Kapampangan cuisine (or the cooking of the province of Pampanga) is one of the first I loved. There was this old resto in Malate called Mequeni which served great food but it has closed ages ago. So when an invite came from Ms. Angel Pelayo of Grandmomma’s Kitchen to try eating at her pet resto Pinác with other food bloggers, I said yes. Somehow, she got me at the phrase “Heirloom Capampangan Cuisine.” Coming from a political family in Candaba, Pampanga (a popular place to watch the migration of birds), Angel is showcasing in Pinác precious family recipes handed down through generations.Comfort Filipino food, no less!
First, Pinác is located in UP Town Center which is awash with a lot of interesting restaurants. Unfortunately, it’s far away from me. Imagine the traffic I encountered on week night rush hour just to go to Katipunan. This was the scene at C5-Kalayaan flyover..am sure some of you can relate 🙂
So I arrived close to 9pm for a 7pm appointment, and my colleagues were already eating dessert, LOL
Gladly, the waiter plopped down a plate of the lengua con setas, one of the house specialties offered during lunch (P255). Delish sauce plus mouthwatering ox tongue plus toasted garlic and vegetables..these were enough to make me forget that I was in purgatory earlier with the traffic.
And to wash away the tiredness, a refreshing glass of Cucumber Mint Dalandan Shake (P85).
Now here’s a few interesting items that are uniquely Kapampangan:
The Crispy Hito Balls, Mustasa at Buro (P235). I’d say it’s a new twist to a traditional dish, and it’s described in the menu as a “fun way to eat buro (fermented fish).” Dip the catfish balls in buro, flatten it a little and wrap in mustasa leaves.Delicious! And this actually reminded me of the way we eat the Korean samgyeopsal.
I loved the rendition of the lone fish dish during our dinner, the Adobong Hito Sa Alagaw (P185). The combination of the fleshy catfish and the adobo, where the soy sauce and the aromatic herb flavor dominates, was simply superb.
Crispy pata (P545) was still crispy when I tasted it. Left-overs need not look so lonely 🙂
Confession: I eat kare-kare with just vegetables and bagoong on it, so this was perfect. The kare kare sauce of Pinac is a must-try!
Pinác has an interesting line-up of native desserts, among them: Suman, Manga at Tsokolate; Halo halo, and Brazo de Mais at Salabat. But this filling Dulce de Leche Cheesecake was good enough for me. I like desserts that are not too sweet.
Overall, Pinac serves good heritage food, with reasonable prices. It’s a gem in the culinary destination that is UP Town Center, and I really don’t mind driving the distance to try the other restaurants too!
Pinac Heirloom Capampangan Cuisine
2F Ayala UP Town Center
Katipunan Avenue, QC
Tel. No. 775-9450