January 12, 2015


List of Best Cities to Dine in the Philippines

Here’s the continuation of my two-part special article in celebration of the 4th year anniversary of Eat To Your Heart's Content. If you haven’t read the part 1 of the Best Cities to Dine in the Philippines, here’s the link.
One of my favorite food combinations, Laing with tons of chili and Daing na Bangus
When in Bicol region, one would definitely be feasting on dishes made with coconut milk, gabi leaves (taro) and chillies. Manileňos are most familiar with Laing, this dish is made of meat and gabi leaves cooked in coconut milk and chillies.

Bicol region's cuisine is characterized by the use of one dominant ingredient, coconut milk

One popular Bicolano dish that caught my attention was Bicol Express, some locals call this dish as Gulay na Lada or Ginataang Sili. According to The Philippine Cookbook by Nina Daza Puyat and Virginia Roces de Guzman, the term Bicol Express was popularized and "invented" by Cely Kalaw who used to own a famous restaurant in the 60s called Grove Restaurant. Bicolano cuisine has evolved and with the demands to make their cuisine more interesting, some restaurants produced intriguing creations such as shakes made from chillies and Pili nuts which are also readily available in the region. Just like Pampanga's cuisine, Bicol is a culinary delight and I must say, another article on its own would not even give justice to their concoctions and so author Honesto General devoted an entire book “The Coconut Cookery of Bicol” just to elaborate the region's splendid cuisine.   

Hailed by Anthony Bourdain as Best Lechon in the World
Zubuchon, the famous Cebu Lechon hailed by culinary icon Anthony Bourdain
Cebu would not be called the Queen City of the South for nothing. Their delicacies are exquisite. Mention Cebu and instantly one will think of Cebu lechon. Cebu-style Lechon is savored without the need for the thick sauce. It has been said over and over, Cebu lechon has been hailed by culinary icon Anthony Bourdain as "the best pig ever" which aired in his food & travel show "No Reservations." In an article for the Travel Channel entitled “Hierarchy of Pork” posted last February 2009, Bourdain reiterated his love for Cebu lechon "...it can now be said that of all the whole roasted pigs I've had all over the world, the slow roasted lechon I had on Cebu was the best. This puts the standings in the Hierarchy of Pork as follows #1 Philippines; #2 Bali; #3 Puerto Rico."

Dried mangoes from Cebu, a must pasalubong

When in this glorious city, Dried Mangoes, Mango Puree and Danggit are the top pasalubong (take home treats) items to bring back home.

Fresh Lapu-Lapu fish from one Cebu wet market

Huge Crabs, yes they were walking/moving hence they were tied with a straw
Fresh seafood such as lobsters, prawns, lapu-lapu, scallops, crabs, squid and innumerable types of fish are abundant.

Generations passed but there are some dishes that never go out of style. They have become our comfort food and a symbol of colonial influence infused by the traditions of our forefathers. Iloilo City's culinary scene is the perfect exemplification of the richness of the Filipino cuisine. Mention Iloilo and in an instant one would lighten up just by uttering the words La Paz Batchoy, Pancit Molo, Barquillos and Biscocho.

La Paz Batchoy

Possibly the most famous Ilonggo dish widely enjoyed throughout the archipelago is La Paz Batchoy. A simple noodle dish swimming in a hot broth and flavored with pork innards, liver, heart then topped with crunchy pork cracklings, spring onions and toasted minced garlic.

Pancit Molo

Named after Iloilo's District, Pancit Molo is a personal favorite. I have a fascination for Chinese cuisine, just mention dumplings and my eyes roll in sheer delight. Courtesy of the pre-Spanish rule, the Ilonggo-Chinese trading flourished in the province which resulted to numerous Chinese influences including the cuisine. The Ilonggo's version of this well-loved wanton soup is made with ground pork, shrimp, chicken then enveloped in Molo wrapper and served in a richly flavored broth with chopped fresh spring onions as garnishing. 


For snacking, I just cannot get enough of munching Barquillos. One bite and I was hooked for life. What's truly amazing with this Ilonggo delicacy is the simplicity of its ingredients - flour, sugar and milk then thinly rolled resembling a tube. Transforming into a crispy wafer, variations evolved throughout the years but nothing beats its simplest form.

Davao City never fails to bring warm memories of good food - the abundance of seafood, the uber affordable buffets and the myriad of exotic fruits. How can a food lover resist? Forget about your D-I-E-T when you are in this Mindanao gem!

Davao’s proximity to General Santos City – the Tuna Capital of the Philippines, makes Kinilaw (ceviche made with diced tuna spiced with vinegar and chillies) a must-eat when in Davao City. Kinilaw is often served in various affordable buffets and a perfect "pulutan" (finger food) dish during drinking sessions.

This export quality Durian does not possess that distinct Durian aroma that others abhor

Exotic fruits are also transformed into a magnitude of dishes, desserts and drinks. Durian can be tasted as ice cream, candy, cakes, pies, shake and blended in coffee drinks. Mangosteen is also available as ice cream and fresh juice. 

Encapsulating the Philippines' best cities to dine in one article would be next to impossible. With 7107 islands and each showcasing distinct regional flavors, your gastronomic sojourn is up for an adventure.

Have you been to any of these delightful cities in the Philippines? If you are confined to just visiting Boracay and Palawan, think again! You are missing on a multitude of flavors in this archipelago once revered as the Pearl of the Orient.  
Best Cities to Dine in the Philippines Part 1
 Part one (1) of The Best Cities to Dine in the Philippines here.

Are you constantly in search for awesome food destinations and curious about the Philippine food scene? Then follow me at Instagram as I often share my latest food discoveries, pristine beach destinations and stunning sunsets  via @eattoyourheartscontent.
Monday Madness at Eat To Your Heart's Content
This has been part of my Monday Madness section, sharing with you all the sumptuous dishes that I go crazy about! 

This humble Philippine food blog, Eat To Your Heart’s Content has turned 4 years-old this month of January. I may not have published numerous food articles over the last four years, but I am absolutely thankful for everyone who took time in checking this food blog, commenting, connecting and for allowing me to share with you all my food adventures around the Philippines. I hope you continue to join me as I search for more deliriously delicious dining destinations and food discoveries. Thank you all!!!
Pie Rivera is a food columnist of Republic of 7107 Island Travel Magazine. For subscriptions to the magazine, you may email them at subscription@7107magazine.ph. 

Feel free to email me at eattoyourheartscontent@gmail.com - I love to hear from you.

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All photos in this site were captured by Pie Rivera unless otherwise stated.

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