You haven’t been to Iloilo if you haven’t tasted their batchoy in La Paz District where it got its name.
Batchoy is a noodle soup dish with pork innards, liver, and chicharon. The history of this Ilonggo dish dates back in the 1930s but let’s leave it at that. Let me share my batchoy experience in La Paz itself.
My early flight to Iloilo made me crave for a good breakfast. It’s on my list to eat batchoy at the place where it started, La Paz. From the Iloilo International Airport, I rode a van going to Jaro. The driver said that it’s nearer to La Paz.
The van stopped and parked in front of SM Jaro. I went out of the van with no one but Dora and my backpack. The Jaro Belfry welcomed me with the sun’s rays hiding behind it.
Clueless on what multicab to ride, I approached the traffic enforcer in blue uniform. “Ano pong sasakyan papuntang La Paz?” (What multicab should I ride when going to La Paz?), I asked.
The traffic enforcer answered me, “CPU.” He did not just answer my question but also hailed the multicab for me. Wow. What a helpful local. From that time on, I knew I would have a great time in Iloilo.
I sat at the front seat and told the driver that I would be going to the La Paz Public Market. The fare from Jaro to La Paz was Php 7.00. It only took me 10 minutes to get to La Paz.
The driver then told me to walk across the street and pointed the public market. All eyes were on me while I was walking at the market. The big backpack and Dora caught people’s attention. “Uy si Dora!”
When I reached the first store, I asked the vendor where I could find “the batchoyan”. He then told me to just walk straight ahead and I’d see the eateries offering batchoy.
TED’s OLD TIMER
I didn’t know that another Ilonggo was walking behind me. He heard my question and guided me to the eateries. “Kung batchoy, dyan sa Ted’s.” I would have wanted to avoid Ted’s because they have branches in Manila. I wanted to try something different but the helpful local was looking at me and even led me inside the eatery.
So, I first tasted the La Paz Batchoy at Ted’s Oldtimer. They have different types of batchoy. I ordered the extra super batchoy for Php 68. I wanted coffee or juice as partner but they only have softdrinks. No choice. I ordered 7-up for Php 17.00.
When the bowl of batchoy was placed on my table, it was smoking hot. I prayed and sipped. The soup was thick and rich. It really felt good in the stomach.
Observations: Prepared well with chopped liver on top & ground chicharon. Few noodles. few ingredients
DECO’s Original La Paz Batchoy
When my Ilongga friend Hera learned that I ate at Ted’s, she said, “Mare, you should try Deco’s. Dapat with egg yung batchoy. Masarap dun!” (You should try Deco’s batchoy with egg. It’s delicious.). J, who has visited Iloilo before, also recommended Deco’s but I didn’t listen to him. hehe. But since my friend Hera is a local, I gave Deco’s a try. Fast forward to my third day in Iloilo.
I was early at the venue for the Kasadyahan Festival. Good thing, I was assigned near the La Paz Public Market. I already saw Deco’s on the day that I arrived in Iloilo. It was just a few steps away from Ted’s.
There were locals eating at Deco’s too unlike in Ted’s where I was the only customer. I ordered the batchoy with egg (extra- Php 65.00) and a bottle of water (Php 13.00) all for Php 78.00
Observations: Eating with egg was indeed better and made the batchoy tastier. There were pork strips aside from the liver. The chicharon was crunchy. Deco’s batchoys are cheaper than Ted’s too.
Which of the two won my stomach? For this battle, Deco’s won.
***Special thanks to Hera for this recommendation! And of course to J. I know I should have listened to you too.