Tag Archives: food

SleepEatGolf Guest Author Post on AirportsMadeSimple

The Wet Markets of Thailand

I recently had the opportunity to write a guest post for the website AirportsMadeSimple.  I found Deb’s site on WordPress. Her site focused on travel related posts and articles. I really like the info she provided and contacted her when I noticed she was looking for guest authors in 2014.

After a couple of email exchanges we both agreed that  SleepEatGolf would be slotted in to her schedule for 2014. I then suggested that since I was traveling to Thailand, an article on a wet market in Thailand might make an interesting post for her readers. She agreed and I then had my first assignment for a guest post article.

I really love seeing the wet markets in countries I visit. I find the environment incredibly exciting and interesting. All my life I grew up going to Western style supermarkets, which don’t really give you any idea of where your food source comes from. Wet markets in Asian countries are the complete polar opposite of this type of experience. I guarantee you’ll have a new appreciation of where your food comes from if you visit a wet market.

Don’t just do the touristy night markets. Take an early morning visit to the wet markets and get an eye opening view of something truly unique and culturally different from what you see everyday.

Be sure to check out the complete article at Deb’s great site AirportsMadeSimple! And check out some of the other great posts on this site!

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Didi’s Pizza

Pizza Box

Filipino Style Pizza

Filipino pizza is an animal all its own. It’s definitely not suited for most Western tastes but Filipinos eat it up and Didi’s Pizza has been serving up their own version of pizza in Angeles City since 1972.


Some key differences versus between Filipino style pizza and Western style pizza are:

  • Filipino pizzas typically uses a sweet tomato sauce
  • Locally produced, processed cheese is used
  • Meat toppings are usually of a Filipino variety

While the flavors and toppings may be unusual to foreigners who are used to 100% mozzarella cheese, Italian style sauce and imported meats, the Filipino style pizza is unique and can be a nice alternative. In any case it’s still pizza and even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.


Didi’s Pizza

Jollibee is the safe Filipino food stop that will impress any Filipina if you suggest it as a meal option. But if you really want to blow her away tell her you want to treat her to Didi’s Pizza for dine-in or delivery.

Rest assured, you may not like the pizza but Didi’s has a least one menu item that you will likely enjoy and return for: BBQ pork ribs.

I’d heard about Didi’s Pizza and stopped in one day to give it a try. I ordered a small combo pizza and a snack portion of the BBQ ribs. While the pizza was ok for my tastes, the ribs were spectacular. I’ve had ribs at numerous restaurants in Angeles City. Two things have always been true:

  1. They were exepensive and overpriced
  2. They were average at best in taste

Didi’s ribs were meaty, cheap and they are covered in a delicious sauce that reminded me of homemade barbecue sauces I’ve tasted at rib houses in the U.S. I was immediately impressed and knew I’d be back again for the ribs.

BBQ Ribs

Dine-In or Delivery

Dining in at Didi’s can be extremely difficult. It’s one of the most popular restaurants for local Filipinos. I highly suggest utilizing their delivery service. One night I suggested to my girlfriend that we order Didi’s Pizza for delivery.

Home Service

She looked at me with utter shock and surprise that I would suggest this restaurant. She immediately ran to the room to get the menu before I changed my mind or told her I was only joking.

Didi’s Pizza has very fair prices and a nice sized menu offering pizzas, ribs, fried chicken, burgers, spaghetti, Filipino noodle dishes and other Filipino dishes.

Many Foods

On this occasion we ordered 1 large Combination pizza, 1 BBQ Ribs dinner and 1 order of Pancit Canton. Total price delivered was 521 pesos (approximately $11.84).

Pizza, Noodles & Ribs

While I personally prefer Western style pizza like S&R serves, Didi’s has a good tasting, thin crust that I really enjoy. I added some real 100% mozzarella cheese the next day and popped some left-overs in the toaster oven and was extremely impressed with how well it turned out for a small meal.

