Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Namit Gid, Iloilo!

For the past five years, I found myself in and out of Iloilo, visiting friends, getting acquainted with the city's history and culture, and savouring their dishes. In my last trip, I was on gastronomic mode again as I had my filling from the dining institutions and old favourites to the new kids on the block.

Madge Cafe
La Paz Public Market

"Painit" is a light meal to start the day prior to having a big breakfast. That means having a cup of hot beverage paired with pan de sal or rice cakes. And the best place to have "painit" in Iloilo is at Madge Cafe. This unassuming yet iconic coffee house in the heart of the La Paz market is open to its patrons and curious tourists as early as the break of dawn. Locals converge and converse about anything under the sun over a cup of brewed native coffee sourced from northern Iloilo. 

Preps for the coffee

This no-frills watering hole has been giving the Ilonggos their caffeine fix for more than fifty years now. On one side of the cafe are news articles on Madge Cafe. On another side is a shelf filled with personalized mugs for the use of their regular customers.

Mugs for the regulars

Decoration made out of used milk cans.
Incidentally, you can have to-go coffee in these milk cans. 

You can have your coffee mild, regular or strong, and with or without milk. We paired our coffee with pan de ciosa, toasted bread lathered with butter and sugar. And if you're up for a heavy breakfast, they also have a variety of viands to choose from.

Netong's Batchoy
La Paz Public Market

Another dining institution in Iloilo located inside the La Paz Market, too, and known for its piping hot and delicious batchoy is Netong's. Batchoy is a noodle soup with vegetables and pork entrails, topped with crushed chicharon or pork cracklings.

Batchoy is best paired with puto.

Buto't Balat
Diversion Road (near SM City Mandurriao)

An oasis in the city, serving your favourite Filipino dishes. We dined at their Diversion Road branch near SM City. An open-air restaurant using local materials and with shrubs and trees providing shade and aesthetic appeal.

For lunch, we had fresh talaba (oysters), sinigang na hipon (shrimps in sour broth), grilled squid and sinuglaw (grilled pork/fish ceviche). And yes, our lunch was yummy to the buto't balat (to the bones and skin)!

Bauhinia Filipino Cuisine
Smallville, Mandurriao

A restaurant that serves Filipino dishes with special attention to Ilonggo favourites.


Laswa (Vegetable Soup)


Never too early for a frozen margarita.

Roberto's Siopao
61 J.M. Basa Street, Iloilo City

If it is good siopao, then it must be Roberto's. Their bestseller is the Queen siopao, steamed bun filled with bacon, adobo, sausage and egg.

Jo-Ann's Special Fishballs
Molo Plaza (near Andok's)

One of Molo district's best kept secret no more is Jo-Ann's Fishball. It is located just across Molo Plaza (near the Andok's station). By far, the best fishball I had because it is really what fishball should taste like --- real fish meat with garlic and onion and rolled in flour. A far cry from the fishballs sold in groceries. To make the fishball eating experience more exciting, there are several pitchers of sauce to complement the street food ranging from sweet to mildly hot then hot to the extreme hot sauce. Each stick costs Php 8.00.

Nothing But Desserts

Smallville, Mandurriao

And drinks, too. If you're too tired to venture out for dessert after having lunch or dinner at Smallville, then this is the place to be.

JD Bakery and Cafe
Roadhouse, General Luna Street, Iloilo City
(also at the Departure Area of the Iloilo Airport)

Whenever I am asked for a preferred pasalubong from Iloilo, in a heartbeat I'd answer the brownies from JD Bakery.

Apart from brownies, they also have breads, filled buns, pastries and cakes. And they also now serve set meals, too, at a price that might shock your senses because good food can be had at reasonable, nay, slightly lower than the average market price.

Doming's Talabahan and Seafoods Restaurant
National Highway, Miag-ao, Iloilo

Located along the National Highway before entering the town proper of Miag-ao  (on the left side of the highway) is one of the institutions in Iloilo's dining scene. Doming's is famous for its fresh talaba (oysters) as well as value-for-money dishes.

Another no-frills, open-air restaurant which has a panoramic view of the sea. 

View while having lunch.

Can't have enough of it? Buckets of talaba!

For lunch, we had tinolang isda,
grilled squid and liver and kinilaw (ceviche).

Iloilo never fails when it comes to memorable gastronomic experience. Namit gid ya!

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Thank you for visiting Traipsing Chronicles. I hope you will continue walking with me as I wander and see the world. Cheers!

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