Pampanga Food Trip: Kapampangan Dishes You Should Definitely Try
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Pampanga is a province rich in heritage, fertile soil, rich culture and most of all delicious and authentic foods. When in Pampanga, you need to try all their original dishes that you wouldn’t usually be able to try in other parts of the country. However, if you’re pressed for time try these 8 authentic Kapampangan dishes instead.
Burung Bulig or Balo Balo
Not everyone is a fan of fermented foods but once you look beyond the smell, you’ll learn that the taste is exquisite. Burung Bulig uses mudfish and rice while balo balo makes use of shrimp and rice for the fermentation process. Burung Bulig is eaten as the main meal while balo balo is used as a dip for fried, roasted or grilled meat, fish, and vegetables. These two are an acquired tastes but both are worth it.
Every single story about Sisig from Pampanga will tell you that “Aling Lucing” or Luciana Cunanan from Angeles, Pampanga is the “Queen of Sisig” for she prepared the famous dish in a way that no one has done yet during her time. She used a hot sizzling plate and everyone loved the crispy version of this pig head parts and liver specialty and the rest is history.
If Spain has Paella, Pampanga has Bringhe and it’s an absolute must eat Kapampangan dish. Bringhe either uses pure glutinous rice (malagkit) or half regular rice and half glutinous rice. It has a rich taste due to the ingredients used like native chicken, coconut milk and luyang dilaw (turmeric). A combination of boiled eggs and green and red peppers are used to adorn the rice dish.
Bulanglang Kapampangan is different to the commonly known Bulanglang Tagalog which is much like Pinakbet. What’s similar to this dish is Sinigang and the only difference is that it uses guavas to give it the acid taste. Prawns, pork and bangus belly are used and all the vegetables of sinigang like taro (gabi), onions, tomatoes, okra, kangkong and green chillies are used to make the dish. Like Sinigang, chililang Kapampangan has fish sauce and green chilli dip for total enjoyment.
Okay, this dish is for the brave ones. It’s an exotic dish made of mole crickets and it’s justifiable if you feel queasy about sampling it but do give this tasty dish a try and you won’t be sorry. They cook this in adobo style and deep fry it. They use soy sauce, vinegar, tomatoes, onions and garlic to create a spicy flavor while it gets its crunchy texture from frying. It’s a delicacy and everyone is encouraged to try this dish at least once in their life.
Tugak is a Kapampangan term for frog and Kapampangans love it just like anyone who grew in the “bukids and barrios” of the Philippine provinces. If you want to immersed yourself in Kapampangan taste, you should eat Tugak. The frogs are stuffed with ground beef, seasoned well and deeply fried. It may not be for the faint-hearted but it’s also worth the try.
Morcon is a special dish from Pampanga that’s always present in gatherings due to its decorative presentation. Unlike the common morcon where a thinly sliced beef is tied up together with other ingredients, this morcon uses ground pork and beef, chorizo, onions, eggs, grated cheese, and raisins. It is then wrapped inside in the caul fat of a pig. It’s steamed until cooked and it’s very much like Embotido in appearance but of a different taste.
Pindang Kalabaw or Pindang Damulag is not your typical tapa because the meat used is from carabao. Vendors all throughout the province sell this preserved meat. It’s sour in taste which some people might think it’s not good to eat anymore but that really is its flavor. Sugar, salt, anisado wine and Prague powder is used to preserve the meat.
San Nicolas Cookies
Also popularly known as Panecillos de San Nicolas, this authentic Kapampangan cookie are made using a carved wooden mold originally with the image of San Nicolas. Panecillos de San Nicholas was introduced by the Augustinian Friars and this cookie used to be made only for the feast day of San Nicolas.