Food Crawl + Local Side Trips | Pampanga Experience


Every province in the Philippines has their own culinary specialties...and Pampanga being well-known as Culinary Capital of the Philippines serves one of a kind food choices. Together with other fellow bloggers, we were invited by City of San Fernando Pampanga, Giant Lantern Festival Foundation Inc., and Yalla Book of Coupons to the Giant Lantern Festival Bloggers Tour. In line with this, we got the chance to visit seven local restaurants that offer different culinary experience + awesome visit to the local attractions and lantern industry in the city.

I've been to different parts of the Philippines and tasted different food during my travels, but I haven't been to Pampanga to do this one of a kind food crawl. Can you believe that we survived the seven restaurants in a day? Yes, we did! Actually, I considered it Mother of All Food crawls as this experience was my very first to try seven restaurants in a day!

1ST GASTRONOMIC EXPERIENCE: LA BAKESHOP
LA Bakeshop started in 1985 from a simple bakery in a 'palengke' area. Now, they have four branches across Pampanga and still continue to look for possible branches to be established in Central Luzon in the future.


What HungryHerl recommends?
You should not leave LA Bakeshop without getting a box of their best sellers - Spanish bread and Cheese bread! For P195, you can a have a box of this mix breads! I loved how their Spanish bread was still hot and a little bit crispy when they served to us while the Cheese bread was indeed cheesy. Aside from these, you can also buy other pasalubong items such as peanuts, cookies, bread, and so much more!



Interior and Ambiance
On this branch, they have a small dining area where you can stay to have a quick breakfast while visiting Pampanga. It has wooden designs that complimented well with the overall aura of the bakery. I liked the lights suspended in the ceiling, as well as the bottles, display in the wall. LA Bakeshop creates an accommodating and homey feel when you are inside.



Location:
McArthur Highway, Dolores, San Fernando City, Pampanga

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2ND GASTRONOMIC EXPERIENCE: PARMISANOS
Pizza, pasta, and chicken..and that's how Parmisanos are popular! This restaurant offers to create a fusion of two dishes. How awesome is to mix a local cuisine to a global one? Kapampangan x Italian - and that's how Parmisanos wanted to deliver their food to the market. If you are wondering where did they derive the name of the resto, it's actually a family name and not the Parmesan cheese. 


What HungryHerl recommends?
My top three choices would be Sisig Pizza, Sicilian Chicken Pesto, and Lengua and Beef Salpicao with Rice. Who wouldn't love the fusion of sisig and pizza? That's unusual but the taste is very close to the Filipino heart. How about the Sicilian Chicken Pesto - the herb taste was sooo good that complimented well with the chicken. And of course, the Salpicao which turned out to be everyone's favorite.




Interior and Ambiance
The homey ambiance of Parmisano's is what they also want to experience on their customers.  In fact, their restaurant is a house model unit of a real state company, renovated it, and occupied to become a restaurant. 



Address: Km 78, McArthur Highway, San Agustin, San Fernando City, Pampanga

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3RD GASTRONOMIC EXPERIENCE: MEATS AND MATCH
This restaurant boasts the fact that their meats came directly from farm to table...and that is why their meats are so tender and juicy. Meats and match specialty are obviously steaks and pork chops.


What HungryHerl recommends?
Obviously, I would definitely recommend their Sizzling Pork Chop. When we tried it, everyone agreed how soft and easy to chew the meat was. You can get this either with mashed potato or plain rice. Apart from the meat, I would also recommend their best selling Asian Salad which has Asian vinaigrette, fried vermicelli noodles, and fresh vegetables. This one looked appetizing in person!



Interior and Ambiance
Meats and Match has a big seating capacity that can accommodate a large number of diners. Typically, their customers are families and a group of people. 



Location
McArthur Highway, Dolores, San Fernando City, Pampanga

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4TH GASTRONOMIC EXPERIENCE: ROBERTO'S
One of the loveliest restaurants that we visited was Roberto's. The old 1950's ancestral home turned into a restaurant has modern and old interior designs that all of us fell in love easily. Every corner is totally Instagram-worthy, we couldn't help but capture such lovely photos.


 What HungryHerl recommends?
According to the staff, Roberto’s is well-known for their steaks. We had the chance to try their Salt and Pepper Steak with mashed potato, sauteed veggies, and gravy. It was indeed tender and buttery good. The serving size is for one but I think can be shared up to two persons. For cleaning off the palate, you can also try their Red Velvet Cakes on Ice. It is a red velvet flavored shake that has a smooth texture, mild taste, and not too sweet.



Interior and Ambiance
Roberto's love for travel mainly inspired how he started the restaurant. The intricate designs put all over the displays are his collection from the places that he been to. And the love for food specifically steak and coffee made the idea of what to serve in his restaurant. All the interior designs displayed inside this establishment are the fruit of his determination to establish something that he'd like to share with the people. 




Location
McArthur Highway, San Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital, Dolores, San Fernando City, Pampanga

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5TH GASTRONOMIC EXPERIENCE: CAFE NOELLE
A mother's love is always the greatest love and that is why Cafe Noelle was born. Chef Judy Uson's love for her daughter was the reason behind their cafe when she gave birth in the month of December. The cafe's mission is to prepare happy meals with happy hearts, using only the freshest ingredients. 


