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Unfortunately, Manang JoyJoy isn’t going to be our foodie tour guide for this week or for the following weeks. So we’re going to adventure out on our own. For this week we’re stopping at a place where you can taste the old city, where we can taste all of the flavors infused in la paz batchoy. Batchoy is a noodle soup that has chicken stock, beef loins, pork organs, pork crackling topped with scallions, and garlic. Growing up, I would have homemade batchoy on rare occasions since making the broth takes hours. There are three variations of the story about where this soup orginiated. The first story is that the soup was created in the La Paz market by Federico Guillergan in 1938. The other story is that Teodorico Lepura opened his batchoy stand in the Laz Paz market in 1945. Lastly, it is said the great-grandfather of Netong of Netong’s Lapaz Batchoy, invented the soup. Either way, batchoy was created in Laz Paz. The history of the dish still plays a major role in today’s serving of batchoy.
I had the chance to go Netong’s with my parents for a late lunch. The experience is an adventure itself. You order the size of bowl you want and they fill it with noodles, pork, pork organs, scallions, garlic and a ladle of the broth. I also encourage you to order puto, steamed rice cake, to eat with and extra broth on the side. Actually, it’s recommended to order extra broth, since the way you eat this soup is broth first. Then, if you are still feeling hungry, you can fill your bowl with a second helping of the broth and then eat the pork and noodles last.
The reason why I said the history of batchoy effects today is because it’s a battle of who has the best batchoy. It’s a battle between Netong’s, Ted’s and Deco’s. It has more intensity than a Pacquiao fight. I can’t compare all three of them, but what I can say Netong’s takes the cake. It’s not too salty or watered down. Netong’s has the perfect blend of the broth, with the pork and garlic. The flavors are in complete harmony. I can truly say it has close flavors to my Lola’s version.That says a lot since I’m sure no one wants to do batchoy cook off with my Lola’s recipe. So when you get a chance, stop by this place first before anything else and weigh in on the debate.
Left somewhere in the Philippines….