I’ve heard Susie’s dropped from conversations with my hosts countless times and that piqued my interest: kakanin (native delicacies), pansit luglug, tibok-tibok… ah, tibok-tibok. Most might say that it is Pampanga’s version of the maja blanca, that soft, gelatinous and white dessert that I’ve enjoyed from time to time even in my home province of Cebu. But Pampanga’s just goes better, especially when sourced out from Susie’s Cuisine.
After the visita iglesia around Pampanga’s grand and beautiful Spanish colonial era churches, and eating at Luring’s where I tasted heavenly balo-balo, Archie, my host that Black Saturday brought me to Susie’s Cuisine (1972) at Nepo Mart in Angeles City as a perfect cap for the day.
It’s a no brainer. The popularity of a restaurant is gauged by the number of people who goes there. And, oh boy, it was crowded when we arrived. Almost all tables were taken with lovers and families and friends eating. At the counter, a long queue for both diners and walk in buyers for pasalubong. But we just have to eat here. It’s the only option.
Seated at a corner table, I gazed at the walls. Several framed newspaper and magazine articles from most of the country’s major print publications and almost all of them have been one in singing praises for the restaurant’s tibok-tibok.And that got me curious. What’s the fuss all about? Our orders arrived: halo-halo, pansit luglug and, the star, tibok-tibok. Just three simple dishes that sometimes, the weight of one’s expectations might make or break it but I’m relying on what has been said and written and tasted and scrutinized before me.
Tibok-tibok is carabao’s milk pudding and in the case with Susie’s, its made from 100% carabao’s milk instead of just coconut milk. Pure. Unadulterated. It is immaculate white and topped with oily latik which is made from coconut meat. To add zing, dayap, a local citrus, is added.
A slice of it can already give a hint of what to expect as far as texture is concerned, smooth and delicate. But really, the taste of the pudding is in the eating and once its in your mouth, wow, its so creamy that it seems to melt inside. It has just the right amount of sweetness, not too sugary, and not too bland. This compelled me to just take a bit, after bit after bit until my share is gone. The latik does provide a beautiful counterpoint. Tibok-tibok is such a pleaser. Priced at P22 per slice, its a bit expensive compared to the others but then, it has fame and accolades under its belt.
The pansit luglug is also another dish that can be ordered at Susie’s. Its garnished with half an egg, scallions and crushed chicharon, crispy pork rind, and laden with that familiar yellow-orange sauce over thin white rice noodles. It’s sating enough.
The halo-halo? It’s a simple concoction, far from the elaborately ingredient laden cold dessert, from the usual. It can be compared with Razon’s, a more famous version, but only in terms of the dearth of ingredients.
The shaved ice is granulated, not smooth and just had bits of cooked saba bananas, beans, ube (purple yam) and a slice of leche flan, custard. It is then drizzled with lots of milk. But what I do like about Susie’s halo-halo is just the very smooth, custard. It is perfectly cooked, with no bubbles and just melts in your mouth. It’s like tibok-tibok but sweeter.
Susie’s Cuisine in Nepo Mart is one of the popular restaurants in Angeles City, Pampanga. Real comfort food that just makes you happy and a visit will keep you asking for more.
Nepo Mart, Angeles City / Dolores City of San Fernando Pampanga
TELEPHONE: (045) 322 4775
My gratitude to Mayor Ed Pamintuan and First Lady Herminia de Guzman-Pamintuan of Angeles City, Archie Reyes, Angeles City Information Officer as well as foodies and food bloggers Christine Nunag and Wyatt Belmonte for inviting, accommodating and touring me around their city and the province of Pampanga.