Leoning's La Paz Batchoy: The best La Paz batchoy in the world!
Batchoy (batchoy), n. a steaming bowl of Chinese noodles in meat bone broth topped with meat cuts (usually pork and beef), innards, and liver and smoothered with pork fat cracklings ("chicharon" in local dialect), golden brown fried garlic, and scallions, concocted by the Ilonggos from La Paz district for all the world to enjoy.
Best place to experience the most authentic, honest-to-goodness, no-frills version of this famous Ilonggo speciality: Leoning's La Paz Batchoy. The owner (Madame Leoning) prepares the soupy concoction herself based on a recipe that outshines and puts to shame the more commercialized versions (Ted's, Nat's).
And the location can't get any more authentic than this single-branched stall - the La Paz public market from where the batchoy is believed to have originated.
Favorite Dish: Batchoy - Ilonggos prefer to have theirs without the egg. Batchoy goes well with puto (steamed rice cakes) and/or pan de sal (literally, salted bread in Spanish).
Deal with the garlicky and fatty aftertaste with a glass of ice-cold coke.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
Roberto's: Hamburger with an Ilonggo twist
In Iloilo, Roberto's is to hamburgers as Kong Kee is to dimsum. Roberto's is the place to go when you crave for that hamburgers - yes, forget Mc Donalds (which, sadly, has invaded this quaint old city) and Jollibee (Manila-based hamburger chain, the largest in the Philippines) - and instead trek down to the old downtown area and pay this institution a visit.
What to have here? Plain and simple hamburgers - with an Ilonggo twist! Roberto's hamburgers, while made of real beef patties, are filled with so much ketchup and topped/granished with a single pickle. Well, we all know what ketchup tastes, so there is no need to elaborate on how it adds spice to the otherwise bland beef patties.
But hey, we're not done yet. While munching those burgers, try to look around Roberto's walls.
Yet again, Robert's springs another surprise, this time, a more artsy one. Yes, original paintings of some great Filipino masters adorn this greasy place!
A FRIEND'S STORY: One day, my friend's New York-based aunt who was visiting relatives in Iloilo, was craving for Roberto's burgers. So my friend accompanied her to Roberto's only branch at the old downtown area. While munching the yummy burgers, her jaw dropped when she realized that Malangs and Santos (the painters) dangling on Roberto's walls, being a Southeast Asian art enthusiast herself.
Since then, she made it a point to visit Roberto's every time she's in Iloilo - not just for the ketchupy burgers, but for the paintings as well.
Now if only the owners realize what all those grease are doing to the paintings! Then again, it has made Roberto's a more unique destination - feeding both body and mind (and soul!).Related to:
- Historical Travel
Afrique's: Iloilo's rendition of Italian cuisine
Afrique's is slowly gaining reputation as THE place to go for good Italian food in Iloilo City. From a single outlet in Jaro district behind the cathedral, the restaurant has opened a new branch along the street leading to the port area, near Plaza Libertad in downtown Iloilo.
I have been to the two branches - proof of how good their food is - and each has a distinct charm of its own. But the new branch, which is in at an old house of American colonial vintage, has more character. The patios and open spaces were converted into charming dining areas making dining al fresco so pleasurable.
Favorite Dish: And oh the food! The pastas are a must have - try their Spanish-inspired version with lots of chorizo and a hint of saffron. Their version of my simple favorite pesto is anything but simple - with lots of bacon bits - adding a more robust flavor.
And their pizzas - you simply must try them - crust is never too thick nor too thin, but still crisp and crunchy, toppings are so generous and flavorful.
And the best thing about all these? They don't cost you a fortune - about 600 pesos (about US$11) for a heavy meal for four! Talk about great value for money.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
Kong Kee Restaurant: Iloilo's good old dimsum
Kong Kee is perhaps Iloilo's bastion of good old Chinese cuisine. It's one of the most venerable institutions when it comes to Chinese food - especially their siopao, a dimsum made of white bread with meat fillings, usually pork and/or chicken.
Visitors should also sample Kong Kee's fried chicken, as well as pork asado (pork barbeque, Chinese style) - both are equally gooood!
The restaurant itself, located right at the heart of old downtown Iloilo at JM Basa St., needs a little makeover, having been in the business for so many years now.
But then again, when you're having a grand chow, who cares about interiors! Enjoy!Related to:
- Historical Travel
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
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!
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.
Breakthrough Restaurant: Yummy!
From the resto motto:
"Better than fresh! LIVE!!!
That says it all. The restaurant has been awarded as the best local restaurant 2 years in a row.
Well, the best seafood need not be cooked with fancy ingredients. All one needs is to start out with the freshest and the rest will follow. But location and ambiance helps to make the food taste better. Breakthrough has it all. It is located along the beach in the outskirts of Iloilo City on the way to Miagao.
Favorite Dish: Freshest oysters, crabs, shrimps, etc. Food is all good!!!!Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Tatoy's Native Restaurant: Best Grilled Native Chicken
Tatoy's Native Restaurant started literally from scratch. From a road side small space to sprawling present location. And this is my favorite place, the best tasting grilled chicken (visaya-local chicken) iloilo have. Every time i want to eat or treat my friends, and want to eat good and fresh seafoods and oyster, Tatoy's is the place.
Favorite Dish: Ano pa, di native grilled native chicken. Yahmee.Related to:
- Family Travel
Allan's Talabahan: Sweetest, Juciest, Biggest Oysters in Town
How to get there: This by-the-street resto is 10 minutes away from Iloilo City in a town called Oton. Getting there is fast since you may ride a taxi which would cost you Php 90-100 or ride a really cool jeepney for Php 12 (You're choice) - the latter just gets your hair messed up though, they go at 80-100kph!
The place: You get to walk on sand. The place doesn't look that good and the service is horrendous. *blah* You could just drop by and order to-go (which I often do).
The food: Ok that's another story - they serve the biggest, juciest, and sweetest oysters anywhere in the Philippines! I've compared oysters everywhere I go and they're huge!
Favorite Dish: You got to get the "Baked Talaba (Oysters)". First of all, their oysters are HUGE - imagine half the size of your palm - they cover the whole shell! They bake it and add melted cheese and cream. They serve about 10 per plate, and you know how much it costs?!? - Php 50! *Sheish*
Must order as well is the "Stuffed Lukos (Squid)" - it's basically a large squid filled with fresh onions, tomatoes, and spring onions. You get two of those for Php 70. *You can't get that anywhere else!*
Their oysters (per basin) costs Php 30 *Dirt Cheap*
Shipyard Grill: Ship inspired grill at Jaro
If it happens that you are touring Jaro district and you are hungry then you can try this restaurant just walking distance from Jaro Cathedral. Along E. Lopez street and right just after the Sanson-Montinola mansion.
Aside from Seafood they also offer Inasal with Unlimited rice for only P80.00 (Pecho Inasal). The place is a ship inspired because of the design and decoration. I just don't like their Pork sinigang more on fat and too little meat but the taste of the soup is good.
Their seafood prices start at P40.00 to P300.00
Sizzlers start at P80.00 to P160.00
Favorite Dish: Inasal
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.
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)
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
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.
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