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4 Comfort Food Hits For Rainy Days In Iloilo City

There’s a warmth and familiarity regardless of where you’re from in the Philippines when visiting or coming home to Iloilo City. Its people show genuine affection and almost everything served has an extra bit of seasoned love thrown in. The heartwarming Ilonggos continue to take pride in their culture, cuisine, and heritage places even if the area has vastly developed in the urban sense over the last decade. With cloudy and drizzly days trickling in, we’ve rounded up a couple of comfort food dishes from a handful of old and new places that we visited.

 

1. Hot Chocolate from Camiña Balay Nga Bato

At Balay Nga Bato, a 150-year-old heritage house, they offer a pretty authentic aristocratic sit-down dining experience from the Spanish colonial period. Sometimes there are buffet luncheons or dinners for a minimum of 10 people. Every now and then, the house’s 4th generation owner, Luth Camiña, is present to entertain questions about the place while she is in residence at Balay.

Iloilo local, online lifestyle influencer, and The Good Retail boutique owner, Katrina Loring, often takes friends or loved ones over to Balay Nga Bato for sips of hot chocolate.

 

 

 

Situated in Villa, Iloilo, this large yet quaint feels place is particularly popular for its dark and sweet offering, Chocolate de Batirol, prepared in cast iron tsokolateras. The rich chocolate drink is served with flaky, crisp biscuits for dipping and all these partner well with good conversation.

Camiña Balay Nga Bato, 20 Osmena Street, Arevalo, Iloilo City, (033) 336-3858. Reservations required 3 days before

 

2. Chicken Teriyaki Pizza from Healthy Kitchen Live

If you’re health and diet-conscious, it isn’t easy to stay picky when it comes to what you eat, especially if you’re in Iloilo. Here you find yourself seemingly trapped in a dizzying swirl of rich food and desserts.  One of the city’s youngest Ilongga restaurateurs, Myka Perlas, has seen her healthy food vision to fruition by opening her second Healthy Kitchen Live branch at SM City Southpoint, Iloilo. She saw the gap and need for more nutritious food outlets and started her restaurant business from scratch. “Our first branch was in Atria, it opened 2015, but I started the food business 2013 online lang—deliveries, meal plans. We’re not really vegan, but we have vegan options.” 

 

 

Lean Beef Shawarma Bowl made with fresh vegetables, lean meat, and hummus topped with a garlic yoghurt sauce – “This you mix together and it’s a complete meal already.”


 

“The concept of this restaurant is traveling the world through healthy food. It’s about taking a specialty dish from a certain country and making it healthier—not all countries, just the ones I’ve traveled to.”  Myka served us her fresh take on Goi Con or Vietnamese spring rolls, with peanut and nouc cham sauce. This was the first dish she learned to make and which became the inspiration for Healthy Kitchen Live.


Goi Con spring rolls

 

However, the dish that won our comfort food badge for that day was the Chicken Teriyaki Pizza. It’s got a wheat dough crust, grilled chicken breast strips, homemade mushroom sauce, mozzarella cheese, assorted vegetables, and it’s drizzled with Healthy Kitchen Live’s very own teriyaki sauce.

 

Chicken Teriyaki Pizza

 

The balance of melted cheese on the pizza, its meat, veggies and crust thickness—with just the right amount of sauce—hit our sweet spot late in the afternoon.

Healthy Kitchen Live, SM City, Southpoint, Iloilo City, (0917) 700-5834

 

3. Kalabasa Soup by Farm To Table

On a grey or cozy, rainy day at Farm To Table, there’s nothing quite like filling up your belly with warm soup. Having kalabasa soup in a more unique way, straight out of the carved shell, reminds you even more of this dish’s organically sourced freshness.

Kalabasa Soup

 

In Iloilo, non-traditional restaurant concepts are rising quickly. Farm To Table, a restaurant in Megaworld Complex, may have a straightforward name, but thanks to celebrity chef Pauline Gorriceta-Banusing, modern gourmet food with locally sourced ingredients from the isle of Panay now has its own space in Iloilo. 

 

Coconut Fishballs

 

We were able to try a selection from their menu and another dish we particularly liked was the Coconut Fishballs made with coconut milk and dalagang bukid white fish. Be sure to mention to the staff if you’re okay with a spicy or moderately spicy sauce, as we were caught off-guard by the heat.

Farm To Table, Megaworld Complex, Iloilo City, (033) 320 2154, open 11 am to 11 pm

 

4. Panaderia De Molo

This is the famous pasalubong place where people flock to before heading home from Iloilo for baked goods like galletas biscuits, barquillos, and kinihad. However, if you’re not regularly in Iloilo, you might not have known that Panaderia de Molo also reportedly serves the most delicious Pancit Molo Soup as well.

The branch of Panaderia de Molo that serves up this delicious Pancit Molo Soup is on Avanceña Street, just alongside The Good Retail boutique. Frozen and packaged molo dumplings in pork or chicken flavors are also available for purchase from their store.

Panaderia de Molo, (033) 337 4937, email panaderiademolo@yahoo.com

 

Photography by author

Additional photos from Instagram.com/panaderiademolo