Iloilo on Your Plate at Festive Walk Parade

June 5, 2017

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Ever traveled to Iloilo by letting your taste buds do the walking? We just did — and what a food trip it was!

But of course, our degustation destination is the exciting new Festive Walk Parade at Iloilo Business Park in Iloilo City, where you’re treated to a visual gustatory procession of the best that this now happening place can offer. Fact is, you’re spoiled for choice!

Our first stop: Book Latte — it may look like a library with its book shelves stuffed with books, but you shouldn’t really judge a book by its cover, right? For here, good food and good coffee plus a good read make a perfect blend! Highly recommended is the chicken papisik, a well-loved Negros Oriental chicken dish that’s steamed over salt (like Pinaupong Manok) and flavored with soy sauce, calamansi, batuan (a souring ingredient), and lemongrass.

Rice and shine

The sun shines brightly on this side of Festive Walk Parade where you can have breakfast anytime of the day. Suits me just fine, as I’m a later riser. However, Sunny Side Up gives you one big reason to rise and shine early: its super value meals (which come with rice, egg, side dish, and your choice of drink)! Try the danggit (you just can’t leave Iloilo without trying this native sun-dried delicacy), or the sardine fritters or the sisig (why not something sizzling to jump-start your day)!

Don’t touch that dial now and hop over to Food Channel. Now showing are the combo meals: sisilog, Korean pork, to name two. Try also the shawarma with cheese or the so-yummy siomai rice.

Grilled thrills

Korean restaurants are all the rave now, but expect Jip Bab Korean Grill to be even hotter (it’s owned and run by an enterprising Korean father-and-son duo who have made Iloilo their home). A hot fave is the gochujang samgyupsal — that may sound like a bit of a tongue twister, but trust me, it’s better eaten than pronounced. It’s pork marinated in spicy ginger gochujang sauce (the hottest hot sauce on the market)! Or you can have the greatest thrill grilling your own food and enjoying the assorted side dishes.

Meet ted

Teodorico probably needs no introduction as it’s been around since 1945. Teodorico by Ted’s Oldtimer Lapaz Batchoy boasts its original beef batchoy, special lomi batchoy, pancit Molo, as well as its best-selling batchoy combo meals.

Sometimes, you’re just craving a pizza. Thank God there’s Pizzaro for your pizza fix, served hot and fresh off the oven. Can’t decide what pizza to order? Why, you can have it all with The Works — meat toppings, bell pepper, onions, mushroom, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, pepperoni strips, bacon crumble, ham, pineapple, mozzarella, roasted pork and beef, and tomato base!

Have your cake and your tea, too!

Whoever thought of Aldea’s Cafe wasn’t just thinking of coffee. For Aldea’s also serves chicken & ribs and salisbury steak combos with — take double note — unlimited rice and free iced tea. Looks like “unli” rice is as popular among Ilonggos as it is among Manilans. But what takes the cake is Aldea’s matcha green tea cake, which you can pair with some fresh pressed juices if you’re not really a coffee drinker and you want something light and right. They’ve got strawberry watermelon, orange apple carrot, broccoli apple carrot, green apple celery.

Griller’s oyster house (since 2010) gives new meaning to the phrase “the world is your oyster.” Its all-talaba new breakfast and daily menu includes: talaba burger, oyster with mushroom pasta, crispy fried talaba, sizzling talaba, oyster platter, steamed talaba, kinilaw talaba. I haven’t seen talaba cooked these many ways!

Chicken lovers will love Chick n’ Tea Shop. If it’s got something to crow about, it is that its chicken is “always fresh, never-ever frozen.” Like its premium chicken tenderloin that’s marinated for 24 hours and cooked to order. A must-try is the chikita combo that’s grilled on a flat top and comes with baguette toast and a tangy sauce with coleslaw.

Can’t get enough of the chicken? Order the XL fried or original crispy chicken. Your chicken is served with papaya pickles and, yes, unli rice!

If you want to indulge your sweet tooth, there’s Dulgies where we had the to-diet-for Dulgies Tres Leches Cake that comes in a tub. For cookie lovers, Dulgies’ got its chocolate flourless cookies, which should go well with its homemade ice tea that comes in a jar convenient for take-out.

Let it snow! Let it snow!

Another great dessert place (that’s never deserted) is 13th Street Espresso that’s as cool as its snow ice offerings. “Fresh fallen snow” is mixed with soybeans and sweet red beans. We went overboard and guiltlessly ordered the snow ice mixed with crushed Oreo bits and topped with a wafer and an Oreo cookie. We promised to do penance later.

Bring home Iloilo

Want to bring a bit of Iloilo back home? We did, and not just a bit but a lot! For we just couldn’t resist the biscocho and other assorted goodies at Biscocho Haus, our penultimate stop. They can have everything boxed and ready for you to handcarry or check in on your flight back home.

To cap our glorious food trip, there’s Tinukib, another pasalubong house. We discovered that tinukib is the Ilonggo word for, yes, “to discover.” It means to serendipitously stumble upon great talents, artisans, artists, designers among Ilonggos. As for me, I discovered that Ilonggos weave the most beautiful hablon. They also have superb native chocolate (tablea), which you can drink hot or cold.

Eating my way through the Festive Walk Parade certainly broadened my knowledge of Ilonggo food, if not my waistline!

Source: Ching M. Alano of PhilStar Global

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