Iloilo is well-known for their batchoy, a kind of noodle soup whose history can be traced back to the humble stalls of the La Paz market, thus the name, La Paz batchoy.
Served piping hot, this local delicacy has warmed the tummies of Ilonggos since time immemorial. But while the batchoy that we know and love is still chock-full of miki (round noodles), pork organs, and beef loin dunked in simmering kaldo (broth) and sprinkled with crushed pork cracklings (chicharon), it has also evolved over time. Whether you prefer to sample the original recipe or eager to try new versions of the batchoy, here’s a list of places that will surely hit the spot.
While the history of batchoy is still up for debate, Deco’s is generally touted as the originator of the savory dish. Story has it that the first bowl of batchoy was served in a humble stall in the La Paz market way back in 1938. It was the brainchild of a butcher, Federico Guillergan Sr., who experimented with miki—a type of noodle brought in by the Chinese—as well as pork meat, pork innards, guinamos (shrimp paste) and the final touch, chicharon bits. The recipe has been handed down from one generation to another, and the market stall has grown into several branches, even reaching the shores of Manila. Called Deco’s after Federico’s nickname, the Ilonggos still can’t get enough of the original La Paz batchoy.
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Deco’s is located at 41 Mabini St, Iloilo City Proper, Iloilo City, 5000 Iloilo. Contact them at (033) 509 3232.
If you conduct a poll on the best batchoy in the city, Netong’s would be among those at the top. While they have a popular branch in the heart of Iloilo’s new CBD, locals still troop to the original batchoyan (batchoy eatery) in the La Paz market. Topped with scallions and generous handfuls of fried garlic and chicharon, Netong’s La Paz batchoy goes down easy with bites of puto (steamed rice cake).
Netong’s is located at Public Market, Rizal St, La Paz, Iloilo City, Iloilo. Contact them at (033) 396 2189.
3. Ted’s Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy
Another batchoy institution, Ted’s has grown so popular that it has branched out to different parts of the country. Born in 1945, Ted’s has since served different versions of the famous batchoy. Instead of just miki, the dish is now available with different kinds of noodles such as miswa (salted wheat noodles) and sotanghon (cellophane noodles). And just in case you prefer beef, Ted’s also has 100% beef batchoy on their menu, which is just as delicious as the original pork concoction.
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Ted’s Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy is located at | Rizal Street, Lapaz, Iloilo City, Iloilo Province.
4. Popoy’s Original La Paz Batchoy
Many Ilonggos swear by Popoy’s, which can be found inside the Iloilo Central Market. Surrounded by bright turquoise-green pillars, the hot bowls of batchoy are served on long red tables with matching stools and benches, encouraging communal eating. People from all walks of life sit elbow to elbow, with a whirring fan to keep them cool as they gulp down comforting spoonfuls of hot batchoy. Reasonably priced, Popoy’s batchoy is homemade, and lauded as one of the best in the city.
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Popoy’s Original La Paz Batchoy is located at Rizal St, Lapaz Public Market, Iloilo City. Contact them at (033) 320-1079.
5. Oishi Batchoi
How about batchoy with a Japanese twist? Concocted by Chef Benjie Garcia, aka Chef Benjie-San, it’s La Paz batchoy meets ramen. Thanks to more than 20 years as an Executive Chef in Japan, Garcia successfully infuses the flavors of the country into the Ilonggo dish. His version includes miso, egg noodles, and Chasyu pork, making for an interesting fusion. If you’re torn between ramen and batchoy, you know where to go!
Oishi Batchoi is located at Ground Floor, SM City Expansion, Benigno Aquino Jr. Ave., Brgy. Bolilao, Mandurriao, Iloilo City.
6. Inggo’s La Paz Batchoy
Claiming to precede Deco’s by several years, Inggo’s batchoy has been in existence since 1920. It has its own set of loyal clientele, with customers seeking out their branches in La Paz. A typical bowl of batchoy contains ribbons of egg interspersing with slivers of pork, with the tasty miki also vying for attention. The broth is light and refreshing, curiously cleansing the palate in preparation for another mouthful. With its light and filling components, Inggo’s batchoy is a meal in itself.
7. Lars Buko Batchoy
Anyone up for coconutchoy? That’s coconut + batchoy, by the way. Voted online as the 2016 Choose Philippines’ Best Fusion Dish, the Buko Batchoy is an innovation by Primrose Uy, co-owner of Lars Buko Batchoy. Original La Paz batchoy ingredients like pork meat and noodles are placed inside a freshly coconut. But it doesn’t stop there: coconut strips are added, and the broth is made of stock from bones as well as coconut juice—a heavenly combination of savory and sweet. Located in Mandurriao, the eatery continues to draw a steady stream of customers eager to taste their fusion dishes.
8. Bayani Café and Resto
Can’t wait to taste batchoy? Don’t worry, you can order a hot bowl of it soon after touchdown! A staple in the Iloilo International Airport, Bayani Café and Resto caters to arrivals hankering for a quick fix of the flavors of Iloilo. Famous for their batchoy, the restaurant’s signature concoction evokes warm feelings of home, appeasing the appetites of returning locals.
Bayani Café and Resto is located at Iloilo International Airport.
While these batchoy restaurants are a testament to the Ilonggos’ love for food, you need to spend a few more days in Iloilo to really get to know the city and its people. Make Go Hotels Iloilo your home base. Just six minutes away by car from the La Paz Market, it’s a great place to start your food adventure from.
Go Hotels Iloilo is located at Robinsons Place Iloilo Complex. Cor. Ledesma St., and Mabini St., and is conveniently situated beside the Robinsons Place Iloilo Mall.