Surk Break 2019, anyone? Who’s heading up for a road trip this long weekend? I have come up with a list of the best places to eat in town… Here’s your Ultimate Food Crawl Guide in San Juan, the surfing capital of the North! Ready?
San Juan’s hot summer days call for refreshing smoothies, fresh juices and homemade popsicles! Not sure where to go? Seabuds is the perfect hang-out spot. They got you covered from your morning iced coffee to your sunset sesh Margarita! I ordered myself the Paradise Bowl: half papaya topped with banana, kiwi fruit, cacao nibs, homemade granola, peanut butter & chia seeds! I legit felt so energized and refuelled after the feed! Located at San Juan Surf Resort’s view deck, this café also made it to my list of the most Insta-worthy places in Elyu’s Surf Town!
2. Coco Mama
Esquire PH once called it “the best island dessert” in Boracay! So being the foodie traveller that I am, it was definitely a must try! And Yes Yes Yes, this vegan-friendly, lactose and dairy free snack was a winner! And so when I found out that they opened their doors in my hometown, I knew I was in for a treat! Seriously, how can you say no to coconut ice cream topped with sticky rice, diced mangoes & “pinipig”served in a coconut shell? Totally irresistible!
Ready to get your hands dirty? Imagine all your favourite seafood in one delightful bowl poured in unlimited rice! Keep calm and dig in fresh and flavourful crabs, shrimps, squids, clams, mussels & sweet corn in their secret savoury sauce! Mouth-watering isn’t it? Come over and surely a deliciously messy good time with your family & friends is guaranteed! An ultimate Seafood feast indeed!
Treat yourself after catching waves at Amare la Cucina! Their oven is always hot and ready to serve you with woodfired pizzas! Bring over your friends and bond over pizza-making where you can hand toss your freshly made dough! Foie gras pizza, anyone? You can also try their signature pastas served in generous amounts! The Sardines pasta will not disappoint! It honestly has transported me back to Italy!
5. Ol Pub
Coming to this restaurant is nostalgic: it will bring you some memories from your grand ma or grand pa! Its’ vintage décor emanates a rustic atmosphere that makes it the best place to unwind with a beer on one hand and an appetizer on the other! WhenInManila even called it the Beer and Food haven in La union! I dream of their tuna kilawin, bulgogi, grilled liempo and sisig even while here in Sydney! Hahaha! No BS! But one can’t leave the pub without their KFC fix! Kikiam, Fishball and Chicken Balls! The best of Pinoy street foods!
Helping a drunk friend? Bring him/her to Tagpuan! Nothing is as comforting as a steaming bowl of rice porridge topped with egg, tofu and crisp pork slices as a recovery food after an alcohol-filled night! Their dishes are simple and plain, but one bowl can easily satisfy an empty stomach and make you feel home. I know you may not expect much going to a comfort food place but I am telling you now…this hole-in-the-wall “gotohan, mamihan and paresan” will instantly become your favourite food stop in town!
Doesn’t matter whether which day of the week, Beach Bum food park has everything for everyone! Filipino, Mexican, American, Japanese & Korean food stalls all under one roof! Don’t know where to start? Make no mistake and have a steak! Order T-bone, French chop, ribeye and porterhouse steak to share with your friends from Rustic Box Steak House! Nab a spot in the beer garden and listen to live acoustic singers while enjoying your meal! Bon Appetit!
8. Chu’s Diner
I am declaring this izakaya the best place to eat authentic Japanese food in the entire province of La Union!!! You can’t leave Elyu without eating at this charming little restaurant! Coming here brought back memories of my travels to Japan & Hawaii! Their salmon poke bowl, katsu curry, tuna pastrami, sobas and sashimis are all carefully made and curated by Japanese surf legend Chu Takahashi! Thanks Chef for bringing a taste of Japan in San Juan! Locals don’t have to travel to Baguio or Manila anymore! Arigatōgozaimasu!
9. Makai Bowls
Pop by for a popsicle at Makai bowls located at the Great North West PH Travel stop & viewing deck! This mango beet chia popsicle is made only with real fruits and superfoods perfect as a treat or a post surf snack! Eating clean and healthy doesn’t always have to be boring, isn’t it?
Sorry to say but if you haven’t been to Unpanada’s yet, you are missing out! I am absolutely crazy for their empanadas! This is a delicacy every Ilokano loves and craves for! It’s best eaten while its piping hot with a drizzle of “Sukang Iloko” on the side! I highly recommend BRUSKO: Bagnet empanada with cheese, cabbage and potatoes! Its’ crust was so crispy, crunchy and not too oily! The filling was so tasty and flavourful… I’m salivating writing this right now! Need I say more?
11. Coast Call
Start your day with a full tummy and a perfect view at Coast call! For balikbayans like us, it’s necessary to order the holy grail, Kuya Jun’s Favorite: grilled eggplant, ensalada, itlog na maalat, crispy dilis, tuyo flakes and chicharron bits! Ohmygawwwwwwd, with a plate this delish, who needs toasts, pancakes and waffles for breakfast? It’s salty, savory, hearty and oh so filling! Don’t shy away… just order that 2nd or 3rd bowl of garlic rice already!
Boodle fight lovers, rejoice! I cannot emphasize enough how delicious the food in Seafoodobo was!!! If you are up for good quality seafood that won’t hurt your pocket, come over! Imagine crabs, shrimps and mussels marinated and cooked in Adobo sauce… so finger lickin’ good, ei?! Grab what you can and go crazy! Brought my family here and everyone loved it! Such a big hit!
13. Mad Monkeys
Burgers and beers, anyone?! When you’re around the area, try their Classic burger! Super soft bun, hot and tasty patty and just the right amount of condiments! Their famous Cheddar Beer sauce which is a mix of gooey cheese sauce and beer made every bite so delightful! Locals and travellers alike seriously can’t get enough of their burger madness, now you know where to go when you find yourself hungry in Surf Town!
14. Flotsam & Jetsam
Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel has its own restaurant and their kitchen is open to guests and non-guests alike! They have a bit of everything from curry, rendang, arrabiata pasta to malunggay pestos! This is where you can enjoy pretty homey meals in your own hammock or in colourful bean bags surrounded by swimmers, surfers and beach goers around town! Expect Bali vibes from the moment you step in this hip and cool side of San Juan! This remains to be one of the best places to party and chill in La Union!
Coffee shops are popping up like mushrooms in Surf town these days, but my loyalty stays with Coffee Library! Its’ relaxing, spacious and cozy atmosphere makes it a great place to catch up with friends & family! Not a lot of restaurants has A/C & free wifi and they do! For coffee lovers like me, order a Kapangan coffee; served in an entire coffee press with milk and sugar to taste! If black coffee is not for you, take your pick among traditional Italian blends or Vietnamese brews! If you’re not a coffee drinker, don’t fret! They got phos, spring rolls, S’mores and so much more!
Back in the days, there were hardly any decent places to eat in Urbiztondo, San Juan. Now the food scene is really booming and I couldn’t get any prouder! It’s full of amazing eats and snap-worthy spots for your Instagram… just how I like it!
Anyway, are you excited for your San Juan Food trip? Hope this article helps! Will catch you guys on my next La Union Travel guide! SWIM. SURF. EAT. REPEAT!
The Travel Belle
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