Didi’s Pizza is a good, cheap option that will make your Filipina happy and it’s a nice change of pace from Jollibee. Let you girl order what she likes, try a Filipino style pizza if you’re adventurous and make sure to give the BBQ ribs a try for yourself.  You won’t find better ribs for less money in Angeles City and you might find yourself ordering them again and again.

Didi’s Pizza is located in Balibago, Angeles City just off of MacArthur Highway on Mon Tang Avenue between Marlim and S. Rivera Lim Avenue near Diamond Subdivision.

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Rating: 7.4/10 (7 votes cast)

S&R Pizza

Combo Pizza

The Quest for U.S. Style Pizza in Asia

One food that is never quite right in Asian countries is pizza. In the Philippines there’s strange toppings like canned tuna, canned corn, pineapple and processed cheese instead of mozzarella. Hawaiian pizza is the pie of choice in the Philippines.

I was born and raised in the Chicagoland area and was brought up on some of the best pizza in the world. The best you can do in Asia are places like:

  • Pizza Hut
  • Shakey’s
  • Sbarro
  • Greenwich

Once in a while you can find an Italian restaurant that does a nice pizza. While these choices are ok, they are a far cry away from a Chicago deep dish pizza or even a New York style pizza. It can be extremely frustrating and disappointing if you live in this part of the world for an extended period of time when you have a pizza craving.

S&R Warehouse Shopping

S&R is a warehouse shopping experience almost exactly like Costco or Sam’s Club in the United States. There is a yearly membership fee that costs 700 pesos (approximately $16.00 per year). A branch near Angeles City finally opened in neighboring San Fernando. Before this you had to travel all the way to Manila with coolers of ice in a day long, traffic induced, 4-hour round trip nightmare.

But it was always worth the traffic and distance to bring home a pizza that looked and tasted just like the one’s you can get at Costco or Sam’s Club. Fortunately that trip now takes about 1 hour round trip with the opening of the San Fernando branch.

S&R Prepared Foods

Like Costcos and Sam’s Clubs, S&R has a food kiosk and eating area after you check out. They carry many similar items you’ll be familiar with if you’ve ever eaten at Costco or Sam’s Club.


Some items you can get are:

  • New York Style Pizzas (Pepperoni, Combo, Cheese, Garlic Shrimp & occasional specialty flavors)
  • American Style 100% Beef Hot Dogs
  • Calzones
  • Baked Rolls (Chicken & Beef)
  • Cheeseburgers
  • French Fries
  • Salads
  • Soup
  • Roasted & Fried Chicken
  • Ice Cream & Deserts
  • Coffees

More Foods

New York Style Pizza

First, this is not New York style pizza but that’s what they call. I for one am thankful it’s not New York style pizza. There’s nothing worse than that sloppy, floppy, greasy New York style pizza in my opinion. What’s great about trying to pick up an over-sized piece of pizza and watching the toppings slide off onto the floor before you even get a bite?! But maybe that’s the Chicagoan bias in me. 

The pizza at S&R is virtually identical to what you get at Costco and Sam’s Club. If I didn’t see them making them behind the counter I’d swear they were importing them in from the States. The crust is not too thick and not too thin. The sauce is your typical, familiar Italian style and the toppings taste exactly like you would expect from an American pizzeria. In fact, this is the closest American style pizza you can find in the Philippines. More importantly they are using a quality mozzarella cheese and aren’t being skimpy about it.


While I enjoy the hot dogs as my go to meal when I’m there, the pizza is the best thing on the menu and I usually order 1 or 2 to take home to freeze. They reheat amazingly well in a toaster oven and I always try to keep a steady supply in stock.

Pizza by the slice costs 99 pesos (approximately $2.23) with whole pies available for 499 pesos (cheese, approximately $11.21), 549 pesos (all other flavors, approximately $12.33) and 599 pesos (specialty/seasonal, approximately $13.46). The slices and whole pies are huge, larger than a typical American large pizza. If you’ve eaten Costco or Sam’s Club pizza you’ll understand.

Other Flavors

A membership at S&R for access to the pizza alone is worth the $16 per year plus you can shop in the warehouse store. The 30 minute drive to San Fernando is well worth the trip. I hope the success of this S&R branch reaches corporate heads and they open a branch on the Global Gateway Logistics City complex in the Clark Freeport Zone near Angeles City. I think they would do well in pizza sales alone due to the number of foreigners and ex-pats calling Angeles home who can only get mediocre, expensive pizzas here.

If you’re missing great American style pizza then S&R is the spot that will bring back memories of home!

S&R is located near SM Pampanga on Jose Abad Santos Avenue in San Fernando is open to members 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm.

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Rating: 6.0/10 (4 votes cast)

J. Co Donuts & Coffee

Donut Franchises in the Philippines

Donut franchises in the Philippines and South East Asia are big business and the latest player to enter the marketplace is Indonesian company J. Co. They are expanding rapidly across the region and competing successfully with more well-known brands in the area like:

  • Krispy Kreme
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Mister Donut

Currently J. Co is opening roughly 30 stores a year and have a presence  in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and China.


The J. Co Phenomenon

Pampanga saw the opening of their first J. Co store at SM Pampanga in San Fernando, a short 20 minute drive from Angeles City. Signs at Marquee Mall in Angeles City suggest that construction of a J. Co store is “Coming Soon,” which could mean anything from a few weeks, months, years or not at all.

Based on what I saw the first few weeks when the SM Pampanga branch opened, customers can expect 2 hour long lines at the Marquee Mall branch when it opens until the hype winds down.

San Fernando Location

I recently dropped in to the SM Pampanga branch again and was able to walk right in, order my donuts and coffee in less than 10 minutes. I even found a seat inside which was nearly impossible on the first visit. While the hype has certainly died down, the donuts remain a special treat that everyone should experience at least once.

Artisan Donuts with Clever Names

The donuts at J. Co have names like Alcapone, Tiramisu, Choconuttzy, Jcoccino and Mona Pisa. While the names may seem a little goofy, the donuts are artistic masterpieces that are just as pretty to look at as they are delicious to eat. Their flavors are unique, unexpected and delightfully different than what you get at other chains.

Artisan Donuts

Individual donuts are 42 pesos (approximately $0.94) each, 1/2 dozen 230 pesos (approximately $5.15), 1 dozen 350 pesos (approximately $7.74) and 2 dozen 550 pesos (approximately $12.30).

Store Interior

The decor of the store interior is very warm and cozy. Comfy faux leather bound seats and wood and iron legged tables are inviting resting spots to enjoy your donut creations and beverages. For some reason this chain seems more inviting and comfortable to me than any Krispy Kreme or Starbucks I’ve visited.

Warm & Cozy

Italian Coffees & Frozen Yogurt

J. Co is not just donuts. They have an extensive drink list of Italian blended coffees, cappuccinos, lattes, frappee cappuccinos, non-coffee drinks, teas and frappes. They also have some frozen yogurt selections with various toppings, but the donuts are the real draw.


Continued Expansion & Success

J. Co seems to be in a position to continue their successful run due to their unique brand and flavors of donuts. Their success in infiltrating surrounding Asian countries is somewhat of a rare feat that is usually only attained by large, Western corporations.

Donut Creations

It’s refreshing to see a quality product and success story originating in this part of the world. Perhaps J. Co will even spread to the U.S. as their success continues and branches like Krispy Kreme continue to die out in the United States. In my opinion J. Co is the best donut chain in the world right now. If you find yourself in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philipines, Singapore or Shanghai, China make sure you stop by for a delectable donut from J. Co.

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Rating: 7.3/10 (7 votes cast)

Walter’s Bistro


I eat a lot of meals at home, but I often find myself running errands and stopping by smaller restaurants and cafes for a quick snack or even a full meal. In most of these cases I’m unprepared or just not in the mood to do a full SleepEatGolf review.

Sometimes these places really don’t warrant a full-on review, but that’s not to suggest that they aren’t putting out delicious food. I’ve decided to do some smaller reviews I’m calling “Drop-Ins.” These will be my initial thoughts and impressions of places I drop-in to when I’m out and about.

If they really pique my interest or I think they’re something special, I’ll head back at a later date and do a full SleepEatGolf review.  At a minimum, I hope these Drop-In reviews provide you with some new information of places you may be overlooking.

Dropping-In on Walter’s Bistro

One day while trying yet another Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich at a place called Banh Mi Ngon, I noticed that next door was a small cafe with six or eight Europeans eating, drinking and talking in what I perceived to be German. I was immediately intrigued by this place as I love German food, but don’t eat it nearly as much as I’d like. I decided to head back there the next time I was looking to eat out in order to investigate further.

Tonight I dropped in to Walter’s Bistro. I was surprised that there was no indoor seating and at the small size of the menu. There’s a breakfast menu featuring American, German and Filipino breakfast plates and a snacks menu.

The snacks menu consisted of:

  • Hungarian Goulash Soup with bread — 145 pesos (approximately $3.25)
  • 2 Vienna Sausages with mustard and bread – 145 pesos (approximately $3.25)
  • Toast Hawaii (ham, cheese & pineapple) — 155 pesos (approximately $3.48)
  • German Bratwurst with bread — 130 pesos (approximately $2.92)
  • Käse Kreiner with bread – 130 pesos (approximately $2.92)
  • Currywurst with french fries – 185 pesos (approximately $4.16)
  • Nürnberger Bratwurst with sauerkraut and bread — 160 pesos (approximately $3.60)

On Saturdays there’s a special schweinebraten dinner available for 290 pesos (approximately $6.50) that includes salad and dumpling as well as daily specials. Alcoholic drinks and imported German beers are also available.

My order was the Nürnberger Bratwurst with sauerkraut and bread for me and Currywurst with french fries for the girlfriend with 2 bottles of soda. The waitress grilled our sausages on the gas grill right in front of us.


Both dishes were much better than we both expected. The bratwurst were small, but full flavored. The sauerkraut was delicious and was a great accompaniment to the sausages. German brown bread is always good.

The Currywurst was plump, juicy, mildly flavored and had a nice, slightly sweet and spicy curry sauce on top. The fries were crisp.

Plump Sausage

While the portions were rather small, the price was right. I wanted to try the Käse Kreiner with bread, Hungarian Goulash Soup with bread, or Vienna Sausages with mustard and bread but unfortunately all were sold out for the day.

The total bill with tip was 445 pesos (approximately $10.00). I think Walter’s Bistro is great little spot for a light German meal, quick snack or a place to enjoy a few specialty beers. I will definitely be back and hope the other sausages are just as tasty and authentic as what I tired tonight.

Walter’s Bistro is located on Perimeter Road in Angeles City between The American Hotel and ABC Hotel, next door to Banh Mi Ngon. Look for the German man holding a mug of beer statue out front.


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Rating: 4.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwich Eatery


OPEN: Monday to Saturday 12:00pm until 9:00pm, Closed Sundays
PAYMENT: Cash Only
SEATING: Indoor/Non-Smoking, Seating for Approximately 30 People
TAKE AWAY: Encouraged, All Menu Items Available for Take Out
DELIVERY: Available for Local Area, Additional 50 Pesos Outside 3km
LOCAL PHONE #: (045) 888-5805
CATERING & SPECIAL EVENTS Available, Contact Rex Soriano at Above # for Details
MENU: See Attached PDF, Prices and Menu as of Feb. 19, 2014
LOCATION: See Map Below

View Banh Mi Saigon in a larger map

The Lost Art of Sandwich Making in the Philippines

I recently returned from a quick trip to Thailand. One of the first meals I ate was at a place I’d typically avoid at all costs while on vacation. I ate at Subway. In fact I ate at Subway probably three or four times during the course of my week long visit.

You’re probably saying to yourself: “Chris, why are you talking about Subway when your whole concept for SleepEatGolf is about eating where the locals eat, street food and hole in the wall types of places?”

Why was I eating at Subway for $5 to $8 (sandwich only!) when the local foods in Thailand (particularly the street foods and small cafes) are incredibly fresh, delectable and only about $2 to $3 for an entire meal? I’ll tell you why.

It is near impossible to find a delicious sandwich here in Angeles City. Once upon a time there was a place called Subdelicious that allegedly put out a decent sandwich. That place is long gone and was replaced by Phillies which according to many people is very hit and miss. I personally haven’t been there in a few years due to a poor experience.

Don’t get the wrong idea, there’s plenty of places in Angeles to get a sandwich. Almost every hotel has a version of the highly overrated (yet very popular with Filipinos) Club sandwich. There’s also a couple of deli type stores/restaurants that will piece together a mediocre Subway-like sandwich for you. But for some reason those have never hit the spot for me and were always underwhelming. I was craving a sandwich that wasn’t boring.

The Banh Mi Sandwich Invasion

While there are always rumors of a Subway franchise opening in Angeles City none have ever come to fruition. Hopes were high with the opening of Marquee Mall and the SM Clark extension but they never materialized.

Subway’s absence and the lack of a quality sandwich available has opened up the market to one of the best sandwiches in the world: The Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich. As reported on SleepEatGolf previously there are now several Vietnamese style restaurants that have staked a claim in Angeles and each one does their own version or versions of the world famous sandwich.

BBQ Pork

Thankfully, each restaurant has their own spin on how to create this masterpiece that balances the subtle and unique flavors that comes only from Vietnamese cuisine. I can honestly report that there are finally establishments in Angeles City to experience a proper, high quality sandwich that will make you forget your wishes of seeing a Subway franchise open here.

Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwich Eatery

I found Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwich Eatery completely by accident. I was traveling to Angeles City Proper looking for a company to have business cards printed. Fortunately I made a wrong turn and found myself staring at a small cafe with a sign simply reading “Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwich Eatery.” I had just finished lunch but the place immediately struck me as a place I needed to return to very soon. Nothing made sense.

  1. I was far away from where most tourists ever visit in Angeles.
  2. I didn’t see any other foreigners nearby.
  3. There were no other restaurants in the adjacent vicinity.

These three things signaled to me that I may have stumbled upon a great find. In my experience these are usually the places serving up the best food.

Vietnamese Food

Some workers were outside painting words on a brick wall that looked eerily similar to what one would see at a modern American style cafe. I could barely see into the eatery as the shades were drawn due to the hot afternoon sun. What I could make out was an interior that looked clean, urban and modern. All of this struck me as very American in style and design. I decided that I would be back very soon to explore what quality of food this previously unknown, unheard of place was serving up.



The Return to Banh Mi

A few days later I was driving back to Angeles City Proper to pick up my business cards and planned on stopping by Banh Mi to sample their sandwich and get a better look at the place.  When I walked in the place was packed with 30 well dressed Filipinos. Time seemed to stand still and the festive environment changed to complete silence as I walked in and everyone stared at me.  I immediately sensed that I had dropped in uninvited on a private lunch.

This faux pas didn’t stop me and no one was asking me to leave so I walked up to the counter and ordered the BBQ Pork Banh Mi sandwich for 95 pesos (about $2.16). The luncheon seemed to be wrapping up anyway and I found a seat to dig in to the sandwich. I was immediately blown away at the high quality and deliciousness that danced around in my mouth and taste buds. I had finally found the elusive sandwich I’d been searching and hoping for in Angeles City.


The Next Day

I was so impressed with the sandwich at Banh Mi that I went back with my girlfriend the next day for lunch. I couldn’t wait to share this new find with her and I now had an excuse to try additional things on the menu.  We ordered:

  • Fresh Spring Rolls
  • Fried Spring Rolls
  • BBQ  Pork Banh Mi
  • Chicken Banh Mi

I also had a chance to speak with owner and Filipino American Rex Soriano. Rex has an impressive and extensive background in the restaurant business working and living in the United States for half his life. He’s worked for well known restaurants  and chefs like Nobu, Bobby Flay and Wolfgang Puck. He opened Banh Mi about 2 years ago in Angeles  City Proper after finding a common love of Vietnamese cuisine and culture with his half-Vietnamese, half Filipina wife and full Vietnamese mother-in-law. He has future plans to open a branch in Manila and will occasionally add specialty items of his own creation to the current menu. More info on Rex can be found at the end of this article in a sit down video interview.


Menu & Food Review

The menu at Banh Mi is refreshingly small. Too many restaurants here give you a menu the size of a Bible. I usually take this as sign that they do everything pretty average and nothing is spectacular. Many times there are several items that are not even available.  Banh Mi specializes in 10 simple and authentic Vietnamese dishes and each item that I’ve tried so far have exceeded my expectations. They also have authentic Vietnamese style iced coffee available.

Fresh Spring Rolls – This delicious 2 piece item for 99 pesos (around $2.25)  comes with your choice of a peanut sauce or a pineapple alubebe (fermented fish sauce with pineapple) sauce. A well made, fresh spring roll is a healthy and filing option that is a great change of pace from your typical fried  variety.

Light Snack

The filling consists of Vietnamese noodles, crisp and fresh cucumbers, lettuce and basil along with shrimp and pork wrapped in rice paper. I went with the peanut sauce which was just sweet enough and complemented the rolls nicely. All in all the fresh spring rolls were spectacular.

Fried Spring Rolls – An order of 7 pieces comes with fresh lettuce, cilantro and a Vietnamese dipping sauce for 95 pesos (around $2.16). These were fried to perfection and nicely filled on the inside with a ground pork, noodles and carrot mixture. They were crisp and not oily. The sauce was vinegary and slightly sweet with a hint of garlic. While fried foods aren’t the healthiest option, wrapping these up in the lettuce and cilantro takes a lot of the guilt away and makes you feel like it’s a healthy snack.



BBQ Pork & Chicken Banh Mi – As the name suggests this establishment specializes in the Banh Mi sandwiche. This is the jewel in the crown of this cafe. The owner Rex Soriano has a deep rooted love for the Banh Mi sandwich and has created his own 3 versions with the help and guidance of his Vietnamese mother-in-law. His cold cut sandwich is made using pork belly and Vietnamese ham both of which he cures and processes in house. The sandwiches are priced from 90 to 99 pesos each (around $2.05 to $2.25).

The BBQ pork has a unique taste and texture. The bread is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. There’s a subtle pate spread which lifts the sandwich to another level, but most people (including myself) who despise liver will never realize what the unique flavor is. The meaty filling is topped with a dash of soy sauce, fresh cucumber, pickled carrots, pickled daikon radish and fresh cilantro.

Roasted Foul

Each layer of the sandwich is expressed in each bite and the flavors that mix together are heavenly. For those who want an added punch a siracha sauce is available table-side and with take out orders. There is also chili garlic sauce available that goes great with the sandwich.

For those less adventurous the chicken sandwich is the way to go. It’s depth of flavor is not nearly as exciting and complex as the BBQ pork or cold cuts, but it’s still a tasty sandwich nonetheless.

The Search is Over — Angeles City Now Has Bona Fide Sandwich Eateries

After years and years of searching for a sandwich that was on par with Subway the Banh Mi Vietnamese sandwich and cuisine has arrived in Angeles City in force. There are now several restaurants that serve this distinctive, appetizing sandwich. Each place has their own spin or twist on how they prepare the sandwich and each restaurant is serving up a viable option for meeting my sandwich eating needs.

Flavor Nation

I’m looking forward to trying the rest of Rex’s dishes on frequent future visits. Tourists and expats alike should see another side of Angeles and check out the creations of Rex Soriano who is likely one of the best chefs in town you don’t know about. He’s focusing on food he loves, keeps the menu small to maintain authentic tastes and has a cozy cafe that foreigners will find warm, familiar and welcoming. If you’ve lived here for any number of years you owe it to yourself to get your hands on a proper sandwich at Banh Mi Vietnamese Eatery.

Below is an interview with Rex Soriano, owner of Banh Mi Vietnamese Eatery. Check out and subscribe to our SleepEatGolf YouTube Channel for additional videos coming soon.

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Rating: 8.8/10 (4 votes cast)

The Cruise Buffet Restaurant


OPEