Tina's Refreshment Parlor and Restaurant

The best breaded porkchop I’ve tasted is in…

The best breaded porkchop I've ever tasted!

The best breaded porkchop I’ve ever tasted!

Try the rice with sweet and sour meatballs and rice with breaded pork chop

Elric, my guide from the Vice Governor’s Office of Abra told me as we entered a rundown and seemingly decrepit restaurant in Bangued. The place, a Chinese Chamber of Commerce that has seen better days looked creepy. But, Tina’s Refreshment Parlor and Restaurant was highly recommended by Elric and when a local says so, one really has to believe.

And so, at the small table before entering the dining area, we ordered both from a laminated menu. The place is old. But it exudes character. It begs to be asked, what was this like before? The wooden beams above were exposed. The walls were made of wood and transom ventilation were beautiful callado woodwork. The decor looked cheap though with colored posters you see sold in sidewalks. After a few minutes, our orders were served.

I had the meatballs. Teeny weeny meatballs a quarter deep in its red sweet and sour sauce. Slices of onions, tomatoes and carrots cut into thin florettes provided color and variety to the otherwise monochromatic dish. I took a bite and liked what I had. The meatball was flavorful. Crisp outside and soft inside. The saltiness was tempered with the sweetish/sourish sauce.

But I did got curious with the breaded porkchop that Elric had. I asked if I can sample a bite. I did and I was just bowled over. Darn. This one is so tasty! I should have ordered this one! After we’ve downed our drinks and consumed our food, I said to myself that I have to come back again and order that porkchop!

The following day, before I rode the bus for Manila, I made it a point to visit the restaurant again, to have late lunch. With luggage in tow, I entered, ordered the breaded porkchop and, to sample other food, got shanghai lumpia and bola-bola siopao.

I took a bite into the chopped breaded porkchop. It was crispy. Crunchy outside but the pork meat’s interior was still tender. A little bit salty but flavorful. I loved the taste so much that I didn’t bother much with mixing it with the accompanying dipping sweet and sour sauce. I took a spoonful of rice and another bite into the meat. CRUNCH. CRUNCH. CRUNCH. The best ever.

Rice meal with teeny weeny meatballs but then, don't be deceived by the size. These little round morsels are great!

Rice meal with teeny weeny meatballs but then, don’t be deceived by the size. These little round morsels are great!

Lumpia shanghai is just okay

Lumpia shanghai is just okay but it does look crunchily delicious

Bola-bola siopao is tasty too!

Bola-bola siopao is tasty too but better if it was steamed longer

A savory pork broth that is peppery good

A savory pork broth that is peppery good

Inside the dining area of the old building. It has lots of character and charm!

Inside the dining area of the old building. It has lots of character and charm!

Tina’s Refreshment Parlor and Restaurant
Partelo St., Bangued, Abra
(074) 752 5846

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

2 Comments

  1. Estan Cabigas (@EstanCabigas)
    September 3, 2014 @ 23:57

    The best breaded porkchop I’ve tasted is in…: The best breaded porkchop I’ve ever tasted!
    Try the rice with sw… http://t.co/57sTan6SAz

  2. 10 places to visit in and around Bangued, Abra - langyaw
    September 24, 2014 @ 16:26

    […] fastfood and restaurants in Bangued as well as its varied pansitans. But you should check out Tina’s Refreshment Parlor and Restaurant for delicious yet affordable […]

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