Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Like Iloilo!

Some places you’ll visit will impress you for any one or several of these reasons: the people, historical landmarks, natural beauty of the place, recreational activities, and of course, food.

Other than its centuries-old churches, I liked Iloilo for its food and pasalubong, the delicacies you can bring home with you to give to your loved ones. When I visited Iloilo City, I knew I should eat the real La Paz Batchoy—by real I mean not just the instant noodles sold in supermarkets and sari-sari store. This was my chance to savor the popular noodle and soup dish where it originated—right here in La Paz, Iloilo.

Our host first treated us to a hot bowl of La Paz Batchoy at Ted’s Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy. It was there that I learned that La Paz Batchoy takes on different forms—noodles actually. You can have it served with your choice of noodles—meke, miswa, sotanghon or bihon. I ordered meke batchoy and my senses had a feast! The aroma of kaldo--the shrimp and chicken broth flavored by garlic--wafted throughout the restaurant making me drool with hunger. The colorful display of yellow round noodles swimming in shrimp and chicken stock, garnished with pork organs (liver, kidneys), crushed pork cracklings, green onion spring, brown toasted garlic, and strips of beef loin made the dish look more palatable. And true enough, its salty-sweet, flavor-rich hot soup made my first day in Iloilo a treat.

Before leaving Iloilo, we tried batchoy again for breakfast, this time, at Deco’s Original La Paz Batchoy. I tried miswa batchoy with another local pride—pre-war pandesal. The pre-war pandesal is a petite bread and the shop’s cashier said it’s so called because that’s how bread in the area looked like before the war. The bowl of batchoy and pre-war pandesal satisfied once again my stomach and senses.

Within the same building is the Deco’s Pasalubong Shop where you can buy a wide range of sweets and other delicacies—piaya, butterscotch, biscocho, barquillos, broas, polvoron, and even dried fish, chili sauce and mango catsup. What’s nice about Deco’s is that they have a complimentary box to pack your goodies. This is especially helpful for travelers like us who will bring home the pasalubong to our loved ones back home.

One of the joys of traveling is savoring the local cuisine and bringing a part of it back home. In Iloilo, you’ll always enjoy food, and buy delicacies for your loved ones back home.

“That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 3:13

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