Pangasinan Food Tour 2014: Calasiao

Eat like a Don

Not very far from our last stop, Kuya Max, is another diner, this time in Calasiao, offering the usual Filipino cuisine but not forgetting to concoct twists to make a client’s food experience one of the best. Many have tried experimenting on different recipes, but only a few have stood out. Don Armando’s may not ring some bells when others hear about it, but the fact that customers come rushing in and out of the place is proof that it is getting there sooner rather than later.
Evidently, the owners, husband and wife John Paulo and Teng Bauzon, have poured extra effort into this venture. Not to mention the fact that they also cater to customers looking for an American cuisine through Pizza Don.

The Food Tour team

Don Armando’s Chicken

Sisig

Leche Flan
Friday Special and Pizza Don Special
The dish, however, which really stood out during our visit was Binakol, Don Armando’s sinigang na may buko. 

With dedication and passion combined with the owners’ and their staff’s perseverance to provide their customers the best dining experience, Don Armando’s and Pizza Don will surely succeed in making a big hit.


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Pangasinan Food Tour 2014: Dagupan City

Food trip to the MAX

Going beyond and offering more than what others do will surely turn on customers looking for dishes other than the regular fare that can be found in most diners. These are acts put together by Maximo Alexis Tan, the owner of Kuya Max Grill and Restaurant in Dagupan City.
About 15 minutes from Mangaldan, our next stop during the Pangasinan Food Tour 2014 exceeded the satisfaction rating that our stomachs can give. It was lunch time when we arrived at Kuya Max situated along De Venecia Road, Dagupan City. We could hear our stomachs grumble at the sight of food. Add to that the inviting ambiance of a combined stone and wood architecture which gave us the cozy feeling of dining.
Soup
Many restaurants and eateries in Pangasinan offer clam soup to their customers. So does Kuya Max. But what makes Kuya Max’s version exciting is its spiciness, a perfect appetizer for a big feast which was the scene at the restaurant during the food tour.

Sizzlers
Three sizzling dishes were served to the tasters: Sizzling Boneless Bangus (milk fish), Sizzling Bangus Max and Sizzling Pork Binagoongan (with talong). Literally gone in less than five minutes, the last one obviously became a favorite (and the top sizzler on that day).
Fish
Inihaw na Bangus (grilled milk fish) and hito (catfish), regular finds in restaurants in Pangasinan, were also presented to the group, only this time, the bangus was boneless and the hito, crispy. What everyone was curious about was the Crispy Bunor, small fried fish with a vinegar dip, a dish which can serve as finger food.

Veggies
Vegetarians will never miss out on their healthy diet. Kuya Max introduced to the group its version of the Ilocano specialty, Pinakbet. What makes it different is the tomato sauce which renders a flavorful mixture of vegetables. The Gulay (vegetable) Kare-kare is equally delectable. The rich flavor of peanuts in the sauce brings the taste of vegetables to a whole new heavenly level.

Pigar-pigar
And because Kuya Max is located in the city which is most famous for Pigar-pigar, everyone will definitely look for it. Sure enough, Kuya Max offers this delicious dish. It boasts of its take on Pigar-pigar where in real Angus beef imported from the US is used. The tender meat cooked to perfection instantly became a hit.
Thirst quenchers
With a wide array of food served to us, we definitely needed some fluid intake to drive the bits down. Kuya Max served us with Frozen Lemonade which indeed has a cooling effect. Kamias Shake, however, held everyone’s attention.
Offering old favorites in a different light is one act mastered almost perfectly by Kuya Max. The twists are indeed enticing, making diners enjoy an extraordinary food experience.


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Pangasinan Food Tour 2014: Mangaldan

From Baguio to Mangaldan to Baguio

Everyone knows where to buy peanut brittle—Baguio City.

But things might have a turnaround—or, already had—as another town in Northern Philippines has become known for a peanut brittle shop.
After our sumptuous pindang tasting at Mama Cela’s Tapa and Meat Products during the Pangasinan Food Tour 2014 on January 11, it was time to rekindle our fiery sweet tooth with peanut brittle of Romana in Mangaldan. Situated along the highway, the same road that motorists take in going to Baguio City, Romana Peanut Brittle and its owner boast of an authentic Filipino favorite that will surely satiate your craving for a delightfully sweet mix.

Peanut brittle, the answer to your craving for a sweet treat.

I used to like exceedingly sweet treats, but for some reason which I’m not quite certain of, I toned down the craving. Yet, the peanut brittle served to us was one treat which was hard to resist.

Romana’s products are also exported to Baguio, the city in North Luzon which is famous for it–a bit of an irony, isn’t it?

Savoring the crunchiness, I was reminded of the peanut brittle of Antipolo City where we used to live. It is a flat round mass of hardened sugar riddled with peanuts. Like this delicacy, Romana’s peanut brittle contains whole peanuts—one characteristic which makes it different from those sold in Baguio City whose nuts are crushed into tiny bits.

Looking around the compact yet inviting store adorned with wood accents and furnishings, one will conclude that the business has flourished. But, the expanse of the property on which the store, the house and the factory lay nested is a much concrete proof of how successful Romana has been. The store also sells peanut adobo and tablea (chocolate).

It may not be the original maker of peanut brittle. Not even located in the city that is famous for it. But Romana has marked its spot in the peanut brittle industry, a spot that may continue to expand as time goes by and as the owner, Romana de Vera, devises new ways to innovate.

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