Philippines’ culinary capital Pampanga touted ‘unsung food destination’ for global travelers

Philippines' culinary global travelers
Pampanga, the culinary capital of the Philippines, is famous for Filipino food dishes such as morcon, tocino, and sisig, among many others. Photos from Holy Rosary Parish in Angeles City, NLEX, DOT screengrab, Everybody’s Café and Aling Lucing’s Sisig socials.

Pampanga, the culinary capital of the Philippines, has been named among the “Unsung Food Destinations” in the world by the popular travel site, Conde Nast Traveler (CNTraveler).

The Central Luzon province, highly regarded for its good food and wide array of restaurants, was featured in the magazine’s list of must-visit global food destinations that are less expected locales but “are unmissable for those who travel to eat”.

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Writer Maryam Jilani recommended Pampanga for having “one of the country’s most exciting and consistent foodie scenes.” Jilani cited the Spanish influence in Pampanga, which inspired Kapampangan cuisine, and also highlighted the famous Filipino food dishes from the province, such as morcon, tocino, and the beloved Pinoy pork sisig, among others.

“During occupation, the Spanish colonizers trained the locals in this region just outside Manila as chefs. The craft has been passed down for generations, making Pampanga one of country’s most exciting and consistent foodie scenes, famous for dishes like morcon, (a braised meat roll), tocino (a sweet cured pork), sisig (traditionally prepared with minced pork face), and buro (fermented rice prepared with sautéed shrimp),” Maryam Jilani writes in the article published by the travel site on July 5, 2022.

Conde Nast Traveler’s Jilani also recommended visiting Angeles City and San Fernando, the home of the annual Giant Lantern Festival in Pampanga, where the province’s celebrated restaurants Everybody’s Café and Aling Lucing’s Sisig are located.

Among those mentioned in the article are desserts and traditional sweets in Kapampangan cuisine such as turrones de casoy, a candy wrapped in wafer paper and prepared with cashew nuts, as well as Pampanga’s famous heirloom biscuits, Pan de San Nicolas cookies.

“You can try variations of these and more in a mix of high-low spots throughout the region’s unassuming cities of Angeles City and San Fernando. Everybody’s Café and Aling Lucing’s Sisig are can’t-miss, no-frills joints, which you’ll want to make reservations in advance for. All meals should end with traditional sweets like turrunos de casoy, a crunchy wafer-like treat prepared with cashew nuts, and the historian, Atching Lillian’s famous heirloom Pan de San Nicolas cookies.”

The lone Philippine entry on the list joined the ranks of Japan’s Kyoto by the Sea, Bangkok in Thailand, and the United States Virgin Islands, among others in CNTraveler editors’ recommended 13 food destinations in “The Unsung Food Destinations to Travel for Now” published on July 5, 2022.

Other “unsung food destinations” on the list include San José in Costa Rica, Israel’s Nazareth, South Downs in the United Kingdom, Greenland, Belize, Valley of the Vineyards in Brazil, Southeast Taiwan, Cádiz in Spain, and Great Lakes in the United States.

The Philippines was earlier named among the “40 Most Beautiful Countries in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler.

TELL US in the comments below, what is your favorite dish from Pampanga, the culinary capital of the Philippines?

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Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.