Pampanga – The Culinary Capital of the Philippines

Pampanga is a province of the Philippines located in Central Luzon or region 3. City of San Fernando is the capital which surrounded by the  provinces of Bataan and Zambales, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and Bulacan.

A Little Bit of History

The name Pampanga was given by the Spaniard which is from the word pampang meaning river bank. It is consider as the first Spanish province in the country in 1571.

Why called as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines?

Pampanga is called as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines because the province is blessed which great cooks which are trained by the Spaniards during the colonial period. These great cooks pass their culinary expertise from generation to generation for kapampangan choose spouse that are good in cooking.

The passion of Kapampangans in preparing food is evident in some cooking practices such as Singkutsa and preserving techniques such that one used in creating Burong Isda.

What is Singkutsa?

Singkutsa means parboil,marinate or cooking it halfway. It is done mainly to avoid spoilage. This is done usually during fiesta for they need to cook many dishes so they do the singkutsa the day before the event so that they can easily cook the food in the early morning of the event, saving time in cooking.

This method of cooking also enhance the flavors of the food since the spices will linger into every strands of the meat making it more tasty and flavorful.

The Birth of Kapampangan Exotic Food

Exotic food in Pampanga are invented due to revolts, floods, disasters and the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, Kapampangans experienced extreme famine, hunger and poverty in the 18th century. Kapampangan tried to cook insects and other ugly creatures to have a food in their table for food source in that time is limited.

Famous Food in Pampanga

The province is known for the food such as tocino, sisig, halo halo, pancit palabok, tibok tibok, biringhe, betute or stuffed frog, kamaru or mole crickets, buru or fermented rice with fish or shrimps, native sweets and delicacies like  turonnes de casuy, pastillas and sanikulas, a famous cookie from  Mexico made by Mrs. Lillian Borromeo, a Kapampangan Food Historian.

 Tocino or Pindang Babi

Cured Pork which is usually sweet. This is created to prolong the life of the food.



Pancit Palabok or Pancit Luglug

A tasty pancit of the province, you can taste the shrimps in the sauce of the dish.Very flavorful!




One the dish that Pampanga is well-known for is Sisig. Lucia Cunanan “Aling Lucing” accidentally invented the said dish by burning the pork’s face and belly which is supposedly as barbecue, to make a remedy for the burned pork, she minced it, put chopped onion, chicken liver, chili , little of calamansi juice and mix everything. Today, this dish is famous in the whole Philippines with different version now such as Chicken, Tofu and Seafood.



Biringhe or Poor Man’s Paella

Paella with only native chicken as meat, that’s Biringhe of Pampanga, simple dish yet delicious.

Susie's Cuisine Pampanga Kakanin Biringhi



Tibok Tibok

Made with carabao’s milk and coconut cream topped with latik, coconut cream cooked for an hour to reduce and form a nice golden brown look.



Buko Pandan

Specifically from Nataniel’s, this dessert is really creamy and cold which is perfect to cleanse the palate after a sumptuous meal or as a refreshment for the hot weather.


Halo Halo

How would you love your halo halo with homemade yema? That’s Kabigting Halo Halo. You can also try another version halo halo from Razon’s .


Leche Flan

Kapampangan are also good in making the leche flan.



Exotic Food 

Pampanga is also know for its exotic dishes such as Betute or Stuffed Frog and Kamaru or Mole Crickets. Be brave and try these sumptuous delicacies of the province.

 Kamaru or Mole Crickets

Mole Crickets cooked in soy sauce, vinegar and sauted with tomatoes, onion and garlic until slightly crispy.


Betute or Stuffed Frog

Dressed frog stuffed with minced pork and deep fried.


These are only few of the dishes that Pampanga is famous, there are tons of other delicious dishes out there to be discovered. Pampanga is indeed the Culinary Capital of the Philippines given also the numerous restaurants in the city of Angeles and San Fernando. Have gastronomic experience in Pampanga! Let’s Eat! Delicious Food in Pampanga! Tara! Mangan! Manyaman Pamangan kening Pampanga!

06 comments on “Pampanga – The Culinary Capital of the Philippines

  • Pampanga: Culinary Capital’s Kapampangan Cuisine History – Will Explore Philippines , Direct link to comment

    […] 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. […]

  • ray , Direct link to comment

    stuffed frog? binuro? mole crickets? .. culinary capital? i know sisig is an original kapampangan invention but what about the rest? leche flan, halo halo, derivatives of maja blanca, valenciana, tocino, etc -spanish derivatives were cooked for hundreds of years in the entire country. i suppose a proper title would be sisig capital. i hail from a region that specializes in cakes and confectionaries that are world class at present, and where a lot of popular national dishes once came from local heirloom recipes. but we were never given the title of culinary capital, nor did we insist that we have to be one. if cooking skills would be the basis we would need some data to support their superiority. and older version of Eat Out guide never mentioned Pampangga.

  • WK Adventure , Direct link to comment

    Hi I’ve also read your blog about Top 10 Must Try Restaurants in Pampanga and it was really great, by the way the betute and kamaru is really delicious so I’m really agree with you 🙂

  • 10 Fantastic Spots in the Philippines for Food Lovers and Travelers - Latest World Trends , Direct link to comment

    […] Pampanga is dubbed as the “Culinary Capital of the Philippines”, where you can taste heaven with their scrumptious and overwhelmingly delicious dishes or “manyaman” as they say in the Kapampangan language. Pampanga is located north of Luzon and is popular for its “SISIG”. This dish is made from a roasted pig head parts or face, onions, and then sliced into small pieces served in a sizzling plate along with chili and lime. […]

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