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The delicacies in Pampanga are known throughout the Philippines as being some of the best in the country.
Pampanga is the Culinary Capital of the Philippines and a fascinating region we explored on our quest for authentic food specialties.
On our Pampanga food trip, we were welcomed warmly by locals who shared their cooking and cultural heritage.
The range of unique Kampangan delicacies surprised us. From the famous pork sisig to frogs, field crickets, and an unbelievable French buttercream cake, the flavors are diverse.
When you visit Pampanga, prepare yourself for a delicious culinary journey. Or, as they say in the ”Kapampangan” or “Pampanga” language, Manyaman!
What is Pampanga Cuisine?
In the Philippines, Pampanga food is one of the most celebrated regional cuisines. There are famous dishes like Sisig that are popular throughout the country and have also achieved international fame.
Famous chefs like Claude Tayag and guardians of authentic Pampanga recipes like Atching Lillian Borromeo have celebrity-like status in the country.
In Pampanga, the kitchen is the biggest and most used room in a Kapampangan traditional household.
Kampangans are known for their ingenuity and for creating dishes using everything in their environment including, insects, frogs, and all parts of animals.
The cooking method in Pampanga is also unique and known as sangkutsa. This practice involves partially cooking ingredients like the meat to be used later in other dishes.
This yields bolder and fuller flavors, especially when cooking large amounts.
Everything served on a Pampanga table is exotic, with rich and various flavors and an abundance of ingredients.
Kapampangan or Pampangan cuisine has Spanish influences and is shaped by the environment and the maker of the foods.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If your travels take you to Manila consider taking a street food tour with a local guide. For over 3-hours, you’ll dive deep into Filipino street foods learning about the local food culture as you navigate through backstreets and alleys. Go with an empty stomach, an open mind and prepare to have the time of your life.
Top 10 Traditional Pampanga Foods To Savor
1. Sisig – Sizzling Pork Sisig Traditional Filipino Dish
Sisig, also called sizzling sisig or pork sisig is a traditional and much loved Filipino dish.
It is the most famous dish associated with Pampanga and has earned Angeles City in Pampanga, the moniker “Sisig Capital of the Philippines.”
A Kapampangan delicacy, the dish is made up of chopped pig’s head parts like face, snout, cheeks, and ear.
Everything is grilled and mixed with chicken liver and flavored with peppers and calamansi, a type of local citrus fruit.
Traditionally, this Pampangan food is served on a hot sizzling plate giving it the sizzling sisig name.
Sisig was invented in Pampanga in the 1970s by Aling Lucia Cunanan. She bought the unused pig heads from Clark’s Airbase and created this local delicacy and culinary sensation.
Locally, she’s known as the “Queen of Sisig” and her famous dish is now found throughout the Philippines and abroad.
This Kapampangan dish is usually served as an appetizer. It’s popular at bars where sisig is said to taste better with a cold beer.
This Pampangan delicacy is said to be the unofficial national dish for Filipino beer drinkers.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: Making this delicacy of Pampanga at home is not difficult. Enjoy the flavorful dish with our simple recipe Pork Sisig Recipe – How To Make Authentic Filipino Pork Sisig
Where To Eat The Best Pork Sisig
Bale Dutung restaurant owned by Claude Tayag, a renowned Filipino chef is the best place to have pork sisig.
We had the opportunity to dine at Bale Datung with Claude Tayag while exploring the local and authentic specialties in the Philippines.
The name Bale Dutung means “House of Wood” which adequately describes his rustic wooden restaurant.
You can choose from three different tasting menus featuring 6 or 12 local dishes prepared by chef Claude Tayag.
Prior reservations are required at least three days before, for a minimum of eight adults.
Address: Villa Gloria Subdivision, Angeles City, Pampanga
Hours: Saturdays and Sundays
Price: Price varies based on the tasting menu selected
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2. Betute Tagak – Stuffed Frog
Betute Tagak is one of the exotic Pampanga delicacies. It is a dish made with farm-raised frogs stuffed traditionally with ground pork.
The name “Betute” is a pun for “butere” which refers to pufferfish. And “tagak” means tadpole in Kapampangan.
So, betute tagak are really stuffed or fat frogs.
The history of this Pampanga food is quite interesting. Everything started as a children’s game of catching field frogs.
Ultimately, it became a ritual for families to develop innovative techniques in frog catching, similar to fishing.
This tradition was carried out through generations and is now part of the Kapampangan culture.
The frogs are said to be incredibly delicious and are traditionally deep-fried. Don’t miss this exotic delicacy in Pampanga.
Where To Eat The Best Betute Tagak
Serving authentic Pampanga food, you don’t want to miss Apag Marangle restaurant.
Not fancy or pretentious, you can enjoy outdoor seating while savoring Pampanga delicacies.
