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You Won’t be Able to Stop Thinking About These Desserts from Pampanga

by Cholo Sediaren

A trip to Pampanga is always a treat for the senses.

INSTAGRAM: nathanielsph

Known as the land of giant parols, migratory birds, and of course, amazing food (it IS called the Culinary Capital of the Philippines, after all), the province of Pampanga also offers a variety of desserts that will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth—whether you just finished a hearty meal or are simply craving something decadent and indulgent.

1. Nathaniel’s Bakeshop's Buko Pandan

INSTAGRAM: josephmylifeinmetromanila

Believe us when we say that Nathaniel’s Bakeshop serves the best Buko Pandan Salad we’ve ever tasted in our life. Looks may be deceiving, because this may seem like any other variant of the dessert with its standard cream and pandan-flavored jelly, but don’t be fooled—you’ll find yourself finishing a whole tub in no time. Nobody knows the secret behind what makes this take on Buko Pandan special, but owners Fernando and Nelly Co have blessed Pampanga (and beyond) with this dessert, and more specialties, since 1994. Worry not, ‘cause you don’t have to go all the way to a Pampanga branch to find this: you can buy tubs of this treat in selected supermarkets and Nathaniel’s branches in Manila. Don’t say we didn’t warn ya!

Nathaniel’s Bakeshop - Olongapo-Gapan Branch
KM 69, Jose Abad Santos Ave. (formerly Olongapo-Gapan Road),
Brgy. Dolores, City of San Fernando
Open daily, 8 AM - 9 PM
(045) 961 7171 / (045) 961 4008
feedback@nathaniels.com.ph

2. Susie’s Cuisine's Kakanin

INSTAGRAM: yourfoodtographer

You won’t have to drive all the way to Pampanga to get your fix of authentic native kakanin, as Susie’s Cuisine offers a variety in multiple branches in Metro Manila, too. While the restaurant serves many other Kapampangan dishes, locals and tourists alike visit the OG branches in San Fernando and Angeles to get a taste of their kakanin, which has been dubbed “The Best in Pampango Kakanin since 1972.” Their Assorted Kakanin platter offers a number of options for those who want to give everything a try: Tibok-tibok, Tibok Mais, Biko Kalabasa, Duman Pinipig, Kalamay Ube, Ube Lakatan, Halaya Ube and Sapin-sapin. Sounds like a carbo-load, but these sweet delicacies will have you buying a bilao (or two) to take home for any occasion.

Susie’s Cuisine - Dolores Branch
McArthur Highway, Dolores, San Fernando
(045) 888 0034

3. L. A. Bakeshop's Cheese Bread

INSTAGRAM: iamazhaine

Though this is technically not considered a dessert, the Cheese Bread at L.A. Bakeshop in San Fernando, Pampanga is too good not to include in this list. Usually sold by the box, their famous pastry is a mouthwatering treat that puts together chewy and cheesy bread with a sweet, buttery outer-crust. The homegrown bakery is a popular pit stop for tourists in the area who often walk out of the stores with several boxes to bring home. There’s usually a queue, as the delectable pastries are baked on the spot and served warm, but your time spent waiting will always be more than worth it.

L.A. Bakeshop – San Fernando Downtown (Main Branch)
318 Abad Santos St., Sto. Rosario, San Fernando
0916 362 8063 (Globe) / (045) 961 3330
Open daily, 5:30 AM – 8:30 PM

4. à La Crème's Sinful Chocolate Cake

INSTAGRAM: julesq_

Channel Marie Antoinette and let them (and yourself) eat cake! And there's no better way to do this than by visiting a branch of à La Crème, a well-known café-bistro-cake shop which originated in Angeles, Pampanga. Among all their cakes, they recommend the Sinful Chocolate Cake, which is filled with, you guessed it, layer upon layer of chocolate mousse, drizzled with even more chocolate in syrup form, and garnished with some nuts. If that isn’t enough to make you drool, the cake shop also offers other bestselling treats like the Ube Macapuno Pound Cake with Walnuts and the Belgian Chocolate moist chocolate cake.

à La CrèmeMain Branch
Stall 1, Alcon Bldg.
Mac Arthur Hi-way, Barangay Claro M. Recto
Angeles City
(045) 322 3434 / (045) 322 3232 / (0922) 865-0249
Open daily, 11 AM - 10 PM

5. Kabigting’s Halo-Halo

INSTAGRAM: mjbautistacpa

We can’t end this list without talking about the Philippines’ perennial favorite summertime (and rainy season!) dessert, the halo-halo. While various local fast-food joints have decided to serve their own arguably commercialized takes on this treat, there's still a stark difference between these and the homegrown shops that give you the authentic experience. Kabigting’s Halo-halo, considered the pride of Arayat, Pampanga, boasts a version that's been popular since Boy Kabigting opened up his small in-home store in the 1970s. The cult favorite serves up a no-frills take on the dessert, only consisting of three main ingredients: mashed white kidney beans, jalea (carabao’s milk pastillas), and creamed corn. This may seem all too simple, but don't knock it till you've tried it, because this famous concoction drives crowds to the province for a very good reason.

Kabigting’s Halo-Halo
J. M. Espino St., Arayat
Open daily, 9 AM - 7:30 PM

While all of the treats on this list are already staple Filipino desserts, each one has a special Kapampangan touch that will definitely keep you wanting to come back for a taste. Go ahead and reward yourself!

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About Cholo
When he’s not busy trying to navigate the world of Pinoy showbiz, you can often find Cholo going places — from the exciting worlds found in pop culture, to any other real world destination he can tell stories about (and eat good food in). Check out his adventures on Instagram @ccsediaren and YouTube at youtube.com/cholosediaren!

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