8 Food Stops Outside Manila
Itching to go out of town but ran out of luck on recent seat sales? Why not go on a road trip? It takes longer to get to your intended destination but it’s a cost-effective and flexible alternative.
A good itinerary, especially ones that involve long drives, should include well-timed breaks. We round up some places worth stopping by for food (among other things)!
Tarlac: Isdaan Restaurant
A popular stopover along the national highway in Gerona, it’s hard to miss Isdaan Restaurant. Customers enjoy traditional Filipino cuisine while dining al fresco in nipa huts on stilts. Their bestsellers include pinukpok na hipon, pinatolang baka sa buho and tacsiyapong gulay.
Like a mini-theme park, it is Instagram-friendly and filled with fun activities! Take lots of photos, try to win a kilo of fish at San Kilo Bridge, watch musical/cultural performances or distress by throwing some plates at their Tacsiyapo Wall.
Pampanga: Everybody’s Cafe
Morcon | via Everybody’s Cafe’s Facebook page
Everybody’s Cafe in San Fernando is your no-frills dining destination for authentic Kapampangan meals. Enjoy home-cooked meals in this carinderia-style restaurant along Mac Arthur Highway, which has been around since 1950’s.
Morcon is the house specialty and best seller along with local dishes pako salad, kamaru (crickets), betute (frog) and pindang damulag (tapang kalabaw). For a quick snack, they offer mami, palabok, chicharong bulaklak and halo-halo.
La Union: S.O.U.L. Cafe and Restaurant
via S.O.U.L. Cafe’s Facebook page
Rosario, La Union is another stopover spot towards your journey north. Here you will pass by the nondescript S.O.U.L. Cafe, which stands for “Spice of Urban Life”. This quaint cafe and restaurant with a hillside view are famous for their boneless bangus and longganisa. Each meal comes with an uplifting quote for your dose of good vibes. Cap off your meal with a cup of coffee or a pastry.
Bulacan: Shell of Asia
Shell of Asia is located on the southbound lane of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) after Sta. Rita exit in Guiguinto, Bulacan. Fill your tummy with food from Starbucks, Chowking and Shell Select before braving Manila’s traffic. There’s also a pasalubong center and outlet stores for Adidas, Giordano, and Puma.
Rizal: Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant
via Balaw Balaw website
Exploring the Arts Capital of the Philippines is an adventure in itself but how about extending it to your meal? One restaurant along Manila East Road in Angono is known for its exotic menu. Balaw Balaw serves uok (worms), camaro, nilasing na palaka (frog) and Soup No. 5 to name a few.
It is also an art gallery featuring a collection of wooden sculptures and paintings made by the owners of Balaw Balaw, the Vocalans, and other artists.
Cavite: Bag of Beans
Enjoy a slice of shepherd’s pie or blueberry cheesecake best paired with freshly brewed coffee at Bag of Beans. They also offer a la carte menu and buffet on weekends/holidays. Buy baked goods and coffee products before you leave.
Visit the main one along Emilio Aguinaldo Highway, check out Charito’s by Bag of Beans for a different vibe or watch the sunrise from the veranda of their Twin Lakes branch.
Quezon: Bulwagang Salakot Restaurant
via Bulwagang Salakot’s Facebook page
Frequent travelers to Bicol region are no strangers to Bulwagang Salakot Restaurant and its nilasing na hipon and chichanoy (chicharon named after former President Noynoy Aquino).
It is located within Ave-Sol Tourists Complex, which is off Maharlika Highway in Gumaca, Quezon. Nearby you can find a convenience store, drug store, souvenir shop, hotel and Shell gasoline station.
Albay: 1st Colonial Grill
Before exploring the rest of Albay, you should not miss classic and innovative Bicolano dishes from 1st Colonial Grill. Their yummy Tinapa Fried Rice is a meal in itself, with its generous amounts of tinapa flakes, salted egg, manggang hilaw and tomatoes, but this goes well with pinangat/laing. Make room for unique ice cream flavors, especially the signature Sili (comes in three levels) and Tinutong!
1st Colonial Grill has two branches each in Albay and Naga plus their first expansion in Tagaytay.
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