What HungryHerl recommends?
For these dishes, I would highly recommend the Thai Seafood Curry because the taste was so comforting to the heart. The spicy level was not too much and best paired with the plain rice. Another dish would be the Sundried Tomato Pasta because I loved tomato-based pasta. And lastly, don't go home without tasting their best seller Chifonelle Cake because it was one of the best chiffon cakes I've tried so far. It's buttery, soft, and moist to the point that we asked for more slice though we were already full. And that my friend is a heavenly piece of cake!




Interior and Ambiance
The theme of Cafe Noelle is rustic and totally 'grammable. I loved how they incorporate the Christmas feels with the pastel colors and design all through-out the cafe. You'll definitely feel at home while dining in.



Location
Greenfields Square, McArthur Hwy, Sindalan, San Fernando City, Pampanga

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6TH GASTRONOMIC EXPERIENCE: THE ORANGE BUCKET
The main inspiration of the theme of The Orange Bucket is the color of cajun seasoning that is present on their Cajun Seafood in a Bucket. This is an offshoot of its proprietor's brainchild "Crowing Chicken". If you going to visit San Fernando, Pampanga, you have to try their delectable seafood inspired by USA's Boiling Crab. Fortunately, we got the chance to taste their signature specialties on their menu. 


What HungryHerl recommends?
You'll go to The Orange Bucket because of their "Seafood in a Bucket". It is either steamed or boiled crab, shrimps, and mussels in the Cajun-style blend of signature seasonings and spices served in a bag and placed in an orange bucket. I loved how the seafood was freshly prepared! The spice level was totally tolerable and we couldn't help but eat them using our bare hands. Aside from this, I know you would love their version of Baby Back Ribs - it's smoky, flavorful, and fall off its bone!



Interior and Ambiance
Every one of us loved the idea of the big bucket placed outside their restaurant for photo ops. The design of The Orange Bucket is simple yet staff were very much accommodating during the time of our visit.



Location
Erazone Square, Kalahi Business Road, San Isidro, San Fernando City, Pampanga

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7TH GASTRONOMIC EXPERIENCE: 4MD'S MANUKAN AT IHAW IHAW
On our last stop, we tried the famous ihawan in San Fernando City, the 4MD'S Manukan and Ihaw ihaw. The name of this restaurant is derived from the names of the four siblings that start with M and D is their last name. Started in October 2011, their restaurant was built out of 'sawali' style until they expanded it through the years.


What HungryHerl recommends?
Trying out their BBQs are mandatory! Aside from that, I'd highly suggest their "Saud Sisig" which is a healthier version of the usual sisig in Pampanga. It made up of greens, tomatoes, and meat. Also, their Kare-kare is a must try here. I liked how crispy the meat was and best paired with the buttery sauce. 



Interior and Ambiance
4MD's has a big dining area that can accommodate a large number of people. It is separated into two rooms - one with an AC and one without. I'd suggest staying in the aircon area as the place is a little bit hot inside.


Location
McArthur Hwy, Dolores, San Fernando City, Pampanga

...annnddd that's how our food crawl went by! We all thought that it was almost impossible for us to finish all these restaurants but we ended up craving for more. Indeed, I would say that Pampanga is really the Culinary Capital of the Philippines with all the delectable cuisines this place offered. Our tummy maybe full, but the experience was all totally worth it!

SIDETRIP
When you're in Pampanga, aside from having a food escapade, you may also want to visit some of the famous local attractions in the area. Luckily, we had the chance to do the Calesa Tour and visited old and famous ancestral houses and landmarks in the city. This includes City Hall, Metropolitan Cathedral, Hizon-Paraz House, Henzon-Hizon House, Lazatin House, Consunji House, Tabacalera House, Hizon-Ocampo House, Hizon-Singian House, Augusto P. Hizon House,  Pampanga Hotel,  Baluyot Bridge, and lastly, the Old Train Station Museum.


And since Christmas time is already approaching, you may also visit Rolrens's Lanterns and General Merchandise where you can find the biggest and brightest Christmas lanterns ever. It is owned by the famous Mr. Rolly Quiambao who make gigantic lanterns and won several times in the Giant Lantern Festival in Pampanga.






By the way, the 110th Giant Lantern Festival 2018 competition night will be held at Robinson's Starmills on December 15 at 6:00pm. You may catch the brightest and biggest lanterns you'll ever see in your life that will be participated by 11 barangays in San Fernando City. 

Giant Lantern Festival Exhibition Dates:
Dec 16-21: 5pm // Robinsons Starmills
Dec 22: 7pm // Telabastagan
Dec 23: 7pm // Greenfields Square, Sindalan
Dec 24: 11pm // In front of City Hall
Dec 25-30: 6pm // Marquee Mall, Angeles City
Jan 1-2: 7pm // Robinsons Starmill

Thank you City of San Fernando Pampanga, Giant Lantern Festival Foundation Inc., and Yalla Book of Coupons for the amazing day full of fun and culinary experience. Till we meet again!

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