Where should Anthony Bourdain eat in the Philippines? | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

PEPITA'S Kitchen's Lechon
PEPITA'S Kitchen's Lechon
PEPITA’S Kitchen’s Lechon

Celebrity chef, TV host and author Anthony Bourdain is in the Philippines shooting an episode of “Parts Unknown,” his CNN show that chronicles his culinary adventures around the world.

Bourdain’s fans have been flooding social media with the things they think he should eat while he’s here. Here’s our unsolicited guide for him—a delicious mix of Filipino favorites and new discoveries.

(READ: Anthony Bourdain spotted at Jollibee)

Artsy in Maginhawa for the kare-kare; Judy Ann in Malabon for the crispy pata; Rosie’s pancit Malabon; Abe for gising-gising and adobo; Pamana which has most of the above. Pancit Pagulong in Marikina; Pancit Lucban in Buddy’s; Bulalo in Sto. Tomas Batangas and Tagaytay. Since Bourdain already went to Lucing by the railroad tracks in Angeles, he might as well try Sosing in Dian, Makati and Pares Point in Chino Roces to find out what the masses are eating. My Brother’s Mustache for really good sisig; Trellis for spicy spareribs. The Seaside Market in Daang Hari Alabang and Macapagal Blvd for what the Philippines is famous for: fresh fish. Yes the sigarilyas in Wooden Spoon! But I think pwedeng tapatan ng Elar’s ang lechon ng Cebu which Bourdain says is the best for him.

If Bourdain wants a sample of Manila nightlife, I’ll take him to Balete@Kamias QC for some big band jazz, drink up and listen to vinyl records at the Bank Bar in BGC which has a secret entrance in a corner of a 7-11 store, and have a nightcap at Finders Keepers which is in a warehouse in Makati. – Poch Concepcion

I would take him to Madeca for the sisig taco, and the pares place in Retiro and Excelente ham because Christmas. Chef Tatung’s homey restaurant is also a good place to take him, he has different regional takes on favorite Filipino dishes, like adobo. – Tatin Yang

Kanin Club for crispy dinuguan; Bacolod Chicken in BF Parañaque for inasal, garlic rice, chicken chicharon, chicharon bulaklak; Pancake House for adobo sulipan; Seafood City in Cebu for anything seafood, especially alimango in sotanghon; Cafe Adriatico for spare ribs adobo; Goodah in BF for goto. – Thelma Sioson San Juan

Luyong Panciteria in Marikina for lechon pancit, Cafe Sweet Inspirations on Katipunan for Mongolian barbecue, Lugawan sa Tejeros for the Lugaw with lechon. – Ruel De Vera

Trellis for sizzling sisig, Buddy’s for pansit lucban, Sentro for sinigang corned beef, Lamesa Grill for sigarilyas sa gata and adobo flakes, Quattro for bibingka and pork bits. – Vangie Baga Reyes

Since he loves sisig, I will take Anthony Bourdain to Madeca so he can try the sisig tacos or sisig burrito and the chicken chicharon. For dessert, I’ll take him to Sebastian’s Ice Cream so he can try Ian Carandang’s fantastic creations—the mangga’t bagoong, sapin-sapin and champorado with dilis ice cream. – Pam Pastor

Anthony Bourdain visits a lot of holes-in-the-walls, eateries and pondahan. Here are my top al-fresco picks:

Belito’s Vineyard, an off-the-road Filipino-Spanish restaurant on Bajada Road, Davao City, for paella negra with chorizo and calamansi, kinilaw na malasugue (blue marlin), spicy ribs, stir-fried shiitake with bokchoy, gambas, calamari in olive oil and lengua served tapas-style, plus homemade durian ice cream. All these with ice-cold Cerversa Negra.


BELITO’S Vineyard’s paella negra. PHOTO BY IRENE PEREZ
BELITO’S Vineyard’s kinilaw na malasuge. PHOTO BY IRENE PEREZ


Aida’s Chicken, a carinderia in Manokan Country, Iloilo City, for authentic chicken inasal. Tony shall eat with his hands pechopak and paa dipped in a combination of sukang sinamak, soy sauce, calamansi and chopped labuyo. I’ll suggest he eat it with garlic rice drizzled with chicken oil or a siding of steamed fresh oysters and skewers of grilled isol and baticolon, perfect with San Miguel Beer.

Green Ats Bulalohan, a 24-hour restaurant on Aguinaldo Highway in Tagaytay overlooking Taal Lake, famous for special nilagang bulalo with utak, crispy fried tawilis and sizzling chopsuey, paired with fresh buko juice.

