Pampanga restaurants possess rich and vibrant flavours, making it a true food haven in the Philippines. The title Culinary Capital of the Philippines isn’t just for show, it’s heritage worn proudly by its culinary artisans. The province has a diverse range of dishes that reflect the region’s enduring love for good food. Whether you’re stuffing your face with savoury delights like sisig and kare-kare or snacking on delectable sweets and native delicacies, eating through these restaurants is a tantalising experience.
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Pampanga restaurants to indulge in the Culinary Capital of the Philippines
1. Cucina ni Atching Lillian
If you’re exploring and immersing yourself in traditional Kapampangan cuisine, then Cucina ni Atching Lillian has to be one of the most important Pampanga restaurants to visit. Their dishes go through meticulous processes that are authentically Kapampangan: From the careful use of regional ingredients to grinding their spices down by hand, Cucina ni Atching Lillian wears its Kapampangan heritage proudly.
By far one of the most outstanding dishes in Cucina ni Atching Lillian is binulo na manok. To make this dish, pieces of chicken are placed in an empty bamboo tube with both ends stuffed with herbs and spices. Then, the tube is slowly spun over an open fire to cook the chicken inside. This method helps retain the tender and juicy texture of the chicken while adding earthy and smoky notes to the protein.
2. Angeles Fried Chicken
Pampanga has an answer to a certain colonel that introduced world-famous fried chicken with 11 different herbs and spices. For fried chicken lovers, a visit to Angeles Fried Chicken in Angeles should be mandatory. This joint is one of the longest-serving Pampanga restaurants, since the 1960s(!), and for good reason. Their chicken is consistently good: crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. But more importantly, it’s incredibly tasty; the restaurant knows how to use herbs and spices to make the most delicious fried chicken around. Take one bite, and it’s not hard to see why. Imagine churning out precise and consistent quality for decades!
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3. Aling Lucing’s Sisig
We don’t know exactly when Pampanga was first dubbed as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines. But we’re pretty convinced that the birth of Aling Lucing’s Sisig had something to do with it. Legend has it that the Philippine culinary delight that is sisig came from this very restaurant! And even without knowing this, the taste of their sisig alone would make anyone a fan. Filipino foodies are truly grateful for this dish, so we offer Aling Lucing only the highest of honours!
4. Rabbeatchon Food Hub
Pampanga restaurants, while no doubt excellent when it comes to traditional Filipino dishes, are just as proficient when it comes to more eccentric dishes. How does eating roasted rabbit sound? Better yet, what does it taste like? Rabbeatchon Food Hub offers an answer to that query with its absolute best efforts. Most of their menu items offer many creative ways to cook and prepare this unconventional choice of protein. Once you’ve tasted the crispy skin and juicy morsels off their roasted rabbit, you’ll find that there is simply nothing quite like it for lunch!
5. Everybody’s Cafe
Maybe a few people enjoy rabbits more than once a year. But can anyone say the same for fried crickets? Yes, believe it or not, kamaru or fried crickets are sought-after delicacies in Pampanga. For an excellent helping of these yummy and crunchy creatures, Everybody’s Cafe is a must-visit; the restaurant famously serves this tasty delicacy.
Of course, this doesn’t mean crickets are the only dish that Everybody’s Cafe cooks. In fact, this legendary restaurant is where most tourists go for undeniably Kapampangan cuisine. Their pancit luglug and bringhe are specialities that both locals and tourists eat on the daily.
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6. The SOUQ
The SOUQ in San Fernando truly exhibits the multifaceted character of its namesake. Souqs are colourful bazaars in North Africa and the Middle East showcasing a variety of goods from many regions and continents. Like these bazaars, Kapampangan culinary techniques are often the base for their fusion cuisines, with influences coming in from Italian and Middle Eastern flavour profiles. Try their Krispy Kare-Kare or Krispy Binagoongan for modern takes on classic Filipino dishes.
7. Piccolo Padre
Clark is a prominent city in Pampanga that’s known for its multicultural and international community. As such, there are many restaurants in Clark, Pampanga that offer excellent continental cooking. For a supreme example of European cooking in the middle of Pampanga, head over to Piccolo Padre. With the way their dishes look, one can almost believe that Michelangelo or Da Vinci is part of the cooking staff. And they taste as beautiful as they look! Their ahi katsu is a stroke of culinary genius, especially when the delicate protein melts in the mouth.
8. Abe’s Farm
Set amidst the lush greenery at the foot of Mt. Arayat, Abe’s Farm provides a tranquil escape from any buzzing city. Locally sourced ingredients are the stars of the restaurant’s menu, as these are responsible for their dishes’ rich flavours and even their identity. Whether you’re indulging in kare-kare, sampling flavorful sisig, or savouring delectable desserts, Abe’s Farm is Kapampangan cuisine created at its most faithful.
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9. Historic Camalig Restaurant
Sometimes, the culinary prowess of Pampanga is so impressive that it feels unfair. A testament to this is the humble pizza from Historic Camalig Restaurant. While their menu is undeniably Kapampangan, their pizza has earned renown among foodies. Using ingredients found in Kapampangan cuisine, they created something casual to eat while still retaining the rich Pampanga flavour profile. And their toppings are as simple as sliced longganisa and salted egg!
If you can’t visit the original branch in Angeles, you can also find them in the many SM Pampanga restaurants. Outside the restaurant, they go by the name of Armando’s Pizza, named after the restaurant’s speciality.
10. Bale Dutung
If you’re ready to experience the best of food in Pampanga, the best option is to book a meal in Bale Dutung. This breathtaking restaurant has a traditional Filipino design, formed with mighty strong lumber as its foundation. Trees and gardens surround the restaurant, providing diners with a fresh breeze as they eat.
But the ambience is just a part of Bale Dutung’s charms. It’s at its best when it’s time to eat! Chef Claude Tayag and his kitchen staff operate at the highest level to draw out Kapampangan cooking at its most elite. For the best of Bale Dutung, their Kapampangan feast Culinarya Pampanga is a showcase of the region’s best culinary gems, such as adobo, sisig, and kare-kare. As diners enjoy their food, Chef Tayag offers his anecdotes and experiences in creating the dishes. For an insightful but delectable gastronomic journey, book a table at Bale Dutung.
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The depth of Kapampangan cuisine is almost endless. There is just so much to explore and discover, and all of them are tasty! Because of this, we’re sure that Pampanga restaurants will only flourish in the future and it’s all thanks to these establishments.
Featured image credit: Bale Dutung | Official Facebook Page