Food is always a huge part of traveling to a new place. Getting a taste of a province’s local delicacies isn’t just an excuse to eat delicious food, it’s a way to get to know another culture and learn about what they value the most. Sometimes, it’s a gateway into the heart and soul of a city or province — the key to what makes a place tick.
The next time you travel to these 10 provinces, be sure to try their local delicacies.
Cashews are abundant in many parts of Bataan, so everywhere you go in the province you’ll find cashew products in various shapes and forms. While they’re delicious enough as is, an interesting way to enjoy cashews is in spread form. Instead of spreading peanut butter on your toast, try the rich and creamy cashew butter that’s sold in pasalubong shops all across the province.
There’s more to Batangas than lomi, bulalo, and kapeng barako. The rare and delicious maliputo (or talakitok) is a type of fish that can be found in Taal Lake. At Hapag, they cook the fish in a sour sinigang that’s best enjoyed on chilly nights.
Made out of ground glutinous rice, brown sugar, and coconut milk, kalamay is a kakanin that is made all around the country. What makes Bohol’s kalamay special is its packaging — it’s sold in coconut shells wrapped with a strip of red paper. Bohol’s sweet and sticky kalamay can be found virtually everywhere in the province, and is best paired with hot and fresh pan de sal.
In a small restaurant in Marilao called Pansitan ni Aling Simeona, you’ll find a dish that’s kind of like palabok. Only, instead of chicharon, it’s topped with ground rice cooked in pork oil, diced kamias, and a host of other unique ingredients that makes the pancit uniquely Bulakeno.
Packed in an old school cloth bag called “katcha,” Jamon de Cagayan is a much-loved delicacy, especially during the holiday season. Salty, smoky, and sweet, Jamon de Cagayan is perfect for sandwiches and pica-pica.
There’s no denying that Cebu’s food scene is synonymous with one word: lechon. However, in a quiet coastal town of Cordova, another dish reigns supreme — Tatay Entoy’s nilarang na bakasi. Nilarang, much like sinigang, is a sour stew made with sour fruits like tamarind, mangoes, or bilimbi, while bakasi is a small slithering eel abundant in the town’s waters. Featured in Netflix’s “Street Food,” nilarang na bakasi is a delicious and hearty soup that allegedly has aphrodisiac properties!
Durian is a love it or hate it kind of fruit. Those who love it know it’s best eaten cold — the creamy, custard-like texture feeling almost like ice cream. This is probably why Lachi’s Durian Cheesecake is so good. It’s everything you want out of durian with an added saltiness and tanginess to it.
KBL stands for kadyos (pigeon peas), baboy (pork), and langka (jackfruit). This might sound like an unlikely combination, but the three ingredients work deliciously together (along with the help of batwan) in a soup that is akin to sinigang.
Pampanga is the country’s food capital, so it’s difficult to recommend just one local delicacy! But while sisig, tocino, morcon, and halo-halo have all become staples even around the country, bringhe remains severely underrated. It’s a dish very similar to Spanish paella, but instead it uses malagkit rice, native chicken, turmeric, and coconut milk.
For the adventurous foodie, tamilok is a must-try. Also known as a woodworm, tamilok is a slimy mollusc found in rotting mangrove barks. Served raw, it’s dipped in a sauce of sili, vinegar, and calamansi. They say it tastes just like oysters — minus the shell!
Everyone deserves a beautiful life that’s deeply connected to their surroundings. So go and enrich your soul, taste some great food, and discover new cultures. Who knows? You may even find yourself being so connected to an area that you’ll never want to leave — and that may be where you create the beautiful life you deserve right then, right there.