One calls comfort food as such because this is a kind of food that satisfies you immediately without making any effort. Batchoy is one of my favorite comfort foods, I may not be an Ilonggo but I don’t need to be one to enjoy my Batchoy. If you may ask what batchoy is, it is derived from the Chinese cooking influences – soup made of chicken stock with miki noodles (yellow noodles), pork cracklings, pork meat and innards and vegetables. The original batchoy was traced in La Paz, Iloilo. There are many variations of Batchoy now, Bihon, Sotanghon and even Misua are now being substituted for the original Miki noodles. Even the toppings, Batchoy can be served with chicken or beef instead of pork.
There are 2 kings of Batchoy in Iloilo, Ted’s and Deco’s, both of them saying that they are the first and original La Paz Batchoy. While we were in Iloilo last November for the Philippine Blog Awards Visayas and Iloilo Blogging Summit, we made sure that we tried both of them. There were a lot of Ted’s and Deco’s almost everywhere in Iloilo City but we preferred to go back to basics and ate our Batchoys at the La Paz Public Market.
Ted’s Batchoy @ Php 60
Ted’s and Deco’s are just 2 or 3 stalls away from each other. We went there at 8 am. We tried Ted’s first. I don’t like pork innards in my Batchoy so I ordered the Special Batchoy Miki. Karla and I just shared 1 bowl of it because we want to have more space in our tummies for Deco’s after Ted’s. Puto Manapla is a great partner for Batchoy. Ted’s Puto Manapla is not wrapped in banana leaves. I immediately fell in love with Ted’s Batchoy. Every spoonful of soup was titillating my tastebuds. The fried garlic mixed with the soup was awesome.
Puto Manapla of Ted’s @ Php15
Just to give you a background, Ted’s is owned by Teodorico “Ted” Lepura. He started cooking Batchoy in the 1930’s and mastered the recipe by working with different Chinese merchants. He opened his first Batchoy store called “Ted’s Oldimer La Paz Batchoy” in the La Paz Public Market in 1945.
Now a few stalls away is Deco’s which had earlier origins than Ted’s. Deco’s is owned by Federico Guillergan , Sr. He opened his Batchoy restaurant in 1938, a little earlier than Ted’s. Deco’s also started his restaurant in La Paz Public Market. Deco’s has a different style in their Batchoy because their soup stock is a mixture of different herbs and spices. I noticed that their Batchoy soup stock is red, my assumption is that this is because of the herbs and spices. I also liked Deco’s because it’s quite different from Ted’s which I think is the “popular taste”. It is true that Deco’s kaldo does not have “sebo” when it’s already cold. The secret to this, some say, is the way Deco’s cook their Kaldo. We ordered their Puto Manapla, which we believe is much better than Ted’s. Their Puto Manapla is wrapped in banana leaves when they served it to us.
Deco’s Special @ PHP 48
The debate on which one is the best and original Batchoy is still on. For us, we like Ted’s more than Deco’s but both of them are really good. Taste is up to the subjectivity of the one who’s eating it. When you’re in Iloilo, it is a must that you taste the both of them.
Puto Manapla @ Php 11 per order
Namit talaga ang Batchoy! Imagine, you can already enjoy unlimited Kaldo and yummy Batchoy for less than Php 100! Super cheap!