The first time I heard of Valencia’s Restaurant was when I had to drive my Mom and her friends to and from there cause that’s where they had a mini reunion in late December of last year (2022), and I remember when I picked them up they all had take away food with them and raved about how there was so much food and not enough space for it in their bellies and in my head I was like, “why’d you order so much then?”, but only in my head.😅
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, the first time I was able to go to Valencia’s Restaurant because Ms Let of K-Lite invited our blogging group, Northcon, for a tasting event.
“O” couldn’t make it as he was still in San Juan with the food truck, but that deserves it’s own post for next time.
Anyway, I was actually a little bit anxious (introvert problems) to be going without “O” as it has been a while since I went to an event sort of solo, because our blog is Eats OA (and It’s OA), it’s not just Eats O (It’s O) or Eats A (It’s A), it’s called Eats OA for a reason, and also because I had to take all the photos.😅 But feeling anxious was short lived, because I forgot about it as soon as I saw our friends from Northcon.😅
Brew Cook Rice
But first a funny story: if you’ve been on the internet for as long as we have, you’d know this line – “I stay home, cook rice”. It’s was made famous by Asian content creator, Ryan Higa for one of his skits on YouTube. Ever since “L” found it and thought it was hilarious, I always answered with it whenever he’d ask what we would do for the day or the weekend, he’d be like, “what are we doing today?” and I’d be like, “stay home, cook rice” and it would crack him up.😂
So of course, that was what I was thinking when I was told that this coffee we were served was made with RICE.😅
But yes, seriously, this coffee is made with rice. I know this process well because my great grandma used to do this a lot. She doesn’t drink coffee because the caffeine messes with her heart so every morning, she’d roast a cup of uncooked rice until it was literally black and once she’s satisfied that it’s as black as her heart (I’m only kidding lola, please don’t haunt me, love you), she’d put it in a mortar and pestle and grind it and then finally, she’d put it into a coffee press, put boiling hot water on it and wait a few minutes and then put it in a cup and she drank it as is.
No sugar or milk or creamer, she took her coffee black like her soul (love you lola but you know the truth). 😂
So at first sip, all I could taste was the smokey flavor of the rice, if you’ve ever burned rice, you’ll know what I’m talking about, that’s exactly what it was but more interesting because this is more than just burnt rice, and then the longer you sip, the more the flavor deepens, then you’ll get to differentiate the bitter smokey flavor to the sweet undertones of the rice.
It’s a freaking unique experience drinking this coffee, especially if this is something new to you, it’s a good alternative to regular coffee, you trick your brain into thinking it’s having coffee and you don’t get palpitations no matter how many cups you’ve had. If you like coffee but your heart can’t take the palpitations after a few shots of espresso, look into this, I feel like it could be a life changer.
More about rice coming up, featuring a Spanish rice dish that we Filipinos have grown to love, Paella Valenciana.
Valencia’s Restaurant’s Taro Nachos
To start everything off, we were served Taro Nachos with 3 kinds of dips: House Salsa, Beef Sauce and Cheese Sauce.
Taro is a root vegetable, it’s the cousin of the sweet potato and ube, it’s called ‘Gabi’ in Tagalog. I’ve only ever had taro in Sinigang, I use it to thicken the soup but I’ve never even thought it could be prepared in different ways.
Health wise, I don’t think there’s a lot of difference because the usual Nacho chip is made with corn and perhaps there’s a difference in nutritional value but it’s not that big of a leap.
Taste wise, you can barely taste the difference, especially with the dips.
Sa-lad but the Valencia’s Restaurant way
I used to be the person to not eat the salad on a plated meal because I used to not like eating anything that remotely looks like leaves.😅
But I like Watermelon, it’s like my favorite fruit of all time. The Refreshing Watermelon Salad is, as the names suggests – refreshing. The cilantro made it smell really good while the feta cheese worked well with the watermelon and cherry tomatoes; the balsamic reduction made the lettuce not taste like leaves, which I love.
If you like your sal-ad with more of a body, then you must try the Pepper Steak Salad. This is perfect for when you want to be healthy (😉) but also want steak. It turns out you can have the best of both worlds!
This peppered steak cut into strips, laid on top of a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, grilled corn and balsamic vinaigrette is amazing. The steak was cooked medium well and the vegetables are fresh, now that’s how you make a salad!
Valencia’s Restaurant: Mami in Baguio
Every restaurant in Baguio has soup on the menu because we have the ideal and perfect weather for soup. In Valencia’s Restaurant, you must try their Mami in Baguio.
Mami is the slang term for noodle soup. Mami in Baguio has a rich chicken broth base, it’s served with fresh egg noodles, cilantro, shitake mushrooms, bok choy, carrots, boiled egg topped off with a crispy liempo, fried garlic and spring onions.
It’s a hearty soup that’s sure to warm and fill your belly and melt even the coldest of hearts.
Eight Treasures Stir Fry
I don’t know about you but in our household, we love pancit and we love stir fry. So when you put these two together, it’s only bound to be something delicious.
It’s called ‘Eight Treasures Stir Fry’ because it’s base is made up of ‘8’ ingredients. Three types of mushrooms, tofu, beans (French beans and snap peas), carrots, bok choy and fried noodles.
Family Owned, Family Style Servings
I finally understood what my mom and her friends were raving about when they said “there was so much food”, it wasn’t that they ordered a lot, it was that the serving was a lot.
Valencia’s Restaurant is owned by family of rice millers from Bulacan, which makes sense why their servings are big, it’s fit for a family.
