Our two-day sun and sand getaway at Nagsasa Cove in Zambales was indeed so refreshing. Before we left the jump-off point we ate our brunch then we set off for a long drive going back to Manila. When we were along Gapan Road, everyone was talking about snack. We searched for dining options somewhere in Pampanga which is known for its sophisticated culinary work and exotic dish. We saw one restaurant but did not seem very interesting so we moved on. By a stroke of luck, we stumbled upon this humble restaurant Apag Marangle which was beside the main highway in Sta. Barbara, Bacolor, Pampanga.
We parked our van in the spacious lot and were ushered by the waiter into the main restaurant. To our delight, a huge nipa hut perched in the middle of a fish pond warmly welcomed us. We walked down the aisle made entirely of bamboo. Wooden tables, chairs, and indoor plants were inviting us to sit comfortably, enjoy the view and relax. Apag Marangle (hain sa bukid) made us feel a unique traditional ambiance.
We sat on the table overlooking the fishpond and nearby mini farm. A moment later, the waiter gave us their unique menu in a form of a banana leaf. We noticed the menu is written in Kapangpangan. Apag Marangle is promoting their culture through the practice of their dialect.
Apag Marangle serves authentic Kapangpangan dish and they maintain their standard traditional way of cooking. Vegetables and ingredients come from the fresh produce harvested daily from Pampanga. This is what made them unique from other restaurants in the region.
Kumareng Rose, being a Kapangpangan and a superb cook, will select the dishes we will surely love to eat.
While waiting for the food to be served, Pao, Shen, Abu and I set off for a walk in the mini-farm. What we found were lemon grass and pandan. These organically grown plants are used as ingredients in Sale Manuk Lemon Grass Chicken soup, Lemon Grass Tea Herbal Tea, Pinaupong Manok and stuffing for Lechon Belly.
We walked around and got even more delighted to witness the charm of a rural life. We were amazed washing our hands through a faucet connected to a big earthen jar (banga) in the wash area. This reminded me of my childhood days in my hometown in Albay where my Lola Ang stored mineral water in a banga fetched from a nearby spring. It was cold and refreshing to drink.
When we went back, the food was already set on the table. And here’s what we ordered.
Tidtad (P245) means chopped. Tidtad is their version of dinuguan, but instead of squeezing pork blood stew, they chop it. The solid chunks looked like pieces of liver.
Ningnang (Grilled) Hito (P255) is a much sought-after dish where a broiled catfish was grilled and complemented perfectly with unripe tamarind juice and fish paste. Pepasingong Gule Ampong Taguito (P195) – steamed vegetables (eggplant, okra, kang kong, mustasa) with fermented shrimp/rice dip. Ningnang Pusit (P210) – Grilled squid with dipping sauce of soy sauce and calamansi. We sliced this into small chunks which made us easier to munch it. Pepasingong Kangkong (P75) – steamed fresh kang kong with fish sauce. Asado ng Ima Ku (P315) – traditional chicken and pork pot roast. Kids love this dish.
Garlic Rice (P185) is rice fried with olive oil, lots of garlic and with toppings of toasted garlic
Tabang Talangka (P195) - a crab paste where we used it as tasty gravy in plain rice.
Pork Barbecue (P70)
6 cup plain rice (P210)
Sago’t Gulaman (P65)
Fresh Buko (P75)
Bim was a fanatic of Kapangpangan cuisine so he ordered the exotic fried Chili Garlic Camaru or mole crickets blended with onion, garlic and tomato. Out of curiosity, everyone tasted it. Well, it was like a crispy dilis, quite good ha.
Service was good. The food was appealing and tasted really good that we ate so much. I presumed this will be our early dinner. There’s no leftover on plates except for the fish bone.
It’s good that we passed by in this restaurant and had a refreshing dining experience. Apag Marangle took us away from the city and let us feel the breeze of fresh air and relaxing atmosphere. With the tranquility, rustic feel and delectable food, we sure love to go back when another exciting North Luzon getaway comes again.
The next time you head to Pampanga dine at Apag Marangle and you will surely experience the best of Kapampangan cuisines and its unique farm-like dining ambiance like no other!
Thank you to Sir Vhong Zapanta-Serillano, the General Manager of the restaurant for his warm accommodation.
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