Pampanga: Culinary Capital’s Kapampangan Cuisine History

Kapampángan Cuisine is deeply rooted to Spanish Cuisine but has many similarities with Malay and even Mexican Cuisine. Kapampangan added a twist by using the available and abundant ingredients in their area which is also the birth of exotic food. The diverse and rich flavors of the food is evident in every kapampangan dishes as they put the best ingredients to produce quality and palatable food that is widely known in the country tagging Pampanga as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines.

What Makes it Different?

The kitchen is the biggest and widely used room in the traditional Kapampangan household. They use the best ingredients available to cook delectable dishes especially during special occasions such as fiesta.

Kapampangan Cuisine is brought by the creativity, hospitality, discriminating taste and experimental people of Pampanga. Kapampangan don’t just cook based on what was thought to them by the Spaniards, they create, reinvent and even improve every dishes. Aside from native dishes, Pampango cooking also manages to concoct up its version of the latest food craze using new ingredients.

Sangkutsa according to Aching Lilian Borromeo, guardian of Pampango Cuisine, after parboiling it is to stir heavily to allow the meat to render its lard, and when mixed with marinade yields a fuller and bolder flavors. The simplest explanation is really simple. The tagalog term sangkutsa simply means “pre-cooking”. Half- cooking is also acceptable.

Sangkutsa is done by adding one to several flavorings to the main ingredients. It can be water only, or water plus salt, fish sauce, onions, garlic and soy sauce. The last step is boiling the mix until half done. The boiling time varies depending on commodity.

Culinary Capital of the Philippines

When the Philippines was under Spanish rule, Spanish friars and sailors taught Kapampangans the basics of Spanish cooking. Kapampangans for being meticulous when it comes to food evident in the practice such as sangkutsa(precooking) and preserving food. Kapampangans choose spouses with great cooking abilities not just to have good cooks at home but a lifetime partner in sharing and spending time preparing food and making the family’s table refined and with grace.


The Kapampangans were able to produce a unique blend that surprised the Spanish palate. Soon Spanish friars and government officials were entertaining foreign guests at the expense of Kapampangan households.

In the late 18th century, the Arnedo clan of Apalit were commissioned by the colonial government to entertain foreign dignitaries that included a Cambdian prince and a Russian archduke. Kapampangans were given the task of creating the meal and menu that was served in the proclamation of the First Philippine Republic in Malolos, Bulacan on January 21, 1899 where Emilio Aguinaldo took his oath of office as President.

Famous Kapampangan Dishes

Some popular Kapampangan dishes that have won over the Filipino palate across the country includes: Sisig, morcon, menudo, caldereta, estofado, embotido, asado, lengua, lechon, chicharon, afritada, bringhi (paella), tabang talangka (crab meat),(the “tocino” or pindang, tibok tibok or Maja Blanca.

A unique Kapampangan dish that is well enjoyed by other ethnic groups is nasing biringyi (chicken saffron rice). Since nasing biringyi is so difficult to prepare, this unique Kapampangan dish can only be enjoyed during fiestas in Pampanga. It should be compared to the Nasi Briyani dish of Malaysia.





Tibok Tibok


Tocino or Pindang


The Birth of Kapampangan Exotic Food

Due to revolts, floods, disasters and the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, Kapampangans experienced extreme famine, hunger and poverty in the 18th century. This is the reason why Kapampangans create dishes out of the most horrible creatures and weirdest ingredients. Most of these ingredients are usually found in nature which conserves both money and time. The way Kapampangans lived many years ago proves how wise they are in making delicious and incomparable dishes in town.

Kapampangan Exotic Food

Kapampangan dishes that remain a challenge to other cultures includes:

•  CANDABA. Balo balo or Burung bulig (mudfish fermented in rice)

•  MEXICO & MAGALANG. betute tugak (stuffed frogs)

•  MACABEBE: adobung kamaru (mole crickets sauted in vinegar and garlic), calderetang barag (spicy monitor lizard stew), kubang asu (sweet and spicy dog stew).

•  MASANTOL: tidtad itik (duck stewed in blood)

Other Exotic Food

•  Daguis pale ampong atbu (field mice found in rice field and sugarcane plantations)

•  Durun (locusts)

Famous Kapampangan Exotic Food



Betute (FriedStuffed Frog)

Kapampangan Restaurants

Apag Marangle
Abe’s Farm
Binulo Restaurant
Susie’s Cuisine
Everybody’s Café
Café Fleur
Camalig Restaurant
Bale Dutung
Downtown Cafe
Matam ih Restaurant

Related Blogs:

Top 10 Restaurants in Pampanga

Top 10 Must Try Restaurants in Pampanga

Food Trip in Pampanga 2016: A Guide To Culinary Adventure

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