Invited recently to Angeles, Pampanga, my immediate reaction was, “Hmm, where will I eat?” Although my call time was still at 5 p.m., I was in Angeles by noon.
With the help of an electronic map, my group found our favored sisig place on one of the side streets of McArthur Highway. My plan of attack, so as not to be flooded with food guilt for indulging in pork, was to start off with delicious pako salad—firm, bright green ferns topped with sliced salted eggs and onions and with mildly sweet vinegar dressing. Yummy.
Then came the sisig. But somehow it tasted a bit bland that day. The textures were there but it lacked something. I asked for patis and calamansi and drizzled them over the sisig… Voila! The flavor came to life!
Even the chicharon bulaklak was different that day. I loved the barbecue tocino, though. These grilled sweet pork skewers were a bit caramelized from the burned sugar, but they were outstanding.
Before leaving I gave my comments to the owners, just so they would know. I hope that when I return, everything will be back to how it was.
In Marquee Mall I killed time before entering the food festival being held on the open grounds. The food in each booth looked tempting. I held myself since I had a dinner appointment at a Vietnamese place along Fields Avenue near Clark.
At the food fest I did a live cooking show with Atching Lillian Borromeo. She is one of Pampanga’s culinary icons. She shared her award-winning Chicken Royale recipe. It was butter-fried chicken breasts topped with cream of corn and simply seasoned. On top, she spread creamy mashed potatoes over. Sarap.
Delicious blend of flavors
I rushed to the Vietnamese restaurant, Banh Mi Ngon, and got there in 15 minutes.
I started with fresh, chilled, homemade guyabano juice. This had pulp bits and was very refreshing.
I ordered Banh Mi or chicken sandwich with mayo, liver pâté, pickled carrots, radish, cucumber, cilantro and some seasoning in a Vietnamese baguette. It was a delicious blend of flavors.
There are other fillings aside from chicken—beef, pork or a combination of any.
I also had a must-try salad called Goi Ga or chicken salad. The dressing was a sweet patis-type poured over a variety of greens. There were herbs that tasted new to me, but put together, it worked.
I loved the fresh spring rolls as well. Dipped in the sauce then topped with chiracha, it was a winner.
I had to try the Pho Ngon or beef noodle soup. The broth was rich and had a clean, clear taste. This was the most authentic-tasting Vietnamese broth I had tried in our shores. The meat was tender, the rice noodles perfectly done, and the blend of flavors just right.
I left stuffed but not uncomfortable. I might have eaten a lot, but it was all healthy. That’s Vietnamese food. I’ll gladly travel to Angeles just to have that meal again.
Banh Mi Ngon is at Fields Ave., Angeles City, across the SM sign. Tel. nos. 0919-4667992 or 0925-8860920.
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