They say that the way to a man’s—well, just about anyone’s—heart is through his stomach. But in Quezon, the receiving carries more weight than the giving: the way to win the heart of Quezonians is by accepting and appreciating the food that they prepared for you.
Being welcoming and generous is a distinct trait of people from Quezon. The province’s Pahiyas Festival, for example, is well-known around the world because of how locals open their homes to just about anyone visiting. Throughout the celebrations, each home feeds total strangers and lets them experience the peak of Filipino hospitality.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that the famous dishes of this province resonate well with the character of its locals. Here are some prime and delicious examples of this:
PANCIT HABHAB AND HARDINERA
These two dishes are always present in practically every celebration in the province, particularly in Lucban.
Made from dried flour noodles known as miki, Pancit Habhab has a softer texture compared to your regular canton or stir-fry noodles. Sautéed with tender pork, vegetables, and either squid balls or kikiam (chinese sausage), the dish can be made even more special when partnered with vinegar.
In Quezon, “habhab” means eating with your hands, and this is the best way to enjoy the dish: by using a banana leaf as your plate and eating it without any utensils, and directly placing the food in your mouth.
A plate of Pancit Habhab is offered almost anywhere you go in Quezon. Festivals or local holidays are not even needed for you to be served this well-loved cuisine.
The Hardinera, on the other hand, is often confused with another meatloaf recipe called Embutido. What makes this Lucban original is that the dish makes use of ingredients used for making Menudo, but cooked as Embutido using a small metal pan normally used for leche flan.
Primarily served during special occasions, this dish echoes how the locals who first made its recipe enjoy festive flavors.
We suggest trying both these dishes at the original branch of the always festive Buddy’s Restaurant. It is located at 99 Rizal Avenue, corner San Luis, St, Lucban, Quezon from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm every day of the week.
Longganisa is a Filipino pork sausage that has a different version in almost every province we have. Lucban Longganisa is distinct for its salt and garlic flavor. Instead of using bay leaves, this sausage uses oregano with a mix of vinegar and other secret ingredients.
Another well-appreciated trait of Quezonians is their accommodating nature. Going to this province feels like coming home as everyone treats you as one of their own. And few dishes can give you that warm, homey feeling here than a Lucban Longganisa, especially when served during breakfast.
We suggest heading for Abcede’s Lucban Longganisa, one of the pioneer factories of these sausages. You can also get their products in pasalubong centers and Abcede stalls around the province.
A candy born out of Filipino resourcefulness in Spanish colonial times, Yema is made with discarded egg yolk. These were in high supply then as egg whites are used in construction, primarily as a paste to hold stones together.
Soon after winning Php 20,000 in a community game, Tayabas local Juliet Rodilla took a good, hard look at this Filipino delicacy and decided to do something more with it. This gave birth to Quezon’s famous Yema Cake.
Along with her husband Vincent, Rodilla started a small bakeshop in Tayabas. She learned to bake after graduating from high school as she worked in a cake maker’s home in Lucena. After observing her employer, she applied what she learned and created her own cake recipe.
Resourcefulness like Rodilla’s is a common Quezoñan trait. Stories abound in the province as that of hers, or that of the Tanauan White River Rafting boatmen, who turned away from illegal logging and created a living by making river rafting their primary source of income.
Rodilla’s resourcefulness similarly changed her life, and her name has become synonymous with the famous pasalubong.
It’s become so popular that you don’t have to travel all the way to Quezon to get your hands on a box. The cake is widely distributed in neighboring provinces and even some shops in Metro Manila.
Seafood, particularly shellfish, are also quite popular in Quezon as it is surrounded by water.
Whether it is cooked fried, grilled, or with coconut milk, these freshly caught crustaceans are always something to look forward to during mealtime.
Just a few hours away from Bicol, Quezon also shares some of the region’s culinary traits. Though Quezoñans are not fans of spicy food, they enjoy salty and creamy delicacies at their table.
Your Quezon experience will not be complete if you miss out on their Sinantolan. Made from santol, or cotton fruit, this coconut milk-based dish can be found almost anywhere around the province.
Of course, you must not skip out on trying Quezon’s local liquors. Being home to the largest Lambanog manufacturer in the country, it would be a crime if you’ll miss out trying this famous concoction. The alcoholic drink is traditionally made from coconut or nipa palm sap. We suggest getting a couple of bottles from BIPCO’s Nipa Lambanog and Wine.
Now that Quezon Province is open, make sure to try out their famous dishes while exploring its towns. Guarantee your safety when traveling by checking out up-to-date information on your next destination at https://philippines.travel/safetrip.