Saturday, October 13, 2018

Flavors of Pampanga: Back On The Road To San Fernando

If Angeles City has Aling Lucing and Mila's Tokwa't Baboy, then San Fernando has Mely's for Pampanga's Sisig showdown...

Ever since the dish made with pork mask, ears and liver seasoned with chili and calamansi was reinvented along the now famous railroad tracks in Angeles, no other dish has defined regional Capampangan cuisine. Crossing provincial borders and weaving into the national mainstream, Sisig is celebrated everywhere and anywhere. But when you ask a local on where to find the best sisig in Pampanga, it all depends where you are. In San Fernando, it's Mely's with her own version of tender pork mask and ears served with loads of raw onions to temper the savory richness of the pork. 

The iconic dish has more than several variations in different towns, and you can tell the subtle nuanced flavors and textures with each bite. Each city is proud of their version, and rightfully so. After all, you're in the heart of the country's culinary region. After quick work on the sisig, time to try the other specialties of Mely's. Mely's Choice Cuts is another popular favorite among locals, with chopped pork mask deep-fried to crispy perfection served with a chili-vinegar dip. Wash it all down with an ice-cold beer for that mandatory pairing.

Down the road, you can find classic cocktails too, like an Old-Fashioned. Ruben at Best Western Bendix Hotel along MacArthur Highway in Dolores, San Fernando serves a legit Old-Fashioned hand-crafted by their skilled mixologists, down to that orange garnish for that perfect finish.

The local Tropical Stout by Pampanga's Sunset Craft Beer is also a must-try, available fresh on tap at Ruben (for more on Ruben at Best Western Bendix Hotel, see my earlier post, Flavors of Pampanga: One For The Road at Best Western Bendix Hotel's Ruben).

You can get hungry after a few rounds of cocktails and craft beer, but you don't have to leave Ruben just yet. You can find some hearty and comforting eats at Ruben for even more tasty options (for more on the signature dishes of Ruben at Best Western Bendix Hotel, see my previous post, Flavors of Pampanga: A Peek at San Fernando's Newest Dining Destination at Best Western Bendix Hotel's Ruben ).

Back on the road, don't forget to bring even more flavors from Pampanga home, and you'll find quite a number of stand-alone stores of Pampanga's Best conveniently located along the main route (more on Pampanga's Best on my next post soon). The road to San Fernando is always a food trip, and hitting the road means good eats are just around the corner.

Mely's Barbecue and Sisig is located along MacArthur Highway, San Fernando, Pampanga. 

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