MOVIEGOER: Food finds in Batangas

Published July 7, 2021, 7:29 AM

by Nestor Cuartero

   Food finds come our way in the most unexpected places, at the most unexpected time.

   What’s good about them is that they’re simple, generally inexpensive and therefore affordable, but high-rating when it comes to matters of taste. They can also be sourced in neighborhoods not really known as eating meccas.

   Let me just share some of my old and recent food discoveries that you may find useful. Food has been one of our major sources of happiness during this enduring, hungering pandemic. Discovering where to find them makes for some good news definitely.


    WINNIE-SOME BUCO PIE: An old favourite is Big Mom’s Oven, featuring exquisite Buco Pie, which Winnie Corrachea-Barcelona bakes and sells at E. Zuno Street

in Rosario, Batangas.

    Winnie and her husband Aldwin (Aldwinnie Barcelona on Facebook) maintain the quality of their product by using only fresh coconut meat that’s neither too young nor too old.

    They have recently expanded their repertoire to include new favorites like Sans Rival and Ube Pie.

     Winnie’s Ube Pie, featuring finely grated yam, brings the lowly root crop to a new, exciting level. Like their Buco Pie, it is sandwiched between thick, crispy crusts that are a delight in themselves.

     Best of all, it’s sweet in an easy, relaxed way, which is how desserts should come these days (043-312-0207 or 0925-312-0207).


      IREEN’S PANOCHA AND BUCAYO: These two traditional Batangueno delicacies are given a fresh twist by Ireen C. Mindanao, who sells them at her home on Escano Street at the back of the Catholic Church in Rosario.

       Ireen has retained the recipe formulated by her mother, Consolacion, who started the family business in the 1960s (0917-504-8039).   


   TRADITIONAL BIBINCA: There’s this little kiosk, called Lover’s Line, selling authentic galapong bibinca on one side of the Cultural Center (old City Hall) in Lipa City. Each piece is cooked in the old fire-and-brimstone style (earthen oven) and reasonably priced, too.     

    Nick and Nita Dimayuga’s bibinca comes in two flavors, cheese or salted egg. (0935-379-2571).


    GOOD OLD PAN DE SAL: For good, old fashioned pan de sal, go to this humble, nameless stone house bakery on Bishop Obviar Street, formerly Kalipulako Street, also in Lipa (0912-962-7661).

     The city’s oldest bakery, at the back of a Bioessence spa, has been baking bread, fugon-style, for decades.

     I like it that they have retained the thickness and fullness of their bread. Heated on a toaster, Siony’s  pan de sal retains its crunchiness, which one can’t say of today’s instant hot pan de sal that’s just so hollow and full of, well, hot air.


    SUMAN AS YOU LIKE IT: The best suman in my (cook)book comes from Balete town in Batangas, made by the Atienza family.

     Their version of glutinous rice cake carefully wrapped in banana leaf has rich coconut milk flavor with just the right amount of sweetness.

      You can store it in the freezer for reheating, and yet still get the same delightful, fresh taste weeks or even months later.

   Reach Zenaida Atienza 0936-259-7136.


   IBAAN TAMALES: There exists, in the town of Ibaan, Batangas, a culture of preparing hot, spicy tamales the Mexican way.

     For decades, some families there have made it their business to cook tamales wrapped in rice flour, and stuffed with ground peanut, coconut milk, chicken, boiled egg.

     A big tamales, the special variety, makes for one heavy breakfast (Eva: 0928-286-7338).