malls in the Philippines

Long time coming: Palenque offers Philippine regional cuisine from north to south

Isagani de Castro Jr.

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Long time coming: Palenque offers Philippine regional cuisine from north to south

DIVERSITY. Palenque, a food hall in Gateway Mall 2 in Araneta City, offers Philippine regional cuisine, from north to south, such as Ilocano food and authentic south of Mindanao cuisine.

Araneta City Facebook

Palenque, a unique food hall concept of renowned Filipino chef Claude Tayag, opens in Gateway Mall 2, with Philippine regional cuisines from north to south

MANILA, Philippines – Tucked in a corner of Gateway 2 Mall in Araneta City is Palenque, a food hall of currently three Filipino restaurants (two more are being finished) that pays tribute to Philippine regional cuisine. 

There’s B.E.L. Iloco serving Ilocano food, Palm Grill that offers Mindanao dishes, and Tindeli, a Filipino deli and café representing Cebu. Two more will be opened: Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung which will represent traditional Kapampangan dishes; and Chicken Fandian, a restaurant that serves Binondo-style cuisine. 

Although many weekend markets have had stalls offering various Filipino food, this may be the first time that a mall has housed together in one food hall a diverse offering of Philippine cuisine, from north to south. 

Palenque is a food concept of one of the Philippines’ renowned chefs and food writers, Claude Tayag.

Restaurateur Al Puruganan’s B.E.L. (Bagnet, Empanada, Longganisa) Iloco has five variations of bagnet: Bagnet Sinigang, Bagnet Kare-Kare, Bagnet Binagoongan, Bagnet Dinakdakan, Bagnet Bacon, and Tokwa’t Bagnet.

ILOCANO. B.E.L. Iloco offers a variety of Ilocano food in Palenque, a food hall in Gateway 2 Mall in Araneta City, Cubao, Quezon City. Isagani de Castro, Jr./Rappler

For options with vegetables, it offers Pakbet with Bagnet, Dinengdeng with Fried Tilapia, and poqui-poqui.

Other Ilocano specials in B.E.L. are okoy, dinardaraan, papaitan, pancit miki, insarabasab, and igado. And, no Ilocano restaurant would be complete if it didn’t have Vigan Longganisa, which B.E.L. Iloco serves as Vigan Garlic and Sweet Hamonado. 

NORTHERN CUISINE. B.E.L. Iloco in Palenque, a food hall in Gateway 2 Mall, Araneta City, Cubao, Quezon City offers Ilocano food such as variations of bagnet, empanada, and Vigan longganisa. Isagani de Castro, Jr./Rappler

Palm Grill, on the other hand, offers authentic cuisine from the southern Philippine provinces of Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. It started in 2017 with a restaurant in Tomas Morato Avenue in Quezon City, and its outlet in Gateway 2 is its first in a mall. 

It offers the following dishes representing the southern part of the Philippines’ southern island of Mindanao: 

  • Soup: Tiyula Itum, Satti
  • Chicken: Specialty Pianggang Manok, Belachan Manok
  • Beef: Beef Kurma, Beef Piassak
  • Seafood: Sizzling Sambal Squid, Locon ala Zamboanga, Deep Fried Pampano in Sambal
  • Rice: Bubuk, Turmeric (Kyuning), and plain rice
  • Vegetables: Mixed Vegetables, Ensaladang Talong, Kaliya Puso
  • Dessert: Knicker Fruit Halo-halo, Cocoroons, Vanilla Ice Cream with Hinti, Lokot-lokot with Chocolate Dip.  

Beside Palm Grill is a stall offering Sulu Coffee, which the store offers in white tin cups. Anyone who has been to remote areas in the Philippines has likely experienced drinking coffee in these cups, which adds to the authentic experience.

MINDANAO. A stall beside Palm Grill restaurant in Gateway Mall 2 offers Sulu Coffee in white tin cups, adding to its authenticity. Isagani de Castro, Jr./Rappler

Sulu Coffee offers Black Coffee (Kahawa Itum), Mestizo (Kahawa Itum with cream), Sweet Mestizo (Kahawa Malimu with cream). 

Tindeli offers Filipino dishes such as Chicken Galantina, Christmas Jamon, and Choriquezo served in pandesal.

VISAYAS. Tindeli, a Filipino deli and café, represents central Philippines in Palenque, a food hall in Gateway 2 Mall in Araneta City, Cubao, Quezon City. Isagani de Castro, Jr./Rappler

People can also buy all sorts of Pinoy deli such as peanut brittle, lengua de gato, cornik, watermelon seeds, sweet tamarind, banana chips, dilis, and chicharon, at Tindeli.

PINOY DELI. Tindeli restaurant in Palenque, a food hall in Gateway 2 Mall, Araneta City, Cubao, offers various local deli products. Isagani de Castro Jr./Rappler

The Araneta Group signed a contract with some of the Philippines’ leading chefs and restaurateurs, including Chef Nico Bailon of Bale Datung, Miguel Moreno of Palm Grill, Albert Uy of Chicken Fandian, Chef Myke “Tatung” Sarthou of Tindeli, last October for Palenque.

“Palenque is Araneta City’s contribution to the celebration of Filipino gastronomy in all its forms. Filipino cuisine has been on an upward trajectory on the global culinary scene. More people around the world are falling in love with the diverse, dynamic, and colorful culinary traditions of the Philippines,” Lorna Fabian, vice president for leasing of Araneta City, said last October 4. 

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“This will be a one-stop destination for anyone who wants not only to taste, but also to shop and learn the best of what our country has to offer,” Fabian added.

Palenque, a Mexican-Spanish term for “arena,” also showcases Philippine products and pasalubong (souvenirs) such as guitars, various Bacolod deli, locally grown vegetables, dried seafood, native products such as bags and wooden stools, wooden kitchen utensils. 

Palenque, a food court that’s been a long time coming in the history of Philippine malls, is located at Upper Ground B of Gateway Mall 2.

The Araneta Group spent P5 billion for Gateway Mall 2, which opened in July 2023. Many of the stores, especially in the upper floors, have yet to open. Gateway Mall 2 will have over 400 brands in food, fashion, technology, gaming, entertainment, leisure, health, and wellness.  

Long time coming: Palenque offers Philippine regional cuisine from north to south

The Araneta Group reopened the Philippines’ first all-year round indoor amusement park in its original site at the back of Araneta Coliseum on December 9, Saturday. Shopwise Cubao, now called Shopwise International Grocery Shopping, which used to occupy that space, has moved to the basement of Gateway Mall 2. – Rappler.com 

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Isagani de Castro Jr.

Before he joined Rappler as senior desk editor, Isagani de Castro Jr. was longest-serving editor in chief of ABS-CBN News online. He had reported for the investigative magazine Newsbreak, Asahi Shimbun Manila, and Business Day. He has written chapters for books on politics, international relations, and civil society.