Cravings and appetites can be contagious. With a brood of ten on a fun-filled adventure, it was inevitable to be hungry all the time. And during our Cabanatuan weekend trip, we, of course, checked out the local food scene which didn’t disappoint. Warning; if you’re on a strict diet, I’m begging you to stay away from this post as this might ruin your efforts for that perfect bikini bod.
|Team RH in Cabanatuan|
It was our first day in Nueva Ecija, and after we settled at Microtel by Wyndham Cabanatuan the gang went to the city center for a super late lunch. Fresh from our two-month Southeast Asian summer backpacking trip (like five days after), I was craving for legit Filipino cuisine, and Cabanatuan was the perfect weekend trip for our glutton sessions.
First on our long list was Rustica Restaurant along Maharlika Highway. Looking at the extensive menu, we asked the server on their bestsellers and ordered almost everything.
My Green Mango Shake (125 pesos) was handed to me after chatting with my buddies. After the first sip, I instantly felt homesick with Pinoy food (yes, I usually get homesick after I get back, like I didn’t know I was missing something till I have it with me). The combination of sourness and sweetness of the mangoes with the blended shaved ice was totally refreshing.
Then one by one, the food arrived; Sinigang na Ulo ng Salmon (300 pesos), Kare-Kareng Seafood (375 pesos), Lechon Kawali (275 pesos), Ensaladang Hilaw na Mangga, Kamatis at Bagoong (150 pesos) and cups of steamed rice (45 pesos each).
My eyes drooled as my buddies started to take snaps of the food. I couldn’t contain my happiness as I saw the feast laid on the table; I was yearning for some yummy goodness, plus the fact that we’re really starving.
Everything was good. Like, I could finish this batch. For me, the winner of this round was the Kare-Kareng Seafood. The peanut sauce was tasty on its own while the veggies seemed like it was blanched and was put on top as add-ons. The mixed seafood was tasty. My chummies were raving about the crispy goodness of the Lechon Kawali though.
The prices were quite steep but I ain’t complaining for they served us comfy food right when we desired it the most.
After our quick dip at Microtel, we experienced one of the greatest sunsets ever, with the sun bidding its last glow along the rice field-laden horizon of Cabanatuan. Afterwards, it was dinnertime.
Blame Rustica Restaurant for setting the standards high, we craved for another delectable treat from downtown Cabanatuan. And this time, we went out for some local and international treats.
Bistro 360 is your good old bar and grill with a twist. They incorporate Asian, International and Pinoy cuisine on their menu. The unique concept of al fresco dining with a touch of unfinished industrial design layout of the bistro (I’m not into design, by the way) was so fresh to see as you were expecting to dine in one of the old houses and stuff when you’re on this side of the country.
Moving on, we asked for the bestsellers (safest way to order) and were given a list of scrumptious foodstuff afterwards.
Our long table was packed with Crispy Green Mango Salad (160 pesos), Sinigang na Salmon Head (250 pesos), Spice Mixed Seafood (250 pesos), Beef Back Ribs (420 pesos), U.S. Pot Roast Beef (370 pesos), and two trays of Panizza; Kesong Puti with Longanisa and Joaquin.
I could hardly move as I inspected all of the dishes that were served. With the cool breeze from the light rain showers hours ago, I first tried the soup of Sinigang na Salmon Head and was immediately soothed by its warmth. It had the right amount of sourness which gave way to the fresh taste of the fish.
I tried almost everything after that, saving the panizza for last, and was blown away with the subtleness of the U.S. Pot Roast Beef. The tender meat was flavorful that it could be served on its own, devoid of the gravy. I’m a gravy lover so I drenched the mashed potatoes and the meat with the not-so-overpowering sauce. And it was good.
My favorite was the panizza, Kesong Puti with Longanisa to be specific. I only tried panizza once or twice and I remembered rolling it with arugula leaf and alfalfa sprouts (makes me miss The Little Rascals). I forever love four-cheese pizza but this unique panizza was totally a great challenger.
It was Saturday noon and the restaurant was packed with almost every person in the city. After its fifteen minutes of fame on national television (thanks to Kris Aquino), it has become one of the must-eats in town. After our Nueva Ecija quick tour, we were brought to Hapag Vicenticos for a hefty lunch.
The setting was perfectly rustic; an old house-turned-restaurant that serves legit Filipino dishes. The group settled on one of the long tables. Again and again, we were served with the house specialties that all we needed to do was to wait.
