Monday, November 29, 2021
HomeFood & RecipesCraving for a taste of home? These places serve authentic family heirloom...

Craving for a taste of home? These places serve authentic family heirloom dishes!

Food has a way of bringing families together, and this does not only apply to eating. Whipping up a meal is a bonding experience between a mother (or father!) and child, as well as a fun activity among siblings and next of kin who each has a specific task in putting a beloved dish together. 

Perhaps this is why family recipes are so precious to the people behind them. There are fond memories associated with certain dishes, as well as ingredients, measurements, and cooking techniques known only to those who prepare them. 

To ensure that these family recipes are passed down to succeeding generations, some clans have made a family business out of their favorite dishes. These are served in restaurants that have become go-to destinations for families and foodies craving for a taste of home.  

My Pope lists three restaurants famous for their heirloom dishes. 

Also Read: At Nono’s, there is something for everybody!


Kapampangan cuisine is the star of this restaurant, which founder Larry J. Cruz named after his father—writer, artist, gourmet, and bon vivant Emilio “Abe” Aguilar Cruz. (Pronounced ah-beh, it also means “friend” in Pampanga.) Dig into the unique tastes and textures of traditional Pampanga fare like Arobung Kamaru (rice field crickets sautéed in tomatoes), Betute (farm frogs stuffed with minced pork, garlic, and spices), and Balo Balo (salted rice and shrimp paste served with mustasa leaves). 

Abe’s heirloom dishes are courtesy of Larry’s artist friends: writer Gilda Cordero’s Lumpiang Pica Pica is a garbanzo spring roll from her youth; food writer Mickey Fenix’s Crispy Tandyang D’Original is marinated beef ribs deep-fried to delicious crispiness; and National Artist Bencab’s lamb is cooked adobo style. 


An appropriate name for a restaurant run by Happy Ongpauco-Tiu—the third-generation member of the clan behind the chain of Barrio Fiesta restaurants. “I am proud of the legacy my family has handed down to me,” she says in Pamana’s website, “100 years of delicious and authentic Filipino food derived from passion for cooking and love for family.”  

At Pamana, people come for The Original Way, Daddy Rod’s version of crispy pata; Nilagang Bulalo (prepared by Mang Bert, the family’s chief cook for 50 years!); and the Three Way Adobo Ni Lola (chicken, spareribs, and flakes as cooked by Happy’s three favorite grandmas: Mama Chit, Lola Laling, and Lola Fely). 


As a diplomat who lived in the United States from 1945 to 1962, Carlos P. Romulo often entertained world leaders in his home. His wife Virginia prepared her signature dishes that have since been served by their granddaughter Sandie Squillantini and her husband Enzo in a well-appointed cafe that pays homage to their distinguished Lolo Carlos. 

Photographs of Lolo Carlos adorn the walls of Romulo’s, whose bestsellers include Lola Virgina’s Chicken Relleno (based on a recipe from her grandmother, it’s a half chicken stuffed with ground pork, raisins, chorizo, and peas) and Tito Greg’s Kare-Kare (oxtail and tripe stew in a peanut-based sauce, served with steamed vegetables and house bagoong). 



Text by Joy Rojas. Photos from Facebook

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