There is no doubt that Pampanga has the best cooks and culinary repertoire in the country; that’s why the title Culinary Capital of the Philippines given to the province is uncontested. Pampanga is home to dishes like sisig, menudo, estofado, asado, tocino, and so much more! If these Kapampangan dishes have already won your heart (and stomach), then here are other authentic dishes from Pampanga that you have to try!
You cannot visit Pampanga and not try the classic Sisig dish–you simply cannot! This Filipino favorite dish originated from Pampanga and is made from different pig parts sauteéd with onions, soy sauce, lime juice. (No mayonnaise in the dish, please!) Usually served on a hot plate, sisig is either the perfect pulutan or the best cure for hangover.
The Spanish paella and Italy’s risotto have finally gained a worthy opponent from the Philippines. Dubbed as the Filipino paella, bringhe is usually served in fiestas and on special occasions. In fact, bringhe is usually cooked in large pots as a way to invite everyone to come eat with them. This dish is made from glutinous rice, coconut milk, turmeric powder, and mixed with chicken and chorizo for that savorous bite.
If you’re a fan of the classic Filipino breakfast meal tocino, you’re absolutely going to love Pindang! In essence, they’re the same dish, only with different preparation techniques. Pindang is a sweet and sour dish made from medium-thick slices of beef or pork, where meat strips are marinated and fermented for a few days. This dish is best paired with steamed rice, spicy vinegar, and salted egg salad!
The Kapampangans love food so much it was able to create its own version of meatloaf! Morcon is a dish well-loved by foodies and even picky kid eaters, although the Kapampangan morcon is a bit different from how the Tagalogs usually do it. Instead of wrapping sliced eggs and sausages in thin layers of sliced meat, the Kapampangans wrap ground beef, chorizo, eggs, and cheese in thin pork caul fat. This combination of ingredients gives off a richer, more savory taste.
Bulang-lang Kampampangan is a staple dish that can be served on a hot summer day or during the rainy season. This dish is close to sinigang but instead of using tamarind, Kapampangans use guava fruit to give its broth the distinct sour taste we all love. This dish is usually cooked with pork, shrimp, or milkfish, and is best served with hot steamed rice.
A Kapampangan food trip will not be complete if you haven’t tried the local version of buro. Buro, to wit, is fermented rice mixed with other ingredients like fish or shrimp and is served as a condiment or side dish for steamed vegetables or fish. Because of its pungent smell and sour flavors, not everyone will appreciate this side dish, but once you get past its initial taste, you’ll find eating vegetables is loads better when eaten with buro.
If you’ve survived eating buro, then you’ll probably like Betute Tugak a little better. Farmlands are found all around Pampanga and one of the usual past times of children was to catch palakang-bukid. These frogs are stuffed with ground pork and other condiments, then deep-fried to make this exotic, yet very palatable dish. If you’ve never tried fried frogs before, many will claim that they almost like chicken.
This one is not for the faint of heart, but Camaru is a dish everyone should at least experience eating once in their lives. Camaru or mole crickets are usually caught and cooked adobo-style, but since Kapampangans are known for their innovative culinary skills, you’re sure to bump into a restaurant and eatery that serves their own take of the camaru dish!
San Nicolas Cookies
When you’re done trying out main dishes, it’s time to get yourself some sweets to balance all the savory dishes you just ate! These San Nicolas cookies are not only sweet and delicious, they hold a pretty big historical significance as well! What makes these buttery cookies unique are the designs found in each cookie. The selling of these cookies started from one family who passed down the recipe not only to their bloodline but other families as well! This created a trend among communities where they would carve their own cookie molds according to their family traditions.
If you’re a fan of kakanin, you should definitely try Pampanga’s own version of maja blanca! What makes Tibuk-tibuk extra special is how this kakanin uses carabao milk instead of coconut milk–to give it that white, silky texture that makes it even more addicting!
Don’t forget to check this list out the next time you visit Pampanga! Think we missed other Kapampangan dishes you think everyone should try? Comment down below!
Kat is a writer, traveler, and a foodie. If she’s not cramming her finals, you can find her reading the latest contemporary romance novels, binge-watching some doctor show on Netflix, or planning her itinerary for her next hypothetical trip with her friends.