Pampanga is not just known for its traditional Christmas lanterns or parol in Tagalog, but also of delicious home-made cooking. My brother-in-law is Pampangan and cooks gastronomically delicious dishes. I also used to buy dishes at a nearby residence owned by a Pampangan who cooks dishes at his driveway which entices everyone who passes by.
Makati is now given the honor to be the first in the Metro to experience Pampangan cooking the Apag Marangle way. When I told my brother-in-law and my sister that I am going to attend a food tasting event at Apag Marangle, they were already familiar with the establishment and told me the meaning of the name which really meant "eating from earth's bounty". They told me that it is similar to dampa food establishments and that you can have your newly caught hito (catfish) cooked.
The first branch is located in Bacolor, Pampanga where you can enjoy the fishing hobby and dine in what you caught at the nearby river at the restaurant. The dining areas itself are also a nipa huts at the river shore. In Makati, you can feel that you part of the restaurant in Pampanga was brought in the Park Square branch upon entering. The seats are really made of bamboo and in an elevated area; the whole backdraft of the wall is a photo of what the establishment look like back in Pampanga. If you are observant enough, the elevated area has an artificial pond with live catfish in it.
I like how it presented itself from the moment you wash your hand in their clay jars with faucets. You really felt that you are out of town. If the atmosphere is not enticing enough, wait till you order your food. The menu is presented itself shaped like a leaf that is the same length of one of their tables. The names of the dishes are in Pampangan dialect but the descriptions are in English. Apag Marangle promotes the traditional way of Pinoy eating with only your bare hands with your dishes at the banana leaf commonly called a boodle fight. Not only that boodle fight is fun, it also promotes fellowship. The boodle fight is only optional.
Although the establishment serves different cola drinks, I advise to try the pandan water. Not only that it is refreshing, it is much healthier. They also used honey to sweeten its taste instead of sugar which is way better. Pampanga is not only known for cooking dishes, they also cook exotic food. One of their delicatessens is crickets or caramu in Pampangan. If you are in Pampanga, it is also a must to eat frogs which actually taste like chicken. Although I ate fried caramu, there are other options for them to cook it. The reason why crickets and frogs are tasty because of the farming environment. Crickets eat farm crops that adds flavor.
If you like native soup dishes, I recommend the Corn Soup and the Chicken In Lemon Grass Soup with Corn. The lemon grass is actually delicious as it adds flavor. The kind of corn they used for the Corn Soup are the white corn which makes the soup thick. For the appetizers and snacks, I recommend Okwi(fried papaya-cassava fritters) and their signature pansit. I got to admit their pansit is quite heavy for a merienda. For their grilled dishes, I recommend the squid, barbecue and the catfish. In addition to the caramu and frog, chicharon bulaklak, sizzling sisig, sizzling balut and the liempo, these are also good beer matches.
|Boodle fight is on|
When we had a boodle fight, we were having good laughs to see who really knows how to eat with their hands. If you are a full-blooded Filipino, it will be easy. Although Apag Marangle serves beer, it is still a wholesome environment. The Makati branch is a franchise but Apag Marangle owners still oversees the operation to maintain its quality as it was enjoyed in Bacolor. The Makati branch is located at Park Square near SM Makati, Dusit Hotel and Glorietta 1. For more boodle fights, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.