Restaurant owner and chef Manuela Cherry Tan has been serving authentic dishes for over 10 years, guaranteeing an enjoyable experience.
The crispy and delicious betute tagak, comes in several varieties. You can try honey soy, crispy garlic, or garlic parmesan frog legs.
Address: Santa Barbara, Bacolor, Pampanga
Hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Price per dish: Frog leg dishes start at 275 PHP (approx. $5.01)
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3. Pork Bulanglang or Bulanglang Kapampangan – Pork Guava Soup
Pork Bulanglang Kapampangan is a soup or broth that combines pork with ripe guavas and vegetables.
The soup is easy to make, and it calls for mixing all the ingredients in a pot and bringing it to a boil.
There are several types of boiled vegetable dishes in the Philippines, and this Pampanga version uses guava as the base ingredient.
Ripe guavas in the soup, along with pork ribs and pork belly add a savory sweetness to the dish.
This refreshing and nutritious soup is another one of the Pampanga delicacies you don’t want to miss.
Where To Eat The Best Pork Bulanglang
Located in the Clark Freeport Zone of Pampanga, Matam-ih restaurant is the place to go for authentic Pampanga cuisine.
You’ll enjoy the nature-inspired setting in a pavilion-style building with a perched roof and Pampangan heritage pieces.
The menu features a vast selection of authentic Kapampangan dishes to choose from. There are traditional foods like bulanglang kapampangan, and exotic ones like frog legs or deep-fried crickets.
Beyond the delicious food, Matam-ih restaurant also supports the local indigenous tribes by hiring them as staff.
These native Aeta people of Capas, considered among the first people of the Philippines, face displacement and discrimination.
While enjoying Pampangan delicacies, you can also feel good about supporting the local communities.
Address: Manuel A Roxas Highway Lot 1-D, M. A, Clark Freeport Zone, Luzon 2009
Hours: Open every day, 10:00 am to 11:00 pm
Price per dish: Main dishes start at 200 PHP (approx. $3.60)
4. Buro or Balo Balo – Fermented Rice
Buro or Balo Balo is a fermented rice dish with a porridge-like consistency mixed with shrimp or fish.
It is a popular condiment and delicacy of Pampanga cuisine.
The word “buro” is a Tagalog word that means “to pickle,” “ferment,” or “preserve.”
In Pampangan cooking, buro often accompanies grilled or fried fish and vegetables like mustard greens, bitter melon, okra, eggplants, and others.
Be warned that the taste of buro complements the fish or vegetable dishes; it has a strong, pungent smell.
There is also a version where fish like tilapia is used instead of shrimps.
This side dish is a delicacy of Pampanga and reflects the region’s unique and rich culinary culture.
Where To Eat The Best Buro or Balo Balo
While you are on a Pampanga food trip, stop and enjoy a traditional meal at Cafe Fleur. The restaurant is an old ancestral Spanish-like house located in Angeles City.
Chef Sau del Rosario, the owner, is on a mission to revive traditional Kapampangan recipes with innovative techniques.
Buro is one of the many specialties and you can also try a variety of other Pampanga foods.
The focus on local ingredients and fresh farm meats make this an unmissable stop in the culinary capital of Pampanga.
Address: 2/F Dycaico Ancestral House, Barangay Sto. Rosario, Angeles City
Hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
Price per dish: Main dishes start at 277.61 PHP (approx. $5.33)
5. Murcon or Morcon – Savory Filipino Meat Loaf Like Dish
Murcon is a savory Filipino-style meatloaf usually made with pork.
Pampanga’s version uses a combination of ground pork and ground beef.
Boiled eggs, chorizo, peppers, cheese, and raisins are added, elevating the flavors further.
The murcon is cooked in its own fat and served with a side of steamed rice.
Slow-cooked resulting in tender and flavorful meat, make sure to check out murcon when you visit Pampanga.
Where To Eat The Best Murcon or Morcon
Everybody’s Cafe is often referred to as one of the best Kapampangan restaurants.
Their Murcon dish is said to be one of the Kampangan dishes that made them famous in the Philippines.
The setting is casual and the ambiance is friendly. Besides the signature murcon dish, you’ll find a number of other traditional dishes.
On your Pampanga food trip, a stop at Everybody’s Cafe should not be missed.
Address: Nepo Mart, Angeles City, Luzon
Hours: Open every day, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Price per dish: Main dishes starts at 300 PHP (approx. $5.40)
6. Kamaru – Rice Field Crickets
Kamaru is a Pampangan delicacy made of mole crickets. These crickets, also called rice field crickets, are found in the rice paddies in the region.
In Pampanga, there are many ways of preparing this dish. Adobo style Kamaru is one of the most popular ways of cooking the rice field crickets.
In this case, they are sauteed in onions, tomatoes, and garlic and then simmered in vinegar.