Because they are a family of rice millers, one of their best sellers is of course a rice dish that was introduced to us by the Spanish and is known worldwide as Paella Valenciana, which I suggested they change to Paella Valencia, because hello? In hindsight, perhaps they considered it but they weren’t smug enough to push through with it on the off chance some people may take it negatively, sayang, because that could’ve been marketing gold.😁
And because I am deathly allergic to shrimp (and other delicious seafood like crab, also my allergies are more aggressive now than a couple of years ago😥), I didn’t get to try it but I’m taking my friends’ words for it when they all agreed it was amazing. It actually smelled pretty good and you know my cooking philosophy is – “if it smells right, it should taste right”, so I don’t doubt it tasted good, because it smelled absolutely amazing.
The best part of this, witnessing it firsthand, was the crispy rice at the bottom of the pan, which they all had a turn scraping, not going to lie, I suffered from serious FOMO with this one, it looked so good.
Is it even a Filipino Restaurant without the ‘Viand’?
A Filipino meal has two basic components – rice and viand. If you’re well off, there’s more than one viand. A balanced meal is considered ‘balanced’ if one viand is made from fish or meat and the other viand is made from veggies.
So, the answer to the question of whether or not it’s even a Filipino restaurant without the ‘viand’ is a definite ‘No’.
In our family, ‘O’ is the rice type of person (makanin) and I’m more of a ‘viand’ type of person (maulam). I can eat some viands without rice but ‘O’ will not.😅 As for the kids, they’ll say it depends on what the viand is.
Bangus ala Pobre
In Tagalog, we call it ‘Bangus’, in English it’s known as ‘Milk Fish’. Bangus ala Pobre roughly translates to ‘Poor man’s Milk Fish’, it’s of Spanish origin and is called that because the milk fish is dressed in herbs and spices that are already available in the kitchen.
Kambing is goat in English. The Kambing Express is their take on the Filipino dish, Bicol Express, but they use goat meat in place of the pork.
I don’t usually eat goat meat, but in cases like this, I just had to try it. The dish was fragrant and look at that, it’s just so pretty, how can you not taste it?
The goat meat was super tender and so flavorful, it’s a little bit spicy but it’s not burn-your-tongue-off spicy, this is a viand that is best eaten with plain rice. A definite must try, especially on cold days as goat meat has been known to warm your body.
If you’ve got kids, like I do, then chicken wings are a staple in your household or even when dining out. If there’s one food item my kids could probably eat forever and not get sick off, chicken wings are probably one of them.
Buffalo wings are supposed to be spicy, at least it was when it was first made as a bar food in a bar in Buffalo, New York, thus its name. But because we are Filipinos and we like our food a little sweet, we tweak the recipe a little bit to suit the Filipino palate.
In Valencia’s Restaurant, there are 3 flavors of Buffalo Wings to choose from, Buffalo, Salted Egg and Garlic Parmesan.
The Buffalo Wings come in half a kilo portions and they come with a side of Taro Chips. The Buffalo flavored ones had a nice spicy kick but it’s not burn-your-tongue-off spicy; it’s perfect for kids and
wimps people who have a low tolerance for spicy food like me.
A Valencia’s Restaurant Special Drink
It’s not enough that Valencia’s Restaurant serves unique coffee made from Rice, their house blend iced tea must also be unique.
This beautiful tall glass of iced tea changes color right before your eyes. Thanks to science!👩🏻🔬🧪
The iced tea is served with a side of lemon juice to make the iced tea refreshing and a side of butterfly pea syrup to add some sweetness and balance the tanginess of the lemon juice. Mix it all together and you get a beautiful, violet drink that is not just pretty but is also refreshing.
It comes in a tall glass too, so you know it’s enough to last all throughout your meal.
Pizza and Pasta ala Valencia’s Restaurant
Valencia’s Restaurant has options for everybody. If you don’t feel like eating soup, rice or viands, they also serve pizza and pasta.
The Creamy Salmon Tuscana features salmon and Spanish chorizo cooked in a white sauce served with buttered brioche.
I like my pizza with a thick crust but if you’re one of those people who prefer a thin crust, then you’re going to love their house pizza, Valencia’s Signature Pizza.
It may not be on their regular menu, but if you chance upon them early in the morning, as they open at 7AM, you might catch these breakfast options on their menu.
Valencia’s Restaurant Bakery
Valencia’s Restaurant also has an in house bakery where they make cakes, pastries and bread.
Photo from Kaye
Photo from Rae
Photo from Rae
Photo by Rae
I’m very particular with chocolate cakes, if it’s not decadent, fudgy and moist, I don’t want it. Valencia’s Restaurant did an awesome job with their moist chocolate cake, it’s something I can see myself eating on days when things aren’t going my way and the only sure fire way to fix it is with a chocolate cake.
This is the cake you want after a heart break, losing a job, getting bad health news or on days when everything is wrong. Trust me. Or not, but just try it.
I don’t really like red velvet cake because it’s just a vanilla cake but with red food color.😅 Sure, the cream cheese frosting is good but it’s still red and I like red on my nails, but not so much in my food.😅
I love me a chewy, fudgy brownie but don’t like it with any flavor of ice cream though. I’ve never been a fan of ‘ala mode’ unless it’s on an apple pie, but I must admit, the Sizzling Brownie concept is original and fun. What isn’t fun is the burnt after taste though. Overly burnt sugar just isn’t very yummy, but some people like it and that’s just fine.
The Parsley Cheese Bread was interesting. It was buttery soft and savory, I don’t know why I thought it would be sweet.😅 It’s good though, but a sweet version of this would be nice too.
#30 Outlook Drive
Baguio City, Philippines
Valencia’s Restaurant on Facebook