NILAGANG bulalo with utak from Green Ats Bulalohan
NILAGANG bulalo with utak from Green Ats Bulalohan. PHOTO BY IRENE PEREZ

More lechon! He should try Pepita’s Kitchen’s lechon stuffed with truffle rice or sisig rice, by chef Dedet de la Fuente, and Rico’s spicy lechon from Cebu.  – Irene Perez

Sincerity Fried Chicken in Binondo. – Cathy Yamsuan

For down-home cooking, Wooden Spoon’s Sigarilyas sa Gata and Crispy Daing with a side of bagnet with KBL; Mamou’s Kurobota Sinigang; Pinakbet Rice at Benny’s Cafe in Rustan’s; Kulinarya’s Roast Beef Kare-kare, but only with Via Mare bagoong (coz all other resto bagoong is sweet and sticky and crap). Puede rin sa Dampa–Bourdain likes to get down and dirty. And XO Heritage Bistro’s crispy pata and salpicao. – Cheche Moral

Benavides street in Binondo. I will take him to a hundred-year-old restaurant there called Ma Kong Mami/Masuki. It’s the place where all the Fookien Chinese eat during Sunday mornings for family breakfast. That’s where our family usually eats during special events. – Jilson Tiu

DEKADA’S twice-cooked adobo
DEKADA’S lumpiang palabok

Via Mare’s halo-halo (still one of the best), and bibingka, staples such as Aristocrat’s Chicken Barbecue with extra peanut sauce…(because they charge extra for additional packets)… Gerry’s Grill kare-kare and binagoongan–simple, no frills and just like how my mother used to cooked ’em–to hell whether you live tomorrow or not as long as you’re happy today! Dekada’s twice-cooked adobo and lumpiang palabok, Kanin Club’s Crispy Dinuguan, Sentro’s Sinigang ng Corned Beef. – Alex Vergara



Satueed fiddlehead fern and jicama from Ka Lui in Puerto Princesa. PHOTO BY RAOUL CHEE KEE
CORN and cheese tempura at Wabi Sabi. Satueed fiddlehead fern and jicama from Ka Lui in Puerto Princesa. PHOTO BY RAOUL CHEE KEE


Sautéed fiddlehead fern and jicama at Ka Lui in Puerto Princesa is tasty and healthy. The crispy pata (pork trotters) at Livestock in QC is crisp outside, teder inside. Waiters “chop” it up with a saucer. Corn and cheese tempura at Wabi Sabi, QC is salty-sweet and strangely addicting. – Raoul Chee Kee

Manukan Country, Bacolod City. Inasal and talaba. In Manila, the Kalabasa with Sitaw and Dilis at Sarsa, the Kamote Mash at Cafe Batwan, and the Binukadkad na PlaPla with Balo Balo and My Mom’s Puchero at Abe’s in Serendra. I’d also invite him to my house to eat my mother’s callos. Then I’d get him really drunk and take a ton of selfies, because he’s really funny. Take him to Batanes to get drunk on palek (rice wine)! I suggest also, since he’s done Jollibee, serve him Max’s and ask him which is the better bird. – Alya Honasan

Mesa’s appetizers of tinapa rolls and hito flakes; recipes’ gising-gising; Kanin Club’s crispy liempo strips, sinigang rice. – Gibbs Cadiz

I believe Chef Bourdain should be entertained where he can truly experience the essence of the Philippines, not just through the flavors of our cuisine but through our culture, the charm of our natural landscape and most especially, the warmth of our hospitality.

Being a world class chef and traveler, who has perhaps experienced it all, in my opinion, what befits him most, is to be in the company of families who have kept their culinary heritage and traditions alive. Homes where he can have a taste of carefully prepared heirloom recipes.

Given the privilege to take him for a meal, these are but a few of what I wish him to experience:

The delicious “binalots” (rice, slathered with sauce topped with adobo and salted egg, wrapped in banana leaves) found along the roadside or cooked along the shores of Batangas…. Local color. Simple fare that is so innately Filipino.

To experience country life, a trip to Villa Escudero would be nice. To have him wade through the falls while indulging in local offerings will surely prove that it is more fun in the Philippines!

Ilocos is another destination to visit. Not just for the many flavors that are uniquely our own but for the historical sights and the beautiful old mansions.

There we will offer him a toast with native Basi; introduce him to the counterpart of Balsamic Vinegar – Sukang Iloco and have him sample pinakbet made with what Governor Imee Marcos tags as “boutique vegetables,” (small varieties of eggplants, ampalaya – locally grown produce that make the real Ilocano pinakbet.

Malagos Garden Resort in Davao is as well experiential. To try are the home grown milk fed goats, marinated and roasted – “lechong cabrito” before your very eyes. Spear fishing and grilling your catch. Delicious home made cheeses. Chocolate – grown, processed and finished all in Malagos. Perhaps a side trip to see the majestic Philippine Eagle.

A journey back in time, is as well lovely. At her spacious kitchen with wood fired stoves and ovens, I would ask food historian Atching Lillian Borromeo, to prepare a meal for us that would consist of favorites such as bringhe, kaldereta, adobong puti, estofado, done traditionally.

Her tales and trivia would surely perk up the table as will her hands on demonstration of old time delicacies — San Nicolas cookies, Duck Egg Ensaimadas with Suklati Batirul, to name a few, will surely bring him delight.

Lastly, halo-halo by the bay, to witness our world famous sunset.

These I feel encapsulates (though rather minutely) the beauty and the deliciousness of the Philippines. – Reggie Aspiras

Where would you like to take Anthony Bourdain? 

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