1. Mention Cebu and danggit comes to mind easily and for Bataan, the official dried fish pasalubong (homecoming treat) is tinapa that comes in all shapes, sizes, and fishes! Of course the best one is bangus (milk fish) and they come boneless and delicious, ready for you to fry to a crisp once you reach home. You can find this tinapa at the Balanga City market… and yes, you can buy danggit – and a lot cheaper – from here too (and did I mention all things sea food are crazy good from all over Bataan too?)
2. Peanut butter lovers out there? You’ve got to try Bagac’s own cashew butter. It is creamy, yummy, decadent, and it is the perfect way to indulge! Buy it for your mother’s kare-kare and the taste will reach a new stratosphere. Made from cashew harvested in Bagac itself, this cashew butter truly deserves all the attention its been getting from locals, balikbayans, and foreigners alike. You can also purchase tons of cashews here; it might sound crazy but the ones that you can buy from Antipolo and other parts of the Philippines come from Bagac too, no kidding!
3. Filipino food is big on pansit and if you happen to be a big fan of pansit palabok, have your fix at the best one in the province from the town of Orani, near the local hospital. This pansit palabok constitutes saucy dreams. I’m a big fan of spaghetti myself but I must admit this one is really worth trading plates for.
4. I’ve been to Cebu and I fell in love with CNT lechon. However, no Bataan food trip will be complete without a taste of Balanga‘s own Henry’s lechon. It is crispy, it melts in your mouth, it is tender – what more is there to ask? If your heart stops for a moment while savoring this lovely lechon, totally worth it. You can also get other porkylicious treats from this little restaurant like bopis and batchoy and be mighty charmed!
5. Saverde’s beef tapa in Abucay is another must for your Bataan food trip. Compared to the other beef tapa plates you can have around the province, theirs is the tastiest and cheapest of the lot. Shredded beef tapa that are succulent and moist on top of a bed of soft omelet that encloses steamy rice… it’s like the condensed form of all the good things in the world Their buttermilk toast at Php 20 is also a big turn on you should not miss!
6. Ready for dessert? Traditional foodies will have a blast with kakanin (rice cakes) made fresh and hot every day that you can purchase from Bagac market. There is a long line of kakanin vendors near the vegetables section and if you’re a rice cake fan, go and fulfill your destiny! Sapin-sapin, biko, maja blanca, kutsinta and more glistening in violets, whites, yellows, and browns topped with coconut shavings, poppy seeds, langka and everything decadent in the world, these kakanin surely takes you to cloud 9 in a snap. But if your heart is on more modern desserts like fairy cakes, cheesecakes, and oatmeal cookies, go to Orion and look up Fully Baked. I can tell you that the treats from this shop inspired me to learn how to bake my own and theirs is really one of my favorite things on the planet.