The best way to someone's heart is through the stomach right? Well, you'll surely fall in love with Bicol when you try our some of our famous Bicolano dishes and other personal favourites!
Here Are 5 Food You Should Definitely Eat When You Visit Naga City
1. BICOL EXPRESS PIZZA
Start your food trip with something the famous BICOL EXPRESS but with a twist. I must admit that I only recently tried this Bicol Express Pizza of Woodstone Kitchen but I think this is one of the best way to introduce Bicolano cuisine to visitors who might have hesitations about our local food. They were able to achieve the balance of rich coconut milk layered with cheese and sprinkled with spicy meat, tiny shrimps and pineapple bits. If you like to try fusion pizza just like me, then this is a must eat for you!
Woodstone Kitchen is located along Basilica Road, near the back gate of Avenue Plaza Hotel and just before Naga Manor.
As a #FUNAmbassador, I always try to discover new take on local dishes I used to have growing up in this region. If you check my Instagram @msappleallison account, you'll see how many pizza fusion I already tried. I'll blog about all these Bicol Pizza fusion soon. :-)
2. PASTA BICOLANA
Forget about spaghetti when you're this part of the Philippines! I highly recommend you order the Pasta Bicolana at 1st Colonial Grill for something hot and tasty. It may remind you of Aglio Olio but with a twist, made more delicious by bits of the famous Guinobatan Longganisa. You can also opt to level up and order the double spicy. ;-)
1st Colonial Grill is originally from Albay but they already have 2 branches in Naga. You can find them at the Ground Floor of SM City Naga near the supermarket and the other one is along Elias Angeles Street near E-Mall.
3. PUTONG BIGAS
This is one of my favourite meryenda! This rice cake with sweet coconut fillings is one of the simple yet delicious Filipino street snack you should try when you visit #Philippines. In Naga City, you can usually buy these freshly cooked puto in the afternoon, near the gate of Penafrancia Shrine or at the intersection of Penafrancia Avenue and Magsaysay Avenue. Sometimes I also saw puto vendor outside San Francisco Church in downtown Naga. It's usually sold for 20 pesos per pack with 4 pieces.
4. CRISPY PATA
Ask locals where's the best restaurant to order Crispy Pata and I bet they'll say Bob Marlin in unison. To Die For! and Sinfully Good! are just some of the best adjectives to describe Bob Marlin's crispy pata which paved way for Naga City to be included in the gastronomy spot, not only in Bicol but also in the Philippines.
It was one of the dishes recognized in the Sooo Pinoy (Evolving Filipino Flavours): National Search for the Ultimate Pinoy Dish 2010. Since then, it became more famous, not only to locals and tourists but also to visiting VIPs and celebrities. Just look at their wall of "plate of fame" during your visit and you'll know what I mean.
You'll forget your diet especially if you order it with rice or beer, but I know you'll never regret it! Well, I also recommend you pair it with their ensaladang talong to lessen your guilt. :-p
Bob Marlin Restaurant & Grill is along Magsaysay Avenue, the entertainment district of Naga City. It's open from 10:30 am to 12 midnight and they usually extend on weekends.
5. NUI LOOK & ABU
Have a NIU look before you leave the city. Don't miss this crisp dried fish for your Power Breakfast. And where's the best place to have it? I say try it at Cafe Plazuela of Avenue Plaza Hotel, where I also first ate it when I had my buffet breakfast. Yup, this dried fish is called "niu/new look" and Bicolanos love to have it for breakfast especially when you dip it to vinegar with chilly! It will definitely make your day. Don't also forget to try "Abu" which looks a little lighter than this but equally delicious.
While both Nui look and Abu are commonly available at the 2nd floor of Naga City People's Mall and you can also buy it as pasalubong, there's a distinct way the chefs of Avenue Plaza Hotel cooked it, making it memorable for most guests. I remember acclaimed Director Olive Lamasan loved it too during her stay so my good friend who works at Star Cinema asked me where they can buy it and how it should be cooked.
I first heard about "Abu" during my TV interview with Ms.Cory Quirino. She was a guest at Avenue Plaza way back then and she told me that she loved the dried fish served to her by the chef. I just gave a general comment about it but at the back of my mind I'm already puzzled about it because I do not have any idea about it --- as in zero! Instantly after we had a good take, I went to Cafe Plazuela and asked Sir Bong, the captain waiter, to describe abu to me.
I have a confession to make... I grew up with allergies in dried fish so I don't usually have it on my list aside from tinapa (smoked fish). But for this blog post, I decided to include Nui Look and Abu as one of the food you must try because I really find it delicious and the way it was prepared by the chefs didn't trigger my allergy.
These are just two of the items you will love when you take your Power Breakfast at Cafe Plazuela. Buffet breakfast at Avenue Plaza Hotel is open from 6 am to 10 am. They also accept walk-in guests. For inquiries or reservation, please call them at (054) 473 9999.