanga. You may call +6347 2371037 for inquiries and reservations.


Aleng Lolengs Hutieu-an, Morong


Another foreign passed-on-food tradition is the Hutieu, a Vietnamese comfort food. This is the Chaolong counterpart in Palawan, also a Vietnam origin.  

 
Hutieu became a household food in Morong during the Vietnam War. The Vietnamese have stayed in Morong Bataan for decades until the war in their country subsided, leaving some of their traditions to the locals of Morong whom they have lived along side.

In Morong, you will find ‘Hutieu-an’ quite common. It is sold almost everywhere. During the Vietnamese temporary refuge in the Philippines, the refugees have passed on their tradition to the locals of Morong before they return to their country.

 
Aling Loleng’s Hu-tieu-an sits discreetly famous in Mayor St. in Brgy. Binaritan. The canteen serves various Vietnamese salads, Hutieu and breads for less than Php 60 that you won’t find common in the metro. Because of variety and affordability and I always go for the cheaper side,  Aleng Loleng got a grade of 9/10. 

Loleng's Hutieu-an
Mayor St. Brgy. Binaritan, Morong, Bataan
Contact: 0949.565.7466
Store hours: 7:00 am to 9:00 pm (Monday to Sunday)

Ima’s Pamangan, Pilar


But what I like most about Bataan is the way they are preserving the old tradition of cooking that’s becoming rare for today’s generation. To prove this, we found this this humble Eatery in Pilar serving Kapampangan favorites. You’ll surely enjoy the place with lots of choices  of home-cooked food without worrying much on your budget. I am giving them a name of "Pilar's Bonggang Carenderia".

 

Ima’s Kapampangan is a favorite carbo-loading restaurant in the province. As the name implies, the food here are of Kapampangan origin and gosh everything is sinfully delicious. Caution must be given to people with high level of cholesterol as they serve everything from Lechon to Longganisa to Buro and some of the famous Filipino favorites like Adobo, Sinigang and Nilagang Baka. Nanay Ima runs the simple restaurant with the help of the family members.

Nanay Ima simply cooks one of the best for Carenderia category, so she can run away with 7/10 grade with hundreds of clap clap clap. 

Stregato Gelateria in Balanga


Stregato Gelateria (photo courtesy of Kurt Ibañes)

Your meal wouldn’t be complete without a dessert and Stregato Gelateria is just around the Plaza Mayor  in Balanga for you to indulge with dozens of selections to complete your day. This ice cream parlor is a one stop shop for foodies and is a sought after in Bataan. And certainly a perfect venue to satisfy your cravings for sweets. The yummy looking interior alone is already inviting to dine in. (I  have almost licked the chair!)


What I love most about this place is the colorful and playful yet romantic ambience perfect for “sweet” lovers. You can even have a taste first of the selection of their ice cream to help you decide which one you like the most. Other than ice cream they also serve yummy sandwiches and rice meals that are affordable and suits your budget. If your budget for a date is restricted to less than Php 500, this place is just right for you.

Though my doctor says I can't eat much of the dairy products, tasting a bit of the sweets here have hypnotized me to give my 9/10 rating. 

You can find one of the shops at the first floor of Galeria Victoria Mall, adjacent to the Plaza Hotel Balanga. You may call +6347 2372003 for reservation and inquiries.


Pasalubongs at Bataan Tourism, Balanga


But aside from the food coming from the restaurants, it is highly recommended to give considerations on the local food products made from Bataan. The delectable smoked fish, dried herrings and shrimp pastes are truly sought after. In fact, I can’t get over of the preserved tinapa we bought from Balanga.

 
The sweets and candies are also delectable as well. You must not leave Bataan without Kasoy (cashew) in your bag. Cashew butter (spread) from Morong is another must try. 


But the top favorite I have tasted is the Chocolate Polvoron which I can assure you that a pack won’t be enough to satisfy you.   

To make it easier for you to get all of these or have a selection of other Bataan products, just visit the Bataan Tourism Center in Balanga for one stop shop and the tourism officers there will be happy to assist you. And if ever you made it there, please give my regards to their energetic Provincial Tourism head, Ms. Techie Banzon and also to Danica Tigas. But saying my name won’t assure you of getting a discount, but there is no harm in trying hahaha.

 
So far that’s all I have found in my recent visit to Bataan and I believe that there are still more lurking somewhere in the peninsula. This gastronomic feature wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of the ever supportive team of the Bataan Tourism.

Thanks for reading this and I am ending this article with a BURP!  ( please excuse me) 

I will update this article from time to time every time I find something delicious in my next visit to Bataan. If you wish to suggest a restaurant or local food please drop your comment below.

For more inquiries you can contact Bataan Tourism Center at the following:

Bataan Tourism Center
Roman Super Highway
City of Balanga, Bataan
2100 Philippines

Contact nos: +6347 237.4785/237.4476
Email: bataan_tourism@yahoo.com



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