Craving for a home-cooked Pork Binagoongan and some Pancit Malabon? How about a classic afternoon Lugaw merienda? If you happen to pass by Quezon City, I have just the place for you.
Neatly tucked in a quiet street in QC is an eatery called Lola Idang’s Bahay Pancitan. The place is not that big, with only about ten tables set on a 35-square meter eating space. The restaurant is so unassuming that you’ll hardly take a second look at it; plain white tiles flooring, simple decors, plastic Orocan chairs and tables laid with generic plaid table clothes. What distinguishes this small diner from the throngs of eating-places in Quezon City though is their food.
I have never tasted a Binagoongan as good as the ones being served at Lola Idang’s. Crispy Binagoonan (Php105.00) as they name it is divided into three layers. The bottom one, a peeled steamed eggplant, over it is the pork which is fried to a crisp (almost bagnet-like in its crispiness), and topping those two off is a generous serving of lightly sweet & chili Bagoong (shrimp paste) and some tomato and onion garnish. Paired with a steaming white rice and a spicy vinegar dip and you’re in for a superb treat. Just writing about it actually makes my mouth water.
Although the resto can actually live off with just their Binagoongan dish, they do actually serve other chows too. As their name connotes, their actual specialty is Pancit Malabon. These can be either ordered ala carte or can be bought in bilao’s (large woven tray) of varying sizes for take-outs. I have tasted their pancit only once and unfortunately was not that impressed though.
Aside from their Crispy Binagoongan, another of my favorite is their Lugaw (rice porridge) (Php30.00), Tokwa (fried tofu) (Php35.00) and Fried Lumpiang Ubod (Spring Rolls) (Php38.00) combo. Their Lugaw is flavored just right, its consistency and texture spot on. Paired with the overflowing bowl of Tokwa dipped in spicy soy-vinegar and their crispy Lumpia and we’ve got a classic afternoon merienda elevated on to a higher level.
Unfortunately, you can only enjoy these dishes if you can stand their inattentive, unsmiling and unfriendly serving staff who’d rather crowd into their booth than take your order. I have actually on several times felt that it was too much trouble for them to have your orders taken and even had to approach their station to call their attention. Ask for a glass of water; expect it to arrive a century later. Take too much time choosing an order, and you’d almost feel them looming up your back, eyes rolling upwards, mouth bent downwards.
Despite all that, I still frequent this simple eating place. In the end, it’s still the food that matters anyways. Lola Idang’s Bahay Pancitan however would certainly feel homier and live up to its name if only their people would make you feel you’re welcome to dine in their restaurant. I just hope that next time I enter their premises; their service can actually compliment the excellent dishes they serve.
Lola Idang’s Bahay Pancitan
Quezon Avenue corner Examiner Street
West Triangle, Quezon City