Batangas is not just known for its stunning beaches and rich history. Located in Southern Luzon, just a few kilometers from Manila, the province is also known for great food and unique culinary offerings.
Said to be originated in Lipa City, one would remember to grab a cup of Gotong Batangas, a soup dish with beef innards like liver, tripe, lungs, heart and tendons together with beef shanks with lots of garlic and ginger. Especially during the cold months, a cup would surely satisfy one’s craving!
Another must-try dish is the “Batangas Lomi,” a noodle soup enriched with thick egg noodles, a variety of meats like pork, liver, and kikiam (a type of Chinese sausage), all swimming in a thick, savory broth. This hearty dish is often garnished with fresh vegetables and sometimes topped with a beaten egg, which thickens the soup further.
Who can also forget Bulalo (beef marrow stew) and Tawilis (a freshwater sardine exclusive to Taal Lake)?
A road trip to Batangas will not be complete without tasting its food, for sure!
Best Cafe and Dining Spots in Taal, Batangas
Established by Spaniards in 1572, the heritage town of Taal seamlessly transports its visitors back in time. Enveloped by meticulously maintained ancestral houses (bahay na bato) like the Agoncillo White House and significant landmarks such as Taal Basilica (Minor Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours), one inevitably envisions the rich tapestry of Spanish colonial era.
Recognized as the largest church in the Philippines and Asia, Taal Basilica boasts impressive dimensions, stretching 88.6 meters in length and 48 meters in width. The patron saint of Taal is Martin of Tours, and the town commemorates his feast every November 11th.
Taal, Batangas as a Culinary Hotspot
Other notable areas in the heritage town are the Taal Public Market and Del Castillo Street – the bustling centers of activity where the aroma of freshly cooked and delicious food fills the air.
Take for instance, Adobo sa Dilaw, a unique take on the Filipino pork meat viand using turmeric instead of soy sauce. The use of turmeric gives this dish its distinct yellow color and earthy flavor. It is a must-try for anyone looking to savor the flavors of the town.
Also, a must-try Taal dish is Sinaing na Tulingan. It is a slow-cooked dish of tuna or mackerel simmered in soy sauce and spices. The result is tender, flavorful fish that is a true delicacy.
Where to Eat in Taal, Batangas?
These two local delicacies are available in Don Juan Boodle House, beside Taal Public Market. Aside from Adobo sa Dilaw and Sinaing na Tulingan, customers can taste several Filipino dishes and local delicacies like Tapang Taal and Kare-Kare anytime of day.
Whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner you can have a bit of everything here. As the name of the restaurant suggests, the food here can be served in banana leaves and visitors can have the option to eat in boodle fight style! For sure, families would enjoy the camaraderie.
If you are looking for a best outdoor dine-in experience while in Taal, another option is Cucina de Jardin in Del Castillo Street. The spacious garden dining area makes for a relaxing place and surely make the shared joy of having good food with family and friends more memorable. For early birds, the restaurant also offers breakfast buffets starting at 7:30AM. The restaurant offers free wifi to its diners.
Visitors can also begin their day at the charming Cafe G. They can savor their favorite coffee while witnessing the town come alive. The restaurant’s interior also captures all age groups, even kids! Cafe G is accessible to various town landmarks which is a delightful convenience. Do not forget to capture selfies or groufies, as the ambiance is truly a memory and Instagram-worthy.
For couples seeking a romantic beachside date, consider visiting Rob’s Kitchen & Cafe at La Evangs Beach Resort, where the restaurant provides a breathtaking view of Balayan Bay. Delight in a variety of culinary options by exploring their multi-course menu or opting for huge a la carte servings that showcase a fusion of local and international favorites.
Given its suitability for romantic occasions and special celebrations, it is advisable to make reservations in advance. The limited space on the viewing deck makes walk-ins impractical.
The newly-opened Cuchara Y Tenedor also offers an interesting take on Taal’s most delicious local dishes, Filipino favorites, and Spanish dishes. Bonus is that you can take home souvenirs that celebrate the town’s unique heritage in the nearby Taal Tees Souvenir Shop.
As for dessert and pasalubong, you can also buy them in Taal Public Market. Taal is also well-known for its sweet confections, such as the sticky rice goodness of suman, Kapeng Barako (coffee beans known in the world), Tableya, Taal Tapa, Taal Tamales, and panutsa or peanut brittle. After shopping for pasalubong, try Taal’s best tasting halo halo, filled to the brim with a medley of ingredients.
Operating Hours and Location
Most restaurants in Taal open for breakfast and continue to serve meals throughout the day. However, it is a good idea to check their operating hours on their Facebook page or check any post helpful to you in advance, especially if you plan to dine at great place at a specific time.
In terms of proximity, you will find dining options scattered throughout Taal Heritage Town, so you are never too far from a great meal. Whether you are exploring Del Castillo Street and Agoncillo Street, you will encounter fantastic restaurants around every corner.
Tips for a Hassle-Free Dining Experience
To make the most of your dining experience in Taal, consider these tips:
Reserve a table in advance, especially on weekends and holidays.
Check out restaurants’ Facebook page, YouTube reviews or blogs for recommendations.
Ask locals for their favorite spots – they know the best hidden gems!
Taal, Batangas, is not just a heritage town with historical landmarks; it is a culinary destination that promises an amazing gastronomic journey. From street food to fine dining, the town offers a variety of dishes that reflect its rich cultural heritage.
So, whether you’re craving for a bowl of steaming soup or a plate of delicious adobo, Taal has something to satisfy every palate. Remember, the best way to explore a town is through its food, and in Taal, you are sure to find dishes that will leave you hungry for more.
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