Outside farms and mountains, there is the vibrant food culture that Nueva Ecija offers. Whether you are in Cabanatuan or in the farther reaches of Science City of Munoz, you’ll find that there isn’t a short supply of dining holes to indulge in in the province.
Savor Novo Ecijano culinary wonders with these eight food purveyors.
Address: 1179 Del Pilar Street, Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija
Contact numbers: (044) 950 8888/ +63917 539 6125
If you’re big on breakfast, Harvest Hotel’s buffet breakfast spread is a suitable option. As Nueva Ecija’s leading and only four-star hotel, diners can expect a delightful breakfast experience coupled with a luxurious ambiance at Harvest Hotel. Dine indoors in its contemporary hall or go al fresco while overlooking a beautiful pool and garden.
Taking inspiration from the province’s main produce, Harvest Hotel offers a full spread of fare made from grains, from kakanin to a DIY taho station. Also on the offer are Nueva Ecija’s signature longganisa flavors: batotay or beef longanisa; and Cabanatuan longganisa, garlic-flavored ground pork.
PMP PARADISE FARM AND RESORT
Address: Brgy. Nazareth Road, General Tinio, Nueva Ecija
Contact number: (044) 4631233
Fancy lean, all-organic fare? Head to PMP Paradise Farm and Resort in General Tinio. A passion project from a retired major, this sprawling farm offers healthy, homemade dishes created with fresh herbs and poultry raised in the farm itself. Among its most notable dishes are sinigang salad, sliced fruits and vegetables topped with salted egg. Guests also get to witness how soups are made using homegrown alibangbang.
Address: Maharlika Highway corner Bayuga Street, Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija
Contact number: +63925 7372152
Love fish? Then you’ll surely love Chanos chanos. Inspired by the scientific name of milkfish – one of Nueva Ecija’s top produce – this modest, enterpreneur-run stall in Munoz sells affordable, hearty dishes with milkfish as a main ingredient. Among its top sellers are rellenong bangus and sweet Pinoy-style spaghetti with bangus meat. It would make a healthy alternative if you’re cutting down on red meat.
Address: Brgy. Padolina, Papaya, Nueva Ecija, Philippines
Contact number: +63927 7108710
Chicken just became more interesting as we chowed down a local cuisine called tiniim na manok at Minalungao National Park. This unique dish, cooked by renowned Novo Ecijano caterer Thea’s Catering, is slow-cooked in a thick pineapple sauce with herbs. Other specialty items worth noting are ensaladang labanos, and papaitan, which uses goat innards and alibangbang.
CAFFE LA TEA
Address: Robinson’s Townsville Cabanatuan, KM III Maharlika Highway, Cabanatuan City, Nueva EcijaContact number: (044) 9601653
For the young (and the young at heart), there’s Caffe La Tea at the ground floor of Robinson’s Townville Cabanatuan. Students and yuppies flock to this artsy cafe for its delicious frappes and hot brews. Other notable menu items include mozzarella sticks and yummy tofu swathed in sinful sauce. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try Caffe La Tea’s Chiz Buco Lumpia – a deep-fried roll of shredded coconuts, ham, vegetables, and cheese.
Address: Maharlika Highway, Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija
Contact number: +63926 8866416
Just a few minutes away from CLSU, along Maharlika Highway, you will find Milka Krem. This massive milk hub sells milk and bath products (such as kala soap) developed by the Philippine Carabao Institute. The most famous of Milka Krem’s creations is its bottled carabao milk, which is used in rice milk, fruit-flavored yogurt drinks, coffee, and chocolate milk.
Take some home, along with pastillas and silvanas or enjoy them with tea, smoothies and coffee at Milka Krem’s in-house cafe.
PUNO’S ICE CREAM AND SHERBET
Address: Various branches in Cabanatuan City
Contact number: (044) 4648694
What better way to cap off a food crawl than with ice cream! And where ice cream is concerned, there’s probably none more famous in Nueva Ecija than Puno’s Ice Cream and Sherbet. Puno’s Ice Cream is available in fruit salad, strawberry, corn queso, cookies and cream, ube cheese, chocolate with cashew, and langka cheese cashew flavors – all of which are worth dipping into. It’s light and milky in taste.
A family-owned business since the 60s, Puno’s has transformed into a household name, delivering products to 24 stores across the province. If you’re from Manila, you can take home a pint or gallon. Puno’s ice cream can last for hours without melting when stored inside a cooler.
CLSU-CHS-‘s DAERRY’S TILAPIA ICE CREAM
Address: Central Luzon State University- CHS, Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija
Contact number: (044) 4560107
At Central Luzon State University, a professor in the College of Home Science and Industry Department has found a way to transform this popular fish into something novel: ice cream. Tilapia flakes are mixed with carabao milk, all-purpose cream, walnut tidbits, condensed milk, and cubed cheese, then sandwiched between two crackers.
This food crawl is part of Lakbay Norte 6, an annual media familiarization tour organized by NLEX and the Northern Philippines Visitors’ Bureau (NPVB), which aims to promote the best-kept secrets of Northern Luzon.
Text and Photos: Filipinaexplorer.com