Food that evokes childhood memories

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Everybody’s Café has always been the definitive place to go for Kapampangan cuisine. Foodies and frequent travelers on their way to the northern provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac, Pangasinan, and Baguio in Benguet via MacArthur Highway made it a habit to stop by Everybody’s Café in San Fernando, Pampanga for a good meal of Kapampangan delicacies.

Even when the North Luzon Expressway took the place of MacArthur Highway as the main thoroughfare in later years, travelers still made that side trip to Everybody’s Café for lunch or dinner or anything in between. Pette Jorolan’s parents, Benito and Carmen Santos, started the restaurant after the war, around 1952, and now Pette is running it with her children.

Pette Jorolan

The home of authentic Kapampangan food served family style, Everybody’s Café is known for its paksiw na bangus, morcon, fresh papaya lumpia, camaru (mole crickets), betute (stuffed frog), and more. But, aside from these, Pette loves Sinigang na Ullang, and cooks this dish whenever there is a supply of ullang (freshwater prawns), because it is an heirloom recipe of the family that evokes beautiful childhood memories.

“My dad loved to eat, and he really went around to eat. Whenever he liked a certain dish, he would bring some home and ask our cooks to duplicate the dish. He liked Sinigang na Ullang,” says Pette, who shares this family heirloom recipe with Asian Dragon.

SINIGANG NA ULLANG

Sinigang na Ullang
  • 4-6 cups water
  • 1/2 kg kamias, whole or halved
  • 1 pc onion, sliced
  • 1 pc thumb-sized ginger segment, sliced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 5 pcs siling haba or pansigang (finger chili)
  • 1 kg ullang (freshwater prawns)
  • 3-5 pcs tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 bundle kang kong (water spinach) or mustasa (mustard leaves)
  1. Boil water with kamias, onions, and ginger in a pot.
  2. Add salt and siling haba. Taste and adjust seasoning. If sourness is perfect, add the ullang. Cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, then the kangkong and/or mustasa leaves.
  4. Serve with freshly steamed rice.

Everybody’s Café is located at MacArthur Highway, San Fernando, Pampanga.
Photographs by Rafael R. Zulueta

This article originally appeared on Asian Dragon Magazine’s March-April 2015 issue.

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