Our group of ten was served with; Chicharon Bulaklak (180 pesos), Rellenong Alimasag (190 pesos), Crispy Pata (450 pesos), Sinigang na Hipon (265 pesos), Pork Sisig (215 pesos), Kilawing Sugba (275 pesos), Pinakbet (140 pesos) and karioka (85 pesos) for dessert. Whew, my tummy was grumbling in protest as I took some photos of the food. With no warning, we started to attack.
I instantly fell in love with Chicharon Bulaklak. The sinful crispy-fried innards weren’t typically my favorite, but then it was the easiest target as it was resting next to my plate. Next was the Crispy Pata, my all-time favorite jawbreaker.
Everything was so delicious that we had no time to give out our unsolicited critiques and just went on with our own taste tests. Oohhs and aahhs dominated our table. And then it was time for dessert.
I don’t usually dig desserts especially the native kakanin or sticky rice. But then, when someone mentioned that the delectable karioka effortlessly melted in his mouth, I felt the need to try it. I grabbed one ball and savored my first bite. And it did seize my attention for a while. I was enjoying the crisp caramel coating from the outside and the soft chewy sticky rice inside. I was about to grab my second ball when I noticed that the four plates were all consumed. I was so irked that I even asked how many balls did everyone finish. In the end, I only got to taste just one ball. Next time I would grab a whole plate and keep it to myself.
It was dinnertime and the group was craving for a sumptuous feast after the back-to-back great treats from Cabanatuan. We were guided to another famous restaurant in the city along Maharlika Highway. Rosenda’s is a Chinese Restaurant that serves Filipino-Chinese favorites.
It has been customary that we heeded for the restaurant’s bestsellers so we waited patiently for our food while abusing their free WiFi internet connection (Instagram addicts).
Our food arrived in no time and was placed on the huge lazy Susan in the middle of our round table, reminiscent of wedding banquets.
The feast made our table cramped; Sinigang na Tadyang ng Baka sa Gabi, Gising-gising (145 pesos), Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet (160 pesos), Seafood Casserole (235 pesos), Pork Sisig (155 pesos) and Seafood Pancit Canton (300 pesos – medium).
I had a hefty serving of Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet and wasn’t disappointed at all. But the rock star for this meal was the Seafood Pancit Canton which everyone agreed as their favorite.
I was chatting with my buddy once about the coffee culture that Starbucks have created. Although I don’t usually subscribe on the idea of coffee tambay sessions (I love my beer more than my black coffee), I’m always happy to see people converging and having real conversations on coffee shops. This, I think, is what drives people to visit new cafés that have sprouted everywhere, faster than bean sprouts, baduy, I know.
|NYORK Cafe - The Podium branch|
NYORK stands for something, I’m sure; it’s Not Your ORdinary Koffee, makes sense. What’s interesting was that the owners wanted to make a hub for the coffee tambay sesh people and make something available for them from their wide assortment of menu list. And yes, we got to try out almost everything on the menu.
And then my blog turned into a photoblog.
And then my blog turned into a photoblog.
Of all these yummy goodness, I love the NYORK Mango Salad and the Honey Cinnamon Latte. It was far from my usual black coffee fix but I love the refreshing twist to it.
I love NYORK and the way they presented themselves to Novo Ecijanos. The location is perfect and the no WiFi theme (so as to mingle some more) is totally great. I love the ambience and the yummy twists on their food options. The design layout was also notable. I love how you can choose your space and be lost in the world for as long as you want to.
Our Cabanatuan food hunt was a success. Maybe it’s because I’m with my lovely Team RH or maybe it’s really the sumptuous food. If you're from Cabanatuan, lemme tell you this; I envy you for having really good food everywhere.
Bernardo District, Maharlika Highway,
Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija
Contact Number: (+63) 44.940.7927
General Tinio Street, Cabanatuan City,
Contact Number: (+63) 44.463.0049
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Hours: Everyday | 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
1077 Del Pilar Street, Cabanatuan City,
Contact Numbers: (+63) 44.600.3237 | (+63) 917.565.7860
Email Address: email@example.com
247 Maharlika Highway, Cabanatuan City,
Contact Number: (+63) 44.940.7326
Open Hours: Everyday | 08:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
The Podium, Cabanatuan City,
Contact Number: (+63) 923.625.6163
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org