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Monday, November 25, 2013

Where to eat in Pampanga: Kusina ni Atching Lillian Borromeo

There's an ancestral house in Mexico, Pampanga where you can make reservations and enjoy authentic Kapampangan cuisine.  Food is prepared by Pampanggo culinary personality Atching Lillian Lising-Borromeo ("atchi" in Pampanggo means older sister).

The meal is buffet style, al fresco.

When you make reservations, you can actually discuss the menu with Atching Lillian but since we're Pampanggo, we veered away from exotic dishes like batute (stuffed frog) and tocinong damulag (carabeef tocino).  We picked some all-time favorites as well as requested Atching Lillian to include some unique dishes.  So here's what we had -

Mushroom soup with chilli leaves. 

Adobong Puti

This is Pampanggo's version of paella.  It is usually served during town fiestas.

Bobotung Asan. 
I forgot to ask why it's called "bobotu" but "asan" means fish.   It's milkfish cooked with tanglad leaves.

Chicken morcon with castanyas.  
I thought this was a hot dish like the rest but when I took a bite, it was chilled. Haha... It was my first time to eat this dish. :) 

Pritong hito (catfish)
Steamed veggies to go with the Fried Hito.
Buru or Tagilo or Fermented Rice.  

Fried hito and the steamed veggies won't be complete without buru.

Kare-kareng iking baka (oxtail).  
Atching Lillian shared with us that she got the recipe for this from the Hizon family of Pampanga.  It has chorizo, mushroom, garbanzos and no peanut butter (ok, I am just guessing that it doesn't have peanut butter! haha...).

Fried Paro (Shrimps).

This is the Pampanggo's version of Dinuguan.  

Tuna Sisig
Although the tuna came from canned tuna, the blend was super yum.

Pandan water. Refreshing!
If you like any of the dishes, you can ask Atching Lillian about them and she will openly share and explain how she cooked them (except that I was too busy eating! Haha...)

While there, you can also visit Atching Lillian's kitchen of antiquities.  I think this has been featured in several publications and shows.

Here are some interesting things you can find.
Brass pans.

Assorted ladles.
This is the spot where Atching Lillian usually holds her cooking demos. If I am not mistaken, she has (or had) a cooking show on a local cable channel and occasionally conducts cooking classes.

Atching Lillian is also popular for her Panecillos de San Nicolas or San Nicolas cookies (in Pampanggo, we pronounce it as if it were one word - Sanikulas! Haha...).  Atching Lillian's San Nicolas cookies are the finest, thinnest and the best I've ever eaten.

In her kitchen, you'll find century-old antique molds for San Nicolas.  The molds are carved with various religious images.

Antique cookie mold for San Nicolas cookies.

Here's another antique cookie mold.
Here's how San Nikolas cookies look like.  

San Nikolas cookies are baked in commemoration of St. Nicholas of Tolentino (a different St Nicholas from Sta Claus - that is said to be St Nicholas of Myra). According to historical accounts, when St. Nicholas of Tolentino was sick, he received a vision from the Blessed Virgin Mary to eat a specific bread dipped in water and after which, he got healed.  He started giving away the same bread to sick people since then, some of whom got miraculously healed too.  Fascinating story.

Anyway, Kusina ni Atching Lillian is located in Parian, Mexico, Pampanga - about 5 minutes away from SM Pampanga.  

If you would like to make reservations, you can contact +63 915 7730788 or +63 45 9660211.  Minimum requirement for reservation is 10 pax.  Price per pax is Php500.  I heard they also serve breakfast but I'm not sure if it's the same rate.  Just call to inquire to be sure. 

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