Guest Blogger: Karmela Marie Samoro

Oct 18, 2011 by


Iloilo City:  A Food Haven

Iloilo City is a haven for food lovers. It offers a wide array of flavors which cater to the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the ignoramus and the connoisseur. The city holds wondrous treasures for one’s palate.

Valeria Street, near SM Delgado in the City Proper, is home to a variety of restaurants that showcase some of the best Ilonggo cuisines. There, one can have a taste of the authentic La Paz batchoy at either Ted’s or Deco’s. However, if chicken is more of your thing you can have a feast at Mang Inasal, they serve the best grilled chicken around with unlimited rice. For the sweet lovers out there, there is also a store here for you. Dolgies offers an assortment of sweets from crème brulees to sweet tasting cakes and other pastries. This store has everything for anyone’s sweet tooth.

Valeria Street in Iloilo City (photo from

A visit to Iloilo would never be complete without passing by Tatoy’s Manokan and Seafoods in Arevalo and getting a fill of its fresh and delicious grilled native chicken and seafoods.  Its menu which contains all the shells, fishes and sea animals imaginable, cooked to perfection. Along the way to the restaurant, you can also pick up a few plates of lechon (roasted pork) dipped in sumptuous liver sauce from the lechon stands that line the area.

For the adventurous ones, dusk unfolds a myriad of food stalls popping up like mushrooms. You can see and smell different kinds of barbeques that the Ilonggos offer.  The choice includes pork, chicken, and even the fowl’s smaller parts like IUD (intestines), Adidas (chicken feet), the head and neck, the gizzard, and liver. For the more courageous ones, soup number 5 is one dish to think about.  There is one restaurant or stall in mostly every wet market serving this exotic food made from the male cow’s private part.  When the cook tells you that it’s an aphrodisiac, try it yourself and be the final judge.

For the more finicky palate which craves for a more sophisticated dinner,  there are also a lot of hotspots for you to visit. Al Dente, located in Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center, offers an Italian menu that serves flavoursome pastas, cooked gourmet style, with its mouth-watering thin crust pizza and mozzarella cheese sticks.  Afrique’s, another Italian inspired eating place in the city, is visited by a range of costumers of all ages because of its savory pastas and pizzas, topped with its brand of sinful cheese sauce.  For the more budget-conscious, Pizzaro also offers almost the same flavors with the difference of serving the only hand-tossed pizza in the city.

The Avenue, located in a secluded portion of Smallville in Mandurriao, also holds classy restaurants. Steaks in Mojave are tender and cooked the way a steak should be – a no no for the dieting debutante or the bride to be. Right next to it is Bauhinia, serving delectable Filipino dishes with a twist.  And after indulging in these, Nothing But Desserts can fill the remaining space in your stomach with sweets that would induce even non diabetics into sugar overload.

Lately, coffee time has become an important part of the Ilonggo way of life.  Drinking coffee in coffee shops has slowly found its niche for those who want to relax and converse, for those who want to study, or just to pass the time away.  Hence one can find several plush coffee shops around the city.  Coffee and cakes served in the local Coffee Break have been the all-time favorites although now it’s being challenged by the savory flavor of the coffee in its global counterpart Starbucks, which just recently opened.

Indeed Iloilo’s a cornucopia of gastronomic delights, where one can wallow and enjoy.  There is something for every taste, every budget, everyone.

The author, Karmela Marie Samoro, is a freshman BS Chemistry student at the University of the Philippines Visayas. is accepting articles for publication with themes on being an Ilonggo, being in Iloilo, your memories of Iloilo, what you think of Iloilo, the Ilonggos you love, etc. Please email your article to Provide a brief description and a photo of yourself.


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