While I was born and raised in Quezon City, I am genetically Kapampangan. My parents and older siblings hail from the land in the north known for some of the best food in the Philippines. As you guys known by now, I am also fond of “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants… and I actually have this thing against “known” and famous restaurants. On this trip to the North, I am introduced to one of the most authentic Kapampangan restaurants I have eaten in, in quite some time.
On my way back from Bataan (Pawikan Conservation Center and Bataan Nuclear Power Plant), my friend Chris introduced me to this place owned by a batchmate of his from UP San Fernando. The restaurant is Apag Marangle.
Finding Apag Marangle is quite simple. From the NLEX, exit at San Fernando and head west towards Olongapo/Bataan on the Olongapo-Gapan Road (aka Jose Abad Santos Ave.) Once you have passed the McDonald’s San Fernando, as you pass landmarks like Max Fried Chicken on your right, and as you get on the first major bridge, you will see a small opening on the left with a sign to Apag Marangle. Take care as you turn into the driveway… you will understand what I mean when you see it… DRIVE CAREFULLY… hehe.
View Apag Marangle in a larger map
What is APAG MARANGLE?
A small explanation of what Apag Marangle means. In Kapampangan, “Apag” literally means something like “handaan” or a “setting in which food is laid out.” Meanwhile Marangle is “field” or “bukid.” A sign nearby very subtly has a notation “Hain sa Bukid.”
As you leave the parking area, make your way down some stairs that bring you to a set of huts built on top of a small pond. And such is the setting of the restaurant. The setup is not that unique, but is quite a quality setup of bamboo structures on a body of water surrounded by lush foliage you would find a typical farm-like countryside.
Apparently, part of the “features” of the place are the number of rafts which you can take to go out and fish. While we were there, there were quite a number of people who were actually fishing. Although I didn’t see anyone actually catch anything at that time.
Being Kapampangan, I was quite fascinated by the menu. Quite a lot items on the menu. I have rarely seen menus actually written in Kapampangan, so I was quite aliw by the whole experience.
The sad part for us was that it was around 3pm at this time. Hence a full lunch was not an option. We decided to just get a few merienda items. Though I do plan to come back here and have an honest to goodness full meal.
My drink was a big jar (good for two) of Pandan Water. Yum… this is probably one of only two places I have visted that had Pandan water. And this one was more of like an Iced Tea. Good thing I orderd the one for two people, cuz before I knew it, I finished half the jar.
As an appetizer, we were served boiled peanuts. Yum… my favorite
The main thing I really wanted was a Kapampangan delicacy. Buro with Mustasa leaves. Aaah. Just the way I sued to have when I was a kid. This item is not on the menu though, you have to ask for it. I won’t describe how Buro is made, but believe me, this is so delicious. This particular style has a nice creamy taste.
As I mentioned, we were only there for merienda. So we just ordered Pancit.
But OH MY GOD. Even if we just ordered the humble pancit. This was sooooooo good! Let me say that again. This was sooooooo good! Dyos Cu, kanyaman na!
So there you have it. I wish I could have described more of the dishes. Next time when I have a full lunch! That is something worth coming back for.
If you are passing north-bound and you are looking for some really really good Kapampangan Food. Try this place.
Sta. Barbara, Bacolor, Pampanga
Tel 436-1600 (its not on the business card, but I assume the area code is 045)