By the time the Pinoy Fondue above was served, I think I ate 2000 calories too much. Definitely a loosen-two-buttons-on-your-jeans-else-you-can’t-breathe-meal.
Instead of fruits or bread, Pinoy fondue is made up of chopped native delicacies for dipping in melted local tablea chocolate. The delicacies include (from top to bottom): (1) Kutsinta – brown rice cake; (2) Suman – glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and sugar and wrapped in banana or coconut leaves; (3) Puto -steamed rice cake; and (4) Espasol-glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and rolled in rice flour.
This of course was the end to a satisfying seven-dish meal, befitting M’s birthday celebration. All of the dishes are “pamana” or inherited by the current restaurant owner from their extensive restauranteur clan. The menu is looong, and it would take you an hour just to read through. I am glad that I looked up their menu on the web before we walked in.
Pamana looks and feels like any old Filipino Grandmother’s house – heavy wooden antique furniture, lace doilies, weird wooden artifacts, lots of aged pictures (not instagrammed!), capiz windows. Even comes with creaky narrow staircase that the poor servers would have to traverse to serve your food (causing a bit of a delay in the service).
We started off the meal with a lumpia (spring roll) trio: fried rice flour rolls stuffed with kesong puti (goat cheese), tinapa (smoked fish) and longganizang Lukban (Lukban native sausages). Served with Ilocos aged coconut vinegar. I would suggest that they serve this with an alternative slightly sweetish dip for the salty fish. The cheese is extra yummy and will make this at home when I get the chance.
Chicken Binakol is whole native (free range) chicken cooked in coconut water, pandan (fragrant screwpine) leaves, and enough ginger to perfume the whole room. The soup was served inside a whole coconut so you can scrape the young coconut meat and serve it with the gingery sweet chicken broth. Notice the inexpertly draped coconut meat on the chicken. My food styling needs work.
Adobo Three Ways. Adobo is any meat cooked in vinegar with salt and pepper, and there are as many versions of it as number of households in the country. Pamana serves up three versions here: chicken adobo with coconut milk; re-fried, crunchy pork adobo flakes; and anise flavored adobo pork spare ribs. Nothing special here and the meat was a little bit tough. We will not order this again.
Crispy Bagnet. Twice fried pork belly. The pork was well seasoned and pillow soft inside. Good execution on the frying – none of the old grease after taste. Its sad though that they didn’t serve this with aged Ilokos vinegar which is the classic combination for bagnet.
My personal favorite: Tinuktok. I would go back to Pamana for this dish alone. Tinuktok is minced coconut meat and shrimp wrapped in taro leaves, then cooked in spicy coconut milk. The fragrant parcels are held fast by pandan (fragrant screwpine) leaves again. Each bite is rich and sweet and hot and perfect with fluffy steaming white rice.
Be warned though that this dish will come the last because it is the hardest to cook among all the dishes we ordered. If inexpertly cooked, this taro leaves will irritate your mouth and cause it to itch!
We also devoured the house Sisig (Roasted, chopped p0rk bits cooked in vinegar, lots of chili and other evil spices). If the sisig wasn’t bad enough, the whole thing was topped with Chicharon (crispy pork skin) and a tablespoon of Aligue (Crab Fat) on the side. Just the pictures can cause your arteries to clog (so banned from this site to protect the innocent). Sheer Sizzling Sin.
For a group of seven, we averaged ~Php500 per head which is reasonable considering the quality of the dishes. The serving sizes are small hence the need to order many dishes to satisfy the hungry guests (we were lines-down a few times!). Oh yeah, the restaurant also has a great view of Taal Lake, but I was too busy eating to notice until we left.
Awardee – 2010 Best Philippine Restaurants from Philippine Tatler Magazine
1315 Aguinaldo Highway, Silang Crossing East
Tagaytay, Cavite, Philippines
(+63 46) 413-2461, (+63 922) 859-2707
*Make reservations. The place is a tad on the small side. Parking is also a little tricky as you have to back out into a very busy 2 lane highway but Pamana has many helpful parking guides to keep you out of trouble.
Roadtrip to Tagaytay (travelexpose.wordpress.com)
OUR AWESOME PLANET: Pamana, Tagaytay – a Family Legacy of Filipino Cuisine.
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