Published on May 29, 2014
I can’t remember the last time we travelled up North of Manila. But a few weeks ago, my husband and I, along with Jeff and Joie, drove to Pampanga for a much needed getaway. And when you find yourself in Pampanga, make sure you are prepared for some serious gastronomic adventures!
We booked an overnight stay in one of the hotels in Clark. And because the Kapampampangans are well-known for their excellent culinary skills, I made sure that we would make the most out of our quick stay. A couple of days prior to our trip, I researched the restaurants that are near the hotel that we were staying. I listed a few restaurants with the best online reviews. We were planning to go to a specific restaurant, but we first spotted Binulo Restaurant. I insisted to scrap our initial plan because Binulo was featured in Biyahe ni Drew!!!
We arrived a few minutes before 12 PM. The restaurant is big, but we were the only guests inside. But after a few minutes, cars started to line up outside and the restaurant was filled in no time.
A visit to Pampanga is not complete without eating sisig in the course of your stay so we didn’t let the opportunity pass to try out Binulo’s version. Chopped pig cheeks, ears, liver and white onions are served on a sizzling plate. It comes with a piece of calamansi and siling labuyo. This is one helluva tasty dish! More often than not, you get that umay factor when you’re in the middle of eating sisig. And when you’re done, you’ll get that dizzy feeling with matching sakit sa batok, haha! But Binulo’s version didn’t give me any of these. Their sisig is not overpowering. I also love that the pig ears are not chewy. Most of the time, I spit this out when I am eating sisig.
I asked the server what is their bestseller. He said kare-kare. Binulo puts oxtail on their take of kare-kare. The vegetables (which were probably steamed or shocked) were served on top instead of being mixed with the stew. Because of this, the vegetables didn’t turn soggy. I really don’t like eating sweet kare-kare. Fortunately, the hint of sweetness in Binulo’s kare-kare is still within my palates’ limits. Hihi!
Thinking that the sisig and kare-kare wouldn’t be enough for four hungry travelers, we decided to try the shrimp okoy. Incidentally, the plate has four pieces! We probably all got used to the usual okoy with just plain flour and egg. And when luck isn’t on your side, you’ll get that yucky taste of raw flour. But Binulo’s version is surprisingly good! I got so curious to know what their okoy is made of so I asked one of the waiters. My tongue recognized the taste of kamote while Boyet was insisting that he could taste bananas. Apparently, these are combination of papaya, kalabasa and kamote. Walang saging!!! Hahaha! There is also one big shrimp in the middle of the fritters unlike the usual okoy where the shrimp is almost nonexistent! :p
You’re probably wondering what “binulo” means. Apparently, it's the way our Aeta brothers cook meals using bamboo poles. We saw the guests from the other tables being served with soup coming out of a bamboo pole. We didn’t get to try it. The closest we had was trying their Binulong Nasi.
Because it is extremely hotter in the North, we all decided to have fresh buko juice. It’s cold and very refreshing. We were all laughing while drinking because the coconut seems bottomless. Ayaw maubos! =))
Biyahe ni Drew is definitely right to include Binulo Restaurant in the list of must-try restaurants in Pampanga. The prices are very reasonable. Service is really fast. And everything is simply delicious. Joie and I were telling each other that even the vinegar, bagoong and soy sauce taste great! :p
N6410 Bldg., MA Roxas Highway,
Clark Freeport Zone,
Angeles City, Pampanga