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Monday, May 24, 2010

What to Have for Lunch: All-Day Breakfast at Pampanguena

Posted By on Mon, May 24, 2010 at 7:30 AM

Tocino, egg, and extra-garlicky garlic rice ($5.95). - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • Tocino, egg, and extra-garlicky garlic rice ($5.95).
Monday, May 24, 2010

Pampanguena, a brightly painted, two-month-old Filipino restaurant in the Excelsior, specializes in food from the Pampanga region, which many people (especially Pampangans) like to claim has the best cooking in the archipelago. There's no menu, only wall signs, a steam table, and a refrigerated case. They display a dozen stews, fried fish, cassava cakes, and sticky banana-jackfruit turon.

Look at the chalkboard above, and you'll see that between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., a dozen of the dishes can be ordered for all-day breakfast, with garlic rice and a fried egg ("silog"). The tocino (cured and marinated pork) we tried wasn't all that tender, so we'd recommend Spam silog, smoked fish silog, or silog with house-made longanisa (sweet, fat little sausages). When it comes to the garlic in the garlic rice, the cooks aren't stingy, covering its surface with several cloves' worth of nutty, fragrant, browned chips. Most of the silogs cost less than $6, cheap enough for you to drop an extra $2 on a skewer of smoky, black-tipped barbecue pork glistening with a sweet soy marinade.

Pampanguena Cuisine 4441 Mission (at Francis), 586-8899.

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