Otherwise, they can be pan-fried or deep-fried for a crunchy snack.
A rich sauce of protein, these local Pampangan delicacies are similar to chapulines or grasshoppers in Oaxaca, Mexico, where they are a regional delicacy.
In the Philippines, mole crickets are available seasonally.
When they are abundant, these field crickets can be found at the wet markets for about 50 PHP ($0.91) per kilo in Pampanga.
This makes them a cheap and nutritious alternative to meat.
Where To Eat The Best Mole Crickets
Abe’s Farm is a beautiful rustic restaurant in Magalang, at the foothills of Mt. Arayat.
The restaurant has been around for more than 30 years and is popular for its traditional Kampangan food.
The traditional setting with bamboo, antique wood, and traditional wall decor is inviting.
Abe’s Farm is more than a restaurant. It is a lush estate in the countryside with a museum, pool, and an eclectic mix of accommodations.
Depending on your travel itinerary, consider going on a Pampanga food trip and spending a night at Abe’s Farm.
You’ll enjoy the tranquility, stunning mountain views, and a wide array of delicious Pampanga dishes.
Address: 98 Livestock Village, Barangay Ayala Magalang, Pampanga, Magalang, Luzon
Hours: Open every day, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Price per dish: Main dishes start at 285 PHP (approx. $5.13)
Traditional Sweet Pampanga Delicacies
7. Sans Rival – Cashew Meringue Buttercream Cake
Sans Rival is a popular Pampanga dessert that translates in English to “without rival.”
We fell in love with cake when we tried it on our Pampanga food trip and learned to make it later.
It is a layered cake with meringue, chopped cashew, and French buttercream.
You get the gooey, buttery texture loaded with delicious cashew bites when you bite into the cake.
You will find this delicious cake at many bakeries and as a dessert served in Philippine restaurants.
There are variations where pistachios, almonds, or macadamia nuts are used instead of cashews. And the toppings and flavors are also varied.
This Filipino dessert is said to have been inspired by the French Dacquoise, an almond, hazelnut meringue cake, and adapted to the local ingredients.
Where To Eat The Best Sans Rival Cake
With a history dating since the 1920s, Ocampo Lansang Delicacies is by far the most famous sweets maker in Pampanga.
The products are made fresh daily, following the original recipes, and delivered all over Pampanga.
Ramon Ocampo, the current owner, preserves the family history and tradition with no changes, shortcuts, or compromises to the original recipes.
Some of the delicious treats you will find here are the amazing Sans Rival cake, Turones de Casoy, and other Pampanga delicacies.
Make sure not to miss this slice of sweet history when you visit Pampanga.
Address: San Jose, Santa Rita, Pampanga.
Hours: Open every day, 5:00 am to 6:00 pm
Price: Cakes start at 240 PHP (approx. $4.38)
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: Making the Sans Rival cake at home takes minimal effort. Get the step-by-step recipe and impress your family and friends. Recipe For Sans Rival Cake – The Best Filipino Cake
8. Burquillos & Patko – Filipino Style Crepes
Patko and Burquillos are two Kampangan delicacies most associated with the town of Santa Rita in the Pampanga Province.
Aling May Mercado, whom we met in Pampanga, is considered the authority of this sweet.
She inherited the recipe from her grandmother and continues to make this special treat in an authentic and original manner.
Both desserts are made easily and quickly using special equipment.
The traditional cooking tools reminded us of a waffle maker, which she used to make the crepes delicately.
The burquillos are plain hard-shell crepes with a sweet taste and crispy texture.
Patko, on the other hand, are sweet and soft crepes stuffed with fresh shredded coconut wrapped in a banana leaf.
Of the two Pampanga delicacies, Claire’s favorite was the Burquillos, while I preferred the Patko.
More than likely, one of these delicacies will suit your taste when you visit Pampanga.
Where To Eat The Best Filipino Style Crepes
Burquillos Ng Apung is a small traditional workshop and restaurant space owned by Aling May Mercado.
The atmosphere is welcoming and Aling May gladly share her tools and techniques for making these delicious Filipino crepes.
On your Pampanga food trip, be sure to stop at Burquillos Ng Apung for these classic Kapampangan delicacies.
Address: 040 Gosioco St. San Vicente, Santa Rita, Pampanga
Hours: No exact hours, their home is open anytime/any day; their products can be found in bakeries
Price: Burquillos are sold in Tubs for PHP 125 (approx. $2.30)
9. Panecillos de San Nicolas, San Nicolas de Tolentino or San Nicolas Cookies
St. Nicholas Cookies are a Pampanga delicacy made by Atching Lillian Borromeo, considered a custodian and one of the last makers of this Pampangan delicacy.
The story behind the Sanikolas or San Nicolas de Tolentino cookies is fascinating.
