Pampanga will always be a culinary haven for me. On a recent trip to the Clark Freeport Zone, we made sure to try some restos the family has never tried before even though we were there for just an overnight. Ordering room service at the hotel isn’t just my style … I gotta get out!
We arrived late afternoon and scheduled our dinner at Binulo restaurant. Their branch in Clark is quite spacious, suitable for drinking and conversing.They take pride in serving authentic Kapampangan food and am glad they didn’t disappoint! Service was good too. Mostly, I took the cue from our waiter on what to order although I had to thumbs down his suggestion to sample the house specialty, kare-kare. I just wanted a light dinner that night so I had….
The pako salad made of fiddlehead fern grown in the mountains of Arayat (so our waiter said).
This dish was just amazing. I liked the subtle play of flavors served by the combination of mild vinaigrette, red egg, sliced tomatoes, and shrimps. The topping of peanuts added a degree of crunchiness to the dish. It helped that pako or fern isn’t something I eat everyday so my tongue welcomed it with excitement like it does when it’s tasting foie gras or something novel.
The binukdkad na plapla (butterflied fish) was equally yummy.The plapla was perfectly fried. I learned something new from the waiter and it’s about how this dish is eaten. Am reminded of enjoying som gyeop sal in Korean cuisine. Lay out the mustasa leaves, spread buro or fermented rice with fish, top with more fish, fold the leaves like paper and eat!
My two daughters shared this big bowl of kaldereta which was saucy and tasty. The beef was really tender too. I give Binulo’s version of this comfort food a thumbs up!
The next day, after a very satisfying breakfast at our hotel (Widus), we went to Koko Buri (The House of Rising Chicken) for a light lunch. I’ve heard this resto being mentioned by some blogger friends and I was excited to try their specialty – twice-fried Korean style chicken, soy garlic flavor (P300 for a half order). I was reminded of BonChon once I bit into the piece. Hubby found their batter too much like tempura. Honestly, there was nothing extraordinary about what we tasted. We could have done better ordering their spicy chicken.
Next we ordered one of their pizza varieties. There’s thin-crust pizza, but the crust of this one was paper-thin. So much so that the weight of the toppings bore down hard on the crust. Good flavor though.
Verdict: Koko Buri has other interesting items on the menu and selections the kids would love (cakes, pizza, pasta, chicken). Their brewed coffee is good too. But I think I’d like to dine again in Binulo next time!
Find Binulo and Koko Buri inside the Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga