Lunch at Lydia’s Lechon, Roces Avenue

From a small stall in Baclaran selling lechon (roasted pig) slices to to churchgoers to now being practically synonymous with its specialty and having over 25 stores in and around the metro, Lydia’s Lechon has certainly come a long way.

Started in 1965 by the couple Benigno and Lydia de Roca, Lydia’s Lechon has branched out beyond lechon delivery to restaurants, foodcourts, consumer goods and more.

Still, the company’s claim to fame lies in its lechon: this is what my officemates and I traversed the hot summer day all the way to the Lydia’s Lechon branch along Roces Avenue for.

The restaurant, similar to other Filipino restos, has a casual vibe, clean premises and eye-catching decor (check out the large paintings that adorn the staircase; these depict a Pinoy fiesta which, of course, includes the lechon).  There’s enough parking space outside the store for five to six cars, as well as an area where the lechon are roasted.

Our group of four ordered:

  • A half kilo of Lechon (Php450)– the meat was tender and flavorful with melt-in-your-mouth fat and crispy shiny skin (with a nice crackle to it).  It is, of course, accompanied by the resto’s own lechon sauce
  • Pinakbet (Php175) – which I, surprisingly, liked! The flavors and textures of the vegetables, pork bits and bagoong (shrimp paste) were well-balanced and went well with our steamed rice.
  • Chopsuey (Php195) – I preferred this vegetable dish less than the pinakbet.  While the vegetables still have a nice crisp texture despite being cooked, the flavor of this dish is too mild. Anyway, truth be told, our group just ordered this and the pinakbet to assuage our conscience given that our main dish is so decadent.
  • Lydia’s House Blend Iced Tea (Php65/glass)– We actually got a pitcher of this iced tea but I didn’t get the price.  We wanted something sweet and refreshing to balance the richness of the lechon.

https://instagram.com/p/BjoZU0jHEdT/

It was a very satisfying and energizing lunch, what with the calories we consumed and all.  🙂

On my next visit to Lydia’s Lechon, I would definitely try some of its other dishes to accompany the lechon such as the Fresh Lumpia (Php85) and Lydia’s Paella Rice (Php55).  I would also love to sample its sweet offerings such as the Mango Sago (Php60), Suman at Mangga (Php135) and Ube Banana Turon (Php65).

This Lydia’s Lechon branch is located at 49-Don A. Roces Avenue, Corner Scout Reyes
Quezon City (Tel: +63 2 376-5173 or + 63 2 376-1818).

Other Metro Manila branches are located in:

  • Quezon City: Timog, Commonwealth, SM North and SM Fairview
  • Pasig: Ugong and Meralco
  • Mandaluyong: SM Megamall
  • Makati: Cash & Carry, Landmark
  • Paranaque: SM Sucat,
  • Manila: Baclaran, 999 Mall, SM Manila, SM San Lazaro, 168 Mall, Robinsons Place Manila, Manila Doctors Hospital
  • Marikina: Marcos Highway
  • Taytay: SM Taytay

Lydia's Lechon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my review of another lechon joint nearby.

Got a taste of Bicolandia at Gata, Tomas Morato

Bicolano cuisine is characterized by spiciness and the use of gata (coconut cream): the spiciness gives the dishes a certain excitement while the gata gives them a distinct richness.

I’m not much of a Bicolano food fan myself (but I’m willing to give almost anything a try) so during lunch with my officemates, I found myself trying out a newly opened restaurant along Mother Ignacia Street – Gata: Flavors of Bicolandia, Atbp.

The resto’s interiors have a bright and airy feel; its walls are even adorned by a large colorful mural as well as paintings that depict food and food preparation.

For our lunch, we ordered some of Bicol’s most popular dishes:

  • The ever-present Laing (Php235) made of dried gabi leaves sourced directly from Bicol
  • Adobong Bicolano Liempo (Php250), Bicol’s traditional way of cooking adobo characterized by the lack of sauce
  • Piniritong Manok ni Lola (Php230), homestyle fried chicken, cooked like how grandma does it 🙂

The flavors are familiar and comforting but the serving portions are on the small side.  That said, my dining experience here certainly merits another visit.

Update: I recently attended a Zomato Foodie Meetup held here.  Together with fellow Zomato foodies, I was able to taste more of Gata’s signature Bicolano dishes such as:

  • Sinantol with Kamote Chips (Php190).  Great for vegetarians, this dish pairs deep-fried kamote (sweet potato) chips with the tangy sinantol which consist of finely grated santol rind cooked in coconut milk.
  • Laing Bites with Gata Sauce (Php180).  Another all-veggie dish, this features laing wrapped in deep-fried wonton and served with a homemade gata sauce.
  • Cocido na Buong Lapu-Lapu (Php495). Bicol’s version of Sinigang, it is less sour but still has a hearty broth.
  • Kare-Kareng Bagnet (Php330).  At last I was able to taste this dish made of sizeable slices of pork belly served with a gata-infused kare-kare sauce.
  • Kinunot na Pagi (Php295).  Flakes of stingray meat simmered in gata, quite a new foodie adventure for me! (Trivia: There’s a joke that when a Bicolano takes some gata to the beach, the sharks and stingrays get the hell outta the way!)
  • Halo-Halo Turon with Ice Cream (Php110).  Classic halo-halo ingredients in lumpia wrapper then deep-fried and served with vanilla ice cream.

Gata: Flavors of Bicolandia, Atbp is located at Unit 3, The Grandia Place, Mother Ignacia Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City.  It is open everyday from 11.30am to 3pm and 4pm to 10pm.  For reservations, call +63 995 4627251.

Gata Flavors of Bicolandia Atbp. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other Zomato foodies, I was invited to attend a foodie meet-up held in this restaurant.  Food items specified here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Want to learn how to cook your favorite Filipino dishes at home? Check out these recipe books on Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

Lechon Feast at the Lechon Shop, Tomas Morato

In the Philippines, a celebration wouldn’t be complete without lechon. This much-loved national dish is an offshoot of our colonial roots, having been brought here from Spain. The word lechon, in fact, is a Spanish word referring to a roasted suckling pig.

The best examples of lechon are characterised by tender flavorful meat and crispy, crackling skin, best served smothered with a think and slightly sweet lechon sauce usually made of liver, breadcrumbs, vinegar, sugar and spices and partnered with steaming hot rice.

On the birthday of one of my coworkers who has a marked preference for lechon, he treated us to one of his newly-discovered haunts: The Lechon Shop along Scout Tobias near Tomas Morato in Quezon City.

Operated by the same people as Leonardo’s Lechon based in San Juan, The Lechon Shop offers diners lechon by the kilo. (If I recall correctly, our group ordered 4 kilos.). We also ordered Chicharong Bulaklak and Laing which we ate with our steaming plain rice. A welcome surprise were the Maja Blancas that brought us back to our childhood.

The place is quite cozy and almost had trouble fitting our large group in. However, the server was friendly and accommodating, and helped us all find our seats.

This celebration was one for the books and I, for one, don’t regret the sinfully decadent consumption of lechon. After all, you only live once and “nasasayang lang ang calories pag hindi ka nasarapan.”

The Lechon Shop by Leonardo’s Lechon is located at 49B Scout Tobias Street, Laging Handa, Quezon City. For reservation and inquiries, call (02) 745 3104.

The Lechon Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Want to learn how to cook your favorite Filipino dishes at home? Check out these recipe books on Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

Mother’s Day Brunch at Jaytee’s Tagaytay

Wanting to avoid the Mother’s Day lunchtime rush to Tagaytay, the family decided to leave Manila early in time for brunch at Jaytee’s Home of the Best Bulalo and Kare Kare.

Named after the initials of its proprietors, husband and wife team Jessie and Tess Mojica, the restaurant is located at One Destination, along Aguinaldo Highway, affording its diners a scenic view of Taal Lake and Volcano.

I recommend dining inside the resto as its interiors are clean and well-appointed. You can just take your requisite Taal Volcano family group pics outside while waiting for your meal.

The resto prides itself on its Special Beef Bulalo (Php650, good for 5-6 persons), which is what we drove all the way to Tagaytay for. It did not disappoint, the meat was tender, the soup flavorful, and the veggies crisp. (Of course, the sinful bone marrow is the star of the dish.)

We also ordered veggie dishes Chop Suey (Php220) and Fresh Lumpia (Php190 – a real winner with crisp ubod inside, light wrapper and a peanutty garlicky sauce!). For variation of viands, we also ordered Crispy Tawilis (Php220) and Grilled Liempo (Php360). The oldies ordered Buko Juice (Php85) and Green Mango Shake (Php110) while the rest of the fam sipped on Cucumber Iced Tea (Php180 per pitcher). We also capped off the meal with a scoop of Chocolate Ice Cream (Php45 – a must for my little boy) and Leche Flan (Php180 – a little too sweet but that’s what desserts are for huh?).

