Take A Day Trip To Asiong’s In Silang, Cavite For An Unforgettable Taste Of Caviteño Cooking
This beloved Cavite institution started as a sari-sari store in Cavite City in 1959, eventually becoming a hole-in-the-wall karinderia. Having just relocated to a bigger location in Silang, Asiong’s current incarnation is as a country home—laid back and serene, a welcome break from the stress of the busy city—now run by Sonny Lua, youngest son of the founder Asiong. Here, Lua teamed up with fellow Cavite culinary royalty, Giboy Sarayba, whose grandmother is none other than Josephine, whose eponymous restaurant is famous for its classic Filipino cuisine.
At Asiong’s, guests dine in an open-air patio decorated with paintings that reflect its beginnings, from the arrival of Lua’s Chinese grandfather in the Philippines to the restaurant as it is today. Memories are important to Lua, and he takes great pains to make sure that guests leave the restaurant with nothing but good ones, plus a doggie bag or two. He says, “We don’t want to have any pretensions that we are a high-end dining place. No fine dining. This is country style.”
Here, plebeian food is elevated to a higher standard by using fresh produce and locally sourced ingredients. “We always had food even when we were poor, but my lola and my mom would always say, ‘we don’t have much but we always made the food special.’ That is a distinctly Caviteño way of thinking,” Lua explains. Take Sarayba’s Pan de Troso, local loaves from Salinas in Rosario, Cavite. “(In the old days), there was this hole-in-the-wall panaderia (where) the baker was too lazy to cut the dough into individual pieces and knead it, so he just made it into a log and baked it. (This was) long before we had the French baguette,” Sarayba recounts. He makes his Pan de Troso with a sourdough starter, sprinkling the dough with fresh herbs from their garden.
Just like in Mexico, it is served with Lua’s homemade quesillo or kesong puti with rosemary, thyme, basil, and garlic. There’s also Dalahican Soup, a tomato-based seafood soup named after a place in Cavite where fishermen dock their boats and people gather to buy the freshest catch.
These two culinary icons of Cavite are proud of their venture to promote Caviteño food. And they are equally proud of their proximity to the freshest ingredients, some of them right in their backyard! “(I love the) freshness of the produce, from the coastal towns—mussels, clams, oysters, and the other shellfish that you don’t see in the market today,” Sarayba says. With the new Asiong’s, Lua promises, “We are going to present Cavite food then and now.”
4455 Buenavista Street, Silang, Cavite (0926) 713-9400 FB: AsiongSilangCavite A longer version of this article appeared in FOOD Magazine, Issue 4, 2016 Photography by Ricky Ladia