ANGELES CITY | Ford Australia recently invited The City Lane to travel through the Pampanga region of the Philippines recently and discover what this beautiful location has to offer. We took their Ecosport for a drive, maneuvering the sporty “urban” SUV through narrow backstreets, weaving through highway traffic; including jeepneys and tricycles that cut you off with out a second glance, before arriving at Binulo Restaurant. Pamanaga’s scary traffic is worth braving for the hungry tourist as the region is considered by many to be the “culinary capital” of the Philippines. Binulo Restaurant, which is located in the Clark Freeport Zone, specialises in traditional Capampangan flavours, a type of regional cuisine we’d not tried before.
The name of the restaurant comes from the traditional way of cooking food inside a bamboo stalk called “binulo”. This is also the main cooking method for one of the restaurant’s signature dishes Sinampalukang Manok. Sinampalukang Manok is a fragrant soup comprised of chicken, vegetables and young tamarind leaves cooked in a bamboo stalk. The soup has a sublime, complex flavour – light, yet earthy with a slight sourness from the tamarind. It’s a dish we highly recommend trying. The Paco Salad is another tasty dish on the menu, but unlike the Sinampalukang Manok, this one divided the dining group. The Fiddlehead ferns salad with, prawns, egg tomato and peanuts are flavorsome however the texture of the ferns can turn some people off.
Out of all the dishes served the Sisig was the standout. The dish we experienced is nothing like the original sisig which contained green papaya, salt, pepper, vinegar and garlic. The dish transformed in the 1970s due to the left over meat from the Clark U.S. air base. Certain unwanted parts of the pig became abundant, so rather than wasting scarce meat, the leftover pig’s ears, cheek, liver and spices were incorporated to create an incredibly moreish dish. This dish is heaven on a sizzling plate and something you need to try.
Last of all was the Beef Kare-Kare, another group favourite. It’s comprised of slow cooked beef ox tail slowly cooked in a thick creamy peanut sauce. Kare-Kare is rich, with an intense, slightly sweet, peanut flavour. To soak up the lush sauce from the Kare-Kare, we recommend the Binulong Nashi which is a fragrant sticky rice wrapped in a banana leave served in a bamboo reed.
Great food, great dining and travel companions, and new discoveries – it’s what travel is all about. If you ever do find yourself in this part of the world, we highly recommend swining by Binulo Restaurant for a meal.
Manuel A. Roxas Highway
Telephone: 045 499 2238
Mon – Sun: 11:00am to 10:00pm
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