The food were served family style by attentive wait staff, however, I found the tables too small to accommodate all the food we ordered. (They certainly made taking foodie shots a bit difficult.)

Since we arrived so early, we were able to avoid the traffic going to the resto-with-a-view places along this stretch of Tagaytay. We were also able to park our cars with no problem.

For reservations, call:

  • (046) 443 1795
  • (0977) 745 8511
  • (0921) 319 3233
  • (0929) 613 0678

Jaytee's Filipino Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Want to go wandering around Tagaytay? Check out my post about Picnic Grove Eco Trail.

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Want to learn more about Filipino cuisine? Check out these books on Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

Food nostalgia at Classic Savory, SM East Ortigas

Pinoys have an interesting relationship with food, particularly the tastes they have grown up with. A lot of the appeal of classic Pinoy fare has to do with the memories associated with the flavors you encountered during family gatherings and celebrations: the pancit canton that was your lola’s specialty, the turon that you used to munch on with your cousins for merienda and so on.

Such nostalgia came into play when Hubby and I took a break from shopping and errands, and dined at the Classic Savory branch at SM City East Ortigas.

This food chain started as a panciteria by the Ting brothers in post-war Manila, primarily serving lomi to its mostly Chinese clientele, before it introduced fried chicken to its menu, thereby attracting more Pinoys to its offerings.

That blend of Pinoy and Chinese flavors were present in the combo meal (Php485, good for 2 persons)  that we ordered.  It consist of a half chicken, pancit canton, fried rice, salt and pepper spare ribs, special turon and iced tea.  Given its price and the mix of flavors, I think this is already good value for money.

Classic Savory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Want to learn more about Filipino cuisine? Check out these books on Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

Festive Feast ala Lucban, Quezon at Buddy’s, Cubao

Lucban, Quezon is famous for the colors of its Pahiyas Festival, the pancit habhab and longganisang Lucban.

All of these are in full force in the Cubao branch of Buddy’s.

Located at the Shopwise Arcade in the Araneta Center, Buddy’s brings the festiveness and Filipino flavors to Cubao shoppers.

When hubby and I found ourselves stuck in the Cubao area, we decided to have lunch here.  The place was quite spacious, with seating in two floors.  The decor is very cheery, with colorful leaf-shaped kiping all over the place as well as floor-to-ceiling pictures of Lucban scenery and people.

We ordered the following to share:

  • Pancit Lucban (Php209)
  • Longsilog Lucban (Php130)

Apparently, these were too much for just two people and we ended up not finishing our food.  We also found the continuous loop of whatever Pinoy novelty song blasting in the background quite bothersome.

Buddy's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Want to learn more about Filipino cuisine? Check out these books on Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

Affordable dining at The 2151 Joint, Pasig

The 2151 Joint is a hole-in-the-wall eatery located at 2151 Residences along C. Raymundo in Pasig City.

My brother recommended this resto to me, singing praises to its tasty dishes and affordable price.

One Saturday, I dragged the fam here to sample its offerings.

We arrived at midday, apparently not a peak time for this establishment since my family and two other people are the only ones there. However, the waitress did inform us that they closed for the night at 4am earlier because there were still a lot of patrons until that time.

The resto’s decor is certainly interesting: it has various toys and bric-a-brac displayed in glass cases and shelves that line the walls; its tables are decorated as board games such as Snakes and Ladders, and Scrabble.

Strangely, though, when I questioned the waitress on the concept behind the resto’s decor, and whether the table tops were actually used for games, she said that the decor was just the preference of the owner. There are no Scrabble pieces or dice and tokens to play Snakes and Ladders.

To me, this is a wasted opportunity because the place could appeal to a younger market who can frequent it from late afternoon to early evening for gamer meet-ups.

Furthermore, the upholstery of many of the couches are cracked, giving the place a dingy look and feel.

On the other hand, The 2151 Joint’s food offerings did live up to my brother’s praises. For my family’s lunch, we ordered:

  • Tokwa’t Baboy (Php80)
  • Crispy Kare Kare (Php130)
  • Sisig (Php110)

These down-home Pinoy dishes tasted better than I expected given the surroundings and their prices.

I hope the resto invests a bit more to improve its interiors, if only to appeal to a more wholesome crowd.

The 2151 Joint Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Want to learn how to cook your favorite Filipino dishes at home? Check out these recipe books on Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.