Believe me, this place has one kick-ass pancit!
Buddy’s in the Shopwise Arcade of the famous Araneta Center recently opened. Araneta center is getting a massive makeover after years of neglect, which began with the opening of the Gateway Mall back in 2004 and easier accessibility provided by the LRT Line 2. One thing to watch out for will be a new lifestyle/leisure place built from the derelict (but once legendary) New Frontier Theater.
I personally love Buddy’s Pancit Lucban but never tried any of their other fares before. So when this newest branch opened I just had to go there.
They have a massive menu! You order fast food style and will initially look up at the menu boards above the cashier. However, there are more items listed in two other boards on the other side of that column in the middle. These boards show the cheaper menu items and since there are no POS machines here, most patrons won’t even see them when deciding what to eat. Pretty sneaky if you ask me.
A print-out is available of the entire menu but these are folded white papers, not prominently displayed, and the cashiers don’t even offer them to you.
The interior design tries to resemble a pahiyas festival of Lucban, Quezon which is the origin of the restaurant chain. Most people who are fans of the minimalist design prevalent nowadays probably won’t like it but people who love color will have a ball.
It’s swimming in sauce, that’s not hard to miss. The sauce is overly sweet for something that’s not a dessert. A shame since the ubod and other veg filling is really good, but the sauce just overpowers them.
Trivia: According to Buddy Veluz, the origins of his restaurant chain was when he sold lumpiang sariwa in Lucban. At that time he just needed to salvage his crop of green beans that were pestered by black spots and were rendered unsalable on their own. I just hope they’ve outgrown that business practice by now.
Longsilog Lucban (all day breakfast)
A famous type of longganisa (Filipino sausage), the Lucban version is a harmony of sour, garlicky, and meaty flavors. Plus that egg yolk was cooked beautifully.
Sizzling Half Sisig
I love their sisig. It has a smoky flavor and just the right seasoning that is all binded together by the unseasoned egg. Just be aware of the richness of this dish not to mention its oiliness. The milder taste of the chives is also a welcome alternative to the sharper red onions that are the usual garnish for sisig.
There is no spice on this one, however, so you would have to add hot sauce if you like heat. I’m not sure if they give you a spicier option upon ordering.
Pancit Lucban (Pancit Habhab)
I said it before and I’ll say it again, this is one kick-ass pancit! It was even named as one of the Top 10 Pancit in Metro Manila by Spot.ph. Just take a look at it. Buddy’s does not scrimp with the ingredients, the saying “Pancit pa lang ulam na” hold true for this one.
However, the flavors of this awesome dish is further improved simply by adding locally fermented vinegar (not the nasty commercial stuff). The server suggested that the darker colored one works best for the Pancit Lucban and I absolutely agree.
Bulalo, Lumpiang Shanghai, Spaghetti (with mushroom and bacon), Pancit Palabok, Puto Seko
Bulalo: The Bulalo was a disappointment. The broth is not thick like Bulalo broth, this is more like Nilagang Baka and a pretty ordinary one at that. No beef shank with utak either.
Lumpiang Shanghai: Nine pieces or three cut into thrice each, depends on your view of life. Nothing special here as well.
Spaghetti with Mushroom and Bacon: Just don’t, you’ll probably regret ordering this. The bacon, which could have been the one saving grace, was just an afterthought.
Pancit Palabok: This is actually good, better than Jollibee’s (and I love Jolly Palabok).
Puto Seko: Consigned goods, awesome. Nothing special about these, just straight up puto seko.
Ruminations… Over a glass of Sago’t Gulaman
Buddy’s should trim down their menu for their metro manila branches. Just concentrate and possibly elevate traditional Filipino fares. They offer a Buddy’s Pancit Lucban with Seafood and Pesto Sauce, this is not what I was thinking of. Didn’t try it and I wouldn’t recommend it (same goes for the Buddy’s Burger and Buddy’s Pizza).
Overall, the experience was good and the Pancit Lucban tasted as fabulous as ever. Another good dish to try would be the Hardinera which had sadly already run out when I went there. The Hardinera is similar to embotido but is more close to the Everlasting dish that’s popular in Marikina.
What did you think about your visit to Buddy’s?