The best arroz caldo and fresh lumpia in Zamboanga City

Categories Food
Interesting pair of fresh lumpia and a small serving of arroz caldo which is a good alternative if you want to try the two best sellers without getting too full.
Interesting pair of fresh lumpia and a small serving of arroz caldo which is a good alternative if you want to try the two best sellers without getting too full.

The piping hot serving of a small bowl of arroz caldo arrived on my table followed by the mouth watering fresh lumpia invitingly lying on a boat like dish. I was hungry and seeing these two infront made me salivate. Ah, Busy Bee.

It was highly recommended by a friend, Busy Bee, I was told, for these two dishes. The location isn’t really tops, in fact, it is a carinderia, a local food place, more of a shack along the road. The interior is cramped but not stuffy. Once you get to sit and have these two, you would swear to come back again. And again.

The arroz caldo has that gingery taste that I love. The chicken is tender and the broth is well flavored. I need not put additional condiments or salt but a dash of pepper will do wonders. It comes in two sizes, a full bowl or a smaller one if you want to pair it with the fresh lumpia.

The fresh lumpia on the other hand is freshly made. The ubod (coconut pith) is crunchy and fresh, like the other ingredients. The wrapper is thin, crepe-like. The sauce is also good and when served, the lumpia has scallions and chopped garlic. If I’m too hungry, I would get this one with a full bowl of arroz caldo!

Busy Bee was started by the matriarch, Edna Montano and one of her children opened Kape Zambo, a modern cafe/restaurant that also serves these two dishes, other popular fastfood fare and more. I do find the menu of Kape Zambo quite extensive but trying too hard to serve everything.

But then, just these two, the arroz caldo and the fresh lumpia? It is enough to make me happy and sated. And its one of the reasons why I love Zamboanga City.

Arroz caldo with chicken, egg and scallions. It's one of the best that you'll gonna taste
A full serving of arroz caldo with chicken, egg and scallions. It’s one of the best that you’ll gonna taste
The fresh lumpia or lumpiang sariwa with its delicate wrap swimming in sauce
The fresh lumpia or lumpiang sariwa with its delicate wrap swimming in sauce
Native desserts at the Busy Bee branch: suman or native rice cake and puto cheese
Native desserts at the Busy Bee branch: suman or native rice cake and puto cheese
The humble restaurant by the main road
The humble restaurant by the main road
The small and cramped interior
The small and cramped interior
Interior of Kape Zambo
Interior of Kape Zambo
Cake dessert at Kape Zambo
Cake dessert at Kape Zambo

Busy Bee
Gov. Camins Ave. (beside Zamboanga International Airport)
Zamboanga City

Kape Zambo
Canelar St. (infront of Metrobank Canelar)
Zamboanga City
+63 62 992 4052
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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.

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