Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Aling Banang's: Over eight decades of glorious carinderia food

I've known about this carinderia Aling Banang's since my hubby brought me and the kids to one of its branches in San Juan some 15 years ago. Our youngest son had not yet been born then. The hubby was kinda excited as he drove us there, moreso when he finally got to eat his childhood favorite, the halo-halo ice cream. He'd been eating at Aling Banang's since he was a schoolboy, he said, and always, he was there for the halo-halo ice cream. This cold dessert only available, perhaps, at Aling Banang's, is quite unique because while it has the usual halo-halo ingredients, it doesn't have shaved ice, only ice cream! 
Aling Banang's might as well be the oldest existing carinderia nowadays. Owned by Urbana Silva Santiago, it started out as a small stall inside the San Juan public market in the 1930s,  serving only halo-halo. As the business grew, the menu expanded to include noodle dishes like palabok and pansit bihon. Today, Aling Banang's is perhaps the most "sosy" carinderia you could find not only because it is aesthetically a notch higher than the other small eateries, but also because it has many branches already - 14 in Metro Manila, 7 of them in San Juan. It offers a lot to the hungry whether for breakfast, lunch/dinner or merienda. There's dinuguan, fried chicken, sisig, tapsilog, pansit, goto, mami and a lot more.
Last month (June), I was delighted to see a branch of Aling Banang's open very near our office in Diliman, QC. Of course, I didn't wait long before I went there to get reacquainted with Aling Banang. Together with two of my kids (my youngest I brought with me to to work that day while his ate came visiting later in the day) and my friend/officemate Pam, I was there right after office hours. These were our orders: 

Lechon kawali, P45. with fried rice, P12.

Sizzling pork sisig with rice, P65.

Barbecue, P20/stick with plain rice, P10.

Palabok, P42.

There's free soup!

Aling Banang's famous Halo-Halo Ice Cream, P45.
Sago't gulaman, P15.

Inside Aling Banang's-Visayas Ave. That's my son playing invisible piano. Hehe.

I loved my lechon kawali so much, specially the crispy pork skin. Yummy! My kids loved their orders too, the sisig and barbecue. As for Pam, she wasn't all praises for her palabok, saying it was just "okay". I hope to try this myself soon, palabok being one of my favorite pansit varieties. Anyway, the halo-halo ice cream was good but not something to rave about.  In truth, I still go for plain ice cream or the usual halo-halo. By the way, I was there at Aling Banang's for the second time today, again having lechon kawali for lunch. Hehe. I was by my lonesome though because Pam was sick and absent from work. Sigh... It doesn't mean, however, that I had a lonely meal. I was happy to have my lechon kawali again.  :-)