We learned that when building churches in Pampanga more than 100 years ago, egg whites were used to glue or hold the stones together.
The nuns took the discarded egg yolks and created a new recipe. The cookies were created and dedicated to San Nicolas, the patron saint of bakers.
At the time, cookies were given to the devotees on the feast day of St. Nicolas.
Using traditional wooden molds, Atching Lillian made the cookies for us.
She made the Kapampangan cookies using egg yolks, milk, cake flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and margarine.
It was impressive to see the old cookie molds, some over 100+ years ago.
And, these delicious buttery cookies, flaky and easy to eat, made for the perfect snack.
A visit to the Philippines’ culinary capital would not be complete without the San Nicolas cookies.
Where To Eat The Best San Nicolas de Tolentino Cookies
Atching Lillian Borromeo is considered a national treasure, famous in Pampanga for her authentic Kapampangan cuisine.
“Atching” translates to means auntie, a term she finds endearing.
Her signature delicacies are the San Nicolas Cookies that she prepares in her ancestral home, which doubles as a restaurant.
Atching Lillian welcomes visitors for tasty Kapampangan dishes. During your visit, she also offers cooking demonstrations, including how to make her signature San Nicolas cookies
Address: 2021, 174 Jose Abad Santos Avenue Mexico, Pampanga.
Hours: Open every day, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Price: A box of 24 cookies starts at 300 PHP (approx. $5.45)
10. Turrones de Casoy – Cashew Nut Hard Candy
Turrones de Casoy is a Kapampangans specialty and iconic dessert.
It is a delicious snack made with honey, ground cashew nut nougat wrapped in edible rice paper.
To describe this iconic candy, the Kapampangans say, “Kanan me ing balat,” meaning “you eat the wrapper.”
Not doing so or removing the wrapper marks you as being a non-Pampango.
It is crunchy and hard to chew, similar to nougat with cashew flavoring.
This Philippines candy has many equivalents around the world.
One version we enjoyed discovering was in Turron de Doña Pepa in Lima, Peru. Linked to religious activities, this is a sweet and sticky anise-flavored sweet.
What makes the Philippine Turones de Casoy so unique is the presence of cashew or “kasuy” in the Tagalog language.
If you are curious about Turrones de Casoy, you can order them online from Amazon.
Where To Eat The Best Turrones De Casoy
Ocampo Lansang Delicacies is the undisputed leader in Pampanga for this famous sweet treat.
Dominican sisters are said to have taught Mrs. Lansang, the founder the secrets of how to make this Pampanga delicacy.
The amazing and high-quality Turrones de Casoy and other delicacies, make Ocampo Lansang an unmissable stop when you visit Pampanga.
Address: San Jose, Santa Rita, Pampanga.
Hours: Open every day, 5:00 am to 6:00 pm
Price: Sweet delicacies starts at 60 PHP (approx. $1.10)
Frequently Ask Questions
What Is The Famous Delicacy in Pampanga?
Pampanga is a Philippine region well known throughout the world for its unique cuisine. The famous delicacy found here is Sisig, earning Angeles City in Pampanga the title, “Sisig Capital of the Philippines.”
What Product Is Famous in Pampanga?
Besides iconic dishes like Sisig, Buro or Kamaru, the sweet delicacies are famous. San Nicolas cookies is one of the most famous Pampanga delicacy.
What Is The most Famous Dish in Pampanga?
Sisig is by far the most famous Kapampangan dish. It is made from chopped-up pig face, cheek, and ears, cooked with chicken liver, and seasoned with calamansi juice and chili peppers.
Delicacies in Pampanga are some of the most famous and well-known in Filipino cuisine.
During our Pampanga food trip, we discovered unique traditional dishes and amazing local producers.
One of the things that we really enjoyed was learning about the Kapampangan food and the distinct regional differences in the Philippines.
There is local pride in Pampanga delicacies and it is amazing to taste the unique products.
If you have time for only one day trip out of Manila, make it the culinary capital of Pampanga.
You will be welcomed warmly into the homes of friendly locals who will share their love for Pampanga cuisine and the Philippines in general.
Have you had any regional Pampangan dishes? Please let us know which ones in the comments below!
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Disclosure: Our visit to Pampanga was organized by the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines for TBEX Conference. All views and opinions expressed are our own. Full bellies and happy taste buds too!
Rosemary is the editor-in-chief and strategist at Authentic Food Quest.
Traveling slow since 2015 with her partner, Claire, she has explored the cuisine in 45 countries and more than 240+ culinary cities.
Her writing about local food specialties has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post.
As a food and travel writer, Rosemary has co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
Rosemary is an avid runner when she’s not eating and exploring new destinations. She has run ten marathons and counting.
Before Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary held senior-level strategy positions in advertising.
Find out more about Authentic Food Quest