Aside from its crisp, nippy weather and jaw-dropping views of Taal Volcano and Lake that make for memorable brunches and beer nights, Tagaytay is also well-known for its flurry of local dishes. Foodies do a day trip to the city just to experience these, and for those who stay the night, the trip won’t be complete without gorging on these popular delicacies. Here are some of Tagaytay’s most famous dishes.
This beef broth dish is served across the Philippines, but history has it that the dish was first crafted in the mid-1500’s either in Tagaytay or the neighboring province of Batangas. Made with tender beef shanks and bone marrow, bulalo is ubiquitous in the city and serves as the perfect hot comfort food for Tagaytay’s balmy weather. Leslie’s, which overlooks the lake, is arguably the most popular in terms of bulalo, but Josephine’s version comes at a close second. There’s also Balay Dako, which apart from serving traditional bulalo, is famous for its Sizzling Bulalo, wherein the shanks and veggies are sizzled in a cast iron plate, then topped with creamy white sauce.
Sitting alongside bulalo as a staple Tagaytay dish is crispy tawilis, which is made from a tiny freshwater sardine, S. tawilis. The tawilis can only be found in Taal Lake in neighboring Batangas. The fish, coated in light flour batter then fried to crisp, is served in restaurants like Josephine’s.
However, the IUCN lists tawilis as an endangered species and the public is therefore urged to avoid consuming it, lest it be driven to extinction.
If you’ve been to Tagaytay, chances are, you probably would have seen the countless stands of Collette’s Buko Pie along the streets. By all means, buko pie – a pie containing soft buko chunks and sap – remains as the city’s most popular pastry and dessert, with many getting a box for pasalubong. Aside from Collette’s, you can get exceptional buko pie from Amira’s, Cecilia’s Buko Pie and Pasalubong, Rowena’s; and Orient: The Original Buko Pie Bakeshop, which is said to whip up the best buko pie this side of Cavite.
Popularized by the Pink Sisters’ Convent, these vanilla-laced cookies are crafted by the nuns using crumbs and leftovers of the holy host. It is easily one of the convent’s best-selling pastries. Proceeds of purchases go to the convent’s partner charities and young scholars.
Fresh, affordable, and grade-A: that’s how most people would describe Tagaytay’s pineapples. These crunchy babies grow abundantly in the city, thanks to its fertile volcanic soil.