Ted's: La paz Batchoy
Nothing fancy for me. Their special is the "La Paz Batchoy" They are all claiming the Original but all taste the same. But this one is famous in Iloilo and can be found in many places like malls and on each district.
We tried the one near the Jaro Cathedral. The price is not expensive for me.
Batchoy is a noodle soup with crushed pork cracklings, pork organs, shrimp, vegetables, chicken stock, chicken breast, beef loin and round noodles. Its origins can be traced to the district of La Paz, Iloilo City that is why most people are calling it as La Paz Batchoy.
What a nice place! Esca's has a big open room with beautiful stained glass doors, then a back room that is semi air condtioned. The service was exccellent and food was very good and very cheap. I think we fed about 12 people for $15 US
Favorite Dish: I had a tropical pork skewer, with pork, pineaple and veggies, and also a mango shake.
Tatoy's is quite famous here and is a large open room with a local menu. The oysters were fantastic here, but the chicken was very dry and flavorless. Service was great however and there was plenty to eat.
Favorite Dish: Oysters were outstanding
Deco's: since 1958
Deco's has been around since 1958 and from what I understand, they invented batchoy. The debate goes on, who has better batchoy, Deco's or Ted's. I like Ted's better but most people I was with prefer Deco's
Favorite Dish: I asked for the batchoy without innards, but as I bit into an chewy, intestine , I realized I was duped. This was further confirmed when I spotted several chunks of liver floating about. Liver is much to rich for me and I just picked at my noodles for the rest of the meal.
Bluejay Coffee and Deli: my frustrating search for real coffee...
Good coffee in Iloilo is hard to come by. Most local places serve instant coffee and there is a severe lack of real milk or cream here. Someone told me Bluejay made good coffee. When I stopped in I was greeted by no less than 3 employees and informed they ground the beans fresh and they are of high quality. I ordered an americano (espresso and hot water) and was delighted that it was in fact, high quality espresso. Sadly, when I asked for cream I was handed a packet of powdered cream. What a shame! They go through the trouble of importing high quality beans, but then tarnish it with a fake, powdered cream.
Alas, my search for good coffee continued.
JD Bakery Cafe: full meal for about $1
This was a nice place downtown, but out the back door was a patio right on the river. Sadly, the patio was closed when we went. Meals are just over $1 US and will satisfy you. Everything comes with rice.
Favorite Dish: I had Barbeque pork and rice, delcious (as all pork was)
Ted's Batchoy: Batchoy
The debate goes on, which has better batchoy, Ted's or Deco's? Personally I liked Ted's better but the locals I was with all said Deco's reigned supreme.
So what is batchoy? It;s a noodle soup with pork, including innards like liver and intestines. I don't like innards so I got mine without, it was very good.
Cheap too, about $1 US per bowl.
Favorite Dish: err, Batchoy!
Dos Marias: Pizza place
Dos Marias was one of the few food establishments that were open in the city on Good Friday. They serve thin-crust pizza at PHP 300++ a plate. That's good for 8 people. Open until 2am, the place is cozy and good for get-togethers.
Bavaria: German food in the city
When we were in college, we used to go to Bavaria during special occasions. Bavaria offers authentic German food. For us who were college studes on a tight budget then, we would share an order of rosti (an appetizer -- shredded potato) which was PHP 25 a plate then (year 2000). I don't know how much this appetizer costs nowadays. And Spezi (a kind of cocktail drink only PHP 35 a tall glass then) and German beer (PHP 35 a bottle).
Favorite Dish: A friend said their sausages are a must-try too.
JD Bakeshop: affordable meals
JD Bakeshop is hard to miss as they have several branches around the city - near UPV Iloilo campus, near WVSU (i forgot the street) in Lapaz, and San Agustin St. not far from University of San Agustin. Now, they also opened a branch in the departure area of the Iloilo Airport... And I was so happy to find out that even their airport branch serves good food at affordable prices. A hungry traveler could buy a quick lunch or dinner at PHP 50.
They serve mediocre baked macaronis, chicken ala king, and pancit palabok at affordable prices. I prefer their palabok compared to Jollibee. Their ginat-an is also delicious, but you may find it too sweet for your taste. Don't forget to try their revel bar, carrot cupcake, which cost between PHP 6 to PHP 8, as well as their egg pie. I always buy their toasted mamon for pasalubongs. Its large package costs only PHP 16.
Favorite Dish: palabok, toasted mamon, revel bar, carrot cupcake, and buko pie, as well as chicken ala king.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Iloilo street food guide: Balut and penoy
If you missed that balut in Manila, fret not, Ilonggos love their balut, too! This is perhaps for the most adventurous, and probably the food that makes Philippine cuisine famous, or rather, infamous.
Balut is boiled duck embryo - that says it all. It's the ultimate test when it comes to exotic Philippine food, but just try, you might acquire a taste for it.
Personally, I love my balut, but I prefer those which are just a few days older - no beaks, no feathers!
If balut is too gross for you, try the safer version, penoy, which is basically boiled duck egg - no fun at all. On balut stands, penoys are distinguished from the balut by the pencil marking around the egg.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Iloilo street food guide: Fried peanuts!
Who says peanuts cannot be deep-fried? They are greasy but delicious! What makes them more tasty are the toasted bits of garlic which give a more robust flavor (and appetizing smell if you are a garlic lover). For the those who like their peanuts spicy, there are peanuts with chilli too.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Iloilo street food guide: Grilled corn on the cob
A more local offering would be grilled corn on the cob sans the greasy butter. Best eaten on its own and warm and fresh from the grill.
Grilled corn on the cob is very popular among locals and is available all year round. What is very special about this food is that it's such a treat to smell the fresh corn grilling and the popping sound of the kernels being grilled heightens the anticipation while waiting for your cob, which is then wrapped in old newspaper so that your hand doesn't get burned.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Iloilo street food guide: Cakes and pastries
Another safe bet would be cakes and pastries on offer from the various bake shops scattered all over the city. There are lots of variety - typical bite-size cakes (like the ones the pic) or some local goodies like biscocho (finger-sized toasted cookies with butter and sugar), barquillos (delicious milk wafers rolled into cigar-shaped cookies with a hollow center) - great with ice cream), barquiron (barquillos with center filled with milk powder - careful not to talk while eating these) - and the list goes on!Related to:
- Historical Travel
Iloilo street food guide: Fruits
On the "safe" and healthy column would be fruits - lots of variety from apples to oranges to tropical favorites like bananas, papaya, watermelon, chicos, custard apples (my favorite), manggosteen, mangoes (the most delicious variety in the world!), and for those who can tolerate its horrid smell, but heavenly taste - durian - the king of Southeast Asian fruits.
Fruitstands are all over the city, so you're never that far from your favorite fruit should you suddenly get a craving for a more healthier snack.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Iloilo City Hotels
Corner J. M. Basa And Aldeguer Sts., Iloilo City, 5000, Philippines
Good for: Business
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Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
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