Pampanga Taste Fest: The ultimate food trip experience

The first annual Pampanga Taste Fest, held last April 22, 2017 at the MarQuee Mall Park, was swarmed by foodies and food enthusiasts. It was a night of indulgence as 24 food businesses—the well-known and the up-and-coming—gathered and prepared to satisfy the seasoned Kapampangan tongue. Bringing only their specialties and best-sellers, they gave us the tastiest food scene yet in Pampanga.

Unlike any other food bazaar, the Pampanga Taste Fest gave the public the chance to be a food critic. Because Kapampangans are known for their meticulous ways of cooking and sensitive tastebuds, they, as tasters, became the jury. In this quest for the best, tasters immersed themselves in the classics and the fusions, as they tried all the food samplings and rated (from 1 to 5 stars) the food businesses.

By the end of the evening, with ratings of 4.15 in taste and 4.02 in creativity, Toll House was awarded the Best of the Best and the Most Creative. It came as little surprise, since Toll House is known and loved by many. Their specialty, the Baked Macaroni, has secured loyal customers for decades now; it makes sense, then, that it attracted the same attention at the Pampanga Taste Fest. Toll House also featured their famous Apple Pie, which seemed to have tickled the tongues of our tasters.

House of Chops was the 1st Runner-Up, its final rating being 4.07. Their Crackling Pork Belly Roast and US Beef Belly demanded recognition and praise, with their crunchy skin, soft meat, and balanced seasoning. House of Chops set the standards high and deserved the award, no doubt.

Local delicacies got their game on too. Urban Crunch, which serves Ilocano food, snagged the 2nd Runner-Up award, with a final rating of 4.00. They showcased their Kare-Kareng Bagnet and Dinakdakan. Being newcomers in the industry, this must be quite a feat.

And of course, Japanese cuisine caught the curiosity of our tasters. Everyone wanted a taste of the famous, explosive flavors of Sakura’s Volcano Maki and Okonomiyaki. Sakura, then, being the most frequented and tasted, won the Tasters’ Choice award.

Pampanga Taste Fest was indeed the ultimate food trip experience; however, it was organized not only for the enjoyment of the public. According to Gab De Luna, project head organizer, PTF aims to help local entrepreneurs introduce and advertise their food businesses by providing an avenue for them to present their specialties to the public. And aside from being a bridge between local entrepreneurs and fellow Kapampangans, Pampanga Taste Fest is, ultimately, an initiative to reach and help our brothers in the community further. All proceeds from this event go to Alay Skills, a flagship program of JCI Angeles City Culiat that provides free vocational education to the less fortunate citizens of Angeles City.

The participants of Pampanga Taste Fest are the following:

  1. Racio’s Grill
  2. House of Chops
  3. Sakura
  4. Apag Marangle
  5. Esting’s Bellychon
  6. B&B Grill
  7. Urban Table Bistro
  8. Urban Crunch
  9. Fortune Tea House
  10. B&P Bulalo and Pares
  11. Benedito Peri Peri Chicken
  12. Garaje88 Grill
  13. Organic Honey Supplier
  14. Tempura Zen
  15. Toll House
  16. Century Vine
  17. The Black Plate
  18. Chef Series by Fresh Options
  19. Ulam Mismo by Fresh Options
  20. Crispinoy and Merry-nades by Fresh Options
  21. Sushi Box
  22. Cafe Noelle
  23. Meats and Match
  24. Robbie’s


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