CALABARZON Food Trip in Celebration of Filipino Food Month
Without the alarm on my phone, I think I would wake up by noontime! Thankfully, the buzz on my phone made me get up by 6 am perfect for my plan to do a morning walk. Ouans is made of 11 hectares of land. Only 4 hectares cover the entire accommodation so I was thinking what’s there in the woods. The owner’s daughter told me that there’s a plan to develop Ouan’s farm tourism spot. I admire the tall trees draped by long and thick vines extending down the ground. I wanted to walk further but I can feel my stomach is empty so I went to the place where we are going to eat. Guess what, I was the early bird!
Breakfast at Ouans The Farm Resort
In the morning, we were served buffet breakfast of fried rice, scrambled eggs, Quezon longganisa and the best-tasting tinapa (smoked fish) I have ever eaten for breakfast. I swear! Ouan’s resident restaurant, Grandma’s Kitchen exudes a rustic and cabin atmosphere strategically located where you have the best view of the swimming pool and the surrounding trees.
Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/OuansTheFarmResort/
Address: Km. 133 Diversion Road, Lucena City 4301
Opening hours: 7am-8pm (reception)
Contact information: 042 7131100
Brunch at LUISA and Daughter Restaurant
Luisa and Daughter Restaurant has been serving many kinds of viands in Quezon Province for 30 years. They served dishes that are deemed ahead from other restaurants in the area three decades ago because they already had Thai pancit, Korean Barbecue (bulgogi), tacos and sukiyaki on their menu. However, if there’s one local dish LUISA and Daughter has made a name of is Chami – flat Miki Noodles or Shanghai-style noodles stir-fried or sautéed with meat and vegetables. We were invited to the kitchen where they do all the cooking and demonstrated to us how to cook chami and voila, it only takes less than 10 minutes to finish!
The “Chami” that they serve warm to their customers do not contain artificial seasoning. It is purely made of “kaldo” or chicken stock. That’s the reason why the taste is authentic and a healthy version. They serve two variations: Chami regular (sweet) and Binalibag sa toyo (spicy). Don’t be surprised why you see beautiful (for sale) paintings hanging on the walls of this restaurant. Luisa and Daughter supports talented and budding artists in their province.
What to order:
Aside from chami – I suggest pancit Lucban, La Paz batchoy and pancit Molo.
Cream puff and lemon pie
Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/luisarestaurant/
Address: Quezon Avenue Extension, Brgy. Gulang-Gulang, Lucena City
Opening hours: 7am-10pm
Contact information: 0427107543
Lunch at Kamayan sa Palaisdaan Restaurant
Kamayan sa Palaisdaan Restaurant is one perfect spot if you have a foreign friend who is curious about the local dining vibe or a balikbayan relative is looking for a place to eat a myriad of Filipino food he used to eat since birth. Sixty wooden cottages that appear “floating” occupy the 1.5 hectares of land in Kamayan sa Palaisdaan Restaurant. The man-made lake that surrounds these cottages is well-kept that we even saw guys who were able to catch big tilapias using a simple fishing rod. What makes the dining experience here top-notch is a group of guys who hop from one cottage to another singing songs with a guitar and tambourine. It was also very nice to eat “pilipit”, Quezon’s local version of donut made of squash. The last time I ate this was during the Pahiyas Festival four years ago.
Kamayan sa Palaisdaan Restaurant has its own hotel bearing the same name. They have resthouse, deluxe, standard, villa and dormitory type of accommodation. If you want something modern, how about eating inside a refurbished airplane? Not far from Kamayan sa Palaisdaan Restaurant is its sister company Air Summit. Before you get inside, you’ll pass through a mini-airport where you’ll be welcomed by a lady and a gentleman dressed like cabin assistants who will take your order.
What to order:
Kamayan Boodle Fight good for 5-7 persons Php 2, 499
Menu Set A: steamed rice, steamed okra, talong & kangkong, inihaw na tilapia, inihaw na pork chop, chicken BBQ, inihaw na pusit, enseladang mangga, choice of free soup or iced tea pitcher
Menu Set B: steamed rice, steamed okra, talong & kangkong, crispy pata, fried chicken, fish fillet, calamares, enseladang mangga, choice of free soup or iced tea pitcher
Address: Brgy. Dapdap, Tayabas City, Quezon
Opening hours: Daily 8am-9pm
Contact information: 042 793-3654 or 55 | 0918-951-0460 |0917-556-2642
Meryenda at Kape Kesada
Kape Kesada looks like a typical old ancestral house but there’s more than that. Inside, it is a quaint art gallery and cafe founded by an art lover, entrepreneur and dentist. This house back then was a “bahay kubo” or native wooden house but the owner slowly converted this to what it is today from remnants of demolished old houses. Kape Kesada has limited space but the artist managed to include an “outdoor” spot with views of the nearby road. The floor is entirely covered with small pebbles. You can dine here when it is not raining – if not you can move inside.
We were served “laksa” (made of puso ng or saging banana ‘heart’ plus okra, stringbeans, squash, etc. cooked in coconut cream, “minani” (fried cassava cubes sprinkled with salt) and kalamay (glutinous rice with coconut milk and brown sugar).
What to order:
The ones we tasted are not typically available every day in this cafe. You’ll have to order in advance. They serve sandwiches, Quezon local viands, coffee and more.
Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/kapekesada/
Address: 4 J.V. Quesada St. Paete 4016
Opening hours: Business hours
Contact information: +63 49 557 1436
Sidetrip #1 – Fruit and Vegetable Carving Demo at Paete’s Municipal Hall
Paete is known for its world-class carvers and carving products. Instead of carving stone or wood, this time we met two locals who hail from Paete. They work in an international ship as chefs and currently on vacation. They showed us their carving skills to make art out of fruits, flowers, and vegetables.
Sidetrip #2 – Provincial Capitol Building of Quezon Province
It was a pity but the Provincial Capitol Building of Quezon Province is under construction and our visit was very swift so we were not able to take lots of good photos. However, if you are in Quezon Province, this is one of the most recommended spots to visit. Built in early 19th century, this capitol was designed in the neo-classic style.
From 1930 until today, it is an example of the fusion between contemporary and historical styles featuring 24 free-standing figures of concrete casts by Italian sculptor Francesco Monti.
Dinner at Balaw Balaw Restaurant
Our final dinner was in Balaw Balaw Restaurant. Balaw Balaw is a local sauce usually served with Sinigang. It is made of small shrimps mixed with rice gruel plus a local herb with reddish color. It’s an art gallery cum restaurant but way bigger than Kape Kesada. I give Balaw Balaw Restaurant extra thousand points for providing a separate sink just few cartwheels away from the dining area. Guests are encouraged to wash their hands and of course, eat with their hands.
By this time you can just imagine how much food we ate for the last two days so yours truly ate gracefully but made sure I tasted everything on the table! I specifically love “lauya” which is like sinigang except that Rizal folks drop cinnamon bark (sangkit) while waiting for the beef to be tender. Minaluto, a Filipino take on the paella was the star on our table. We had it in two versions: yellow and black. It is made of pork, chicken adobo, seafood, bougainvillea salad, crispy alagaw, burong balaw-balaw, fried & dried fish, grilled squid and more. Rice was colored black because of the squid tint. The native duck wrapped in pita bread is Rizal’s version of shawarma. We had “ensaladang mangga”, crispy alagaw and nilasing na hipon (alcohol-infused shrimps) as well. A glass of cold real tamarind juice was all I need to give justice to my heavy belly.
What to order:
Regular minaluto (steamed rice, mussels, prawn, crab, water spinach, pork adobo, tomato and salted egg) – Php 335
with yellow rice: Php 350
with binagoongan rice: Php 350
with pink rice: Php 350
Facebook fan page: https://balawbalawresto.webs.com/
Address: Doña Justa Street, Angono, 1930 Lalawigan ng Rizal
Opening hours: Sun: closed
Contact information: +63 651 0110
Big thanks to Miss Maria Cristina Decal, our tour guide for this trip. She grew up in a family who loves to eat and cook. In fact, she said the biggest portion of her house is the kitchen. Bonding together with her loved ones means sharing a (local) meal. She runs food and heritage tour in CALABARZON area. You can find her on Facebook under the name Kulinarya Tagala.