Summer is not just the time to enjoy the sand and the sun. Reward your beach bod, in whatever shape, by heading off to these top 5 destinations renowned for their delicious cuisines. Many of these places also have great beaches or other summertime attractions, so a food trip is a great two-in-one deal!
What better place for a day trip to escape the city than Pampanga, a province of gourmets and gourmands? Pampanga is known for its rich cooking with cosmopolitan influences ranging from Spanish, Chinese, and even American. The province has made marked contributions to Philippine culinary lore such as sisig, tibuk tibuk and morcon. These specialties and more mainstays of Pampango cuisine are available in longstanding institutions such as Everybody’s Café, Aling Lucing’s Sisig, and Abe’s Farm. For the best desserts to wash all of these delicacies down, head on to Razon’s of Guagua for a “white” halo-halo that combines coolness and sweetness perfectly in the same bite!
Bicol, especially the province of Albay, is known for its rich culture as well as natural wonders such as the picturesque Mayon Volcano. A very underappreciated facet of this province and its neighbors is its healthy and delicious cuisine, which oftentimes has a little kick from chilis such as the potent siling labuyo. Food spots such as the 1st Colonial Grill, Bigg’s Diner, and Small Talk Café are favorites among locals and tourists alike. After a hearty meal, you can relax in mellow and beautiful cafes such as the La Mia Tazza Coffee or make dessert time an adventure by trying out some sili ice cream! This unusual ice cream flavour comes in several levels, starting from ‘1’, which is mild enough for first-timers, all the way up to ‘3’ for true chili aficionados who do not mind breaking a sweat.
The Negrense are very proud of Bacolod and its culinary delights, and one taste of its luscious desserts is enough to woo even the most sceptical or calorie-conscious visitor. Visitors will be treated readily to wonders such as piaya and napoleones, or even the cakes and pastries from the renowned Calea bakeshop. Of course, a must-eat while in this city is chicken inasal, a roast chicken unparalleled in Filipino cooking. This chicken, paired with hot white rice and with condiments consisting of chicken oil, vinegar, and soy sauce, has taken the Philippine cooking scene by storm, Favorite places to eat in Bacolod include Aboy’s Restaurant, Nena Beth’s at Manokan Country, and of course, the Chicken House. Every extra calorie is worth it!
Cebu, in the heart of the Visayas region, is also a hub for local and international cuisine. The main culinary draw of the area is the famed Cebu lechon, reputed to be among the best, if not the best in the Philippines. Other Cebuano food specialties include sinugba and humba, both served up with rice cooked in puso style, wrapped in banana leaves. Places to wine and dine in Cebu include House of Lechon, Isla Sugbu Seafood City, and Pito’s Sutokil, all located within a few minutes of the metropolis’ sights and attractions.
Visitors to this jewel of Southern Philippines can be treated to the freshest of tropical fruits including the tart mangosteen, the sweet pomelo, and the extremely aromatic but sinfully luscious durian. These fruits can be enjoyed fresh, or in shakes, candies, and even baked goods. Other Davao delights include the fruit of the sea: squid and tuna delicately grilled or doused with vinegar kinilaw style. Places to eat when on a trip to Davao include Lachi’s, Marina Tuna, and the White House Restaurant. Davao is also a great jump off point to visit General Santos and other towns, and likewise sample their fresh and healthy local cuisines.
Enjoying the sights and sounds of a destination is only part of the fun of vacationing. The other part involves getting to know a new place through its wonderful culture, including its cuisine and favorite dishes. Hopefully this list will inspire you to take to the road (or to a plane!) and venture to feast in these destinations. Bon appetit!