“I’m Anthony Bourdain. I travel. I write. I eat. And I’m hungry for more.” The first time I heard of this tagline, I knew I wanted to be whoever Anthony Bourdain is.
A world renowned chef, bestselling author and the brutally honest host of No Reservations, a travel/food program, Anthony Bourdain is a legend to food and travel enthusiasts all over the world. With every country he has been to, he eats everything from duck feet in China, fish eye in India and of course, a goat’s head in the Philippines.
Three years ago, Bourdain touched down in Manila for his first taste of Filipino cuisine. After a quick food trip at Manila’s Chinatown, his first detour is Pampanga, known mostly for the people’s love for cooking and the cuisines’ Spanish influences.
His first stop in Pampanga, a taste of goat served in four ways: PAPAITAN (bitter bile soup), KILAWIN (mix of goat parts), SINIGANG (sour soup with a tamarind base) and the pièce de résistance, GOAT HEAD SOUP, in which Bourdain devoured with gusto, brains and all.
From goat parts to, in Bourdain’s own words, “the sweet symphony of pig parts”, SISIG is served for dinner. Pampanga is the origin of this well loved viand and Aling Lucing’s Carinderia is the birthplace. Aling Lucing was said to have concocted this dish because of the pig heads, the main ingredient, were given for free by the Americans at the nearby Clarkfield Airbase. Mixed with liver and seasoned with calamansi and chilis, Bourdaine mindlessly relaxed and enjoyed eating this Kapampangan dish while jeepneys hustle along the road where the carinderia was situated.
Bourdain’s last stop in Pampanga is BALE DUTUNG or the “house made of wood”. Here, his host Claude Tayag, himself a local chef and author, served an array of Filipino cuisines that Bourdain was surprised to be distinctively Filipino. Bulanglang, Kare-Kare, Pako (Fern) Salad and Itik (quail) are some of the dishes served. Bourdain noted that there is always a sour agent to our food and that makes it especially Filipino.
Pampanga has definitely fed Anthony Bourdain well. With him, downing a cold beer while enjoying sisig and goat’s bile, made him for a night, not a New Yorker, but a Kapampangan.
For your own Bourdain Experience:
There are regular bus trips from Manila to Dau, Pampanga.
From Dau, ride a jeepney to the main city of Angeles. Drop off at Crossings for Aling Lucing’s Carinderia.
From Dau, take a jeepney to Clark Airbase for Nancy’s Carinderia (goat’s head soup).
For Bale Dutung, please call the following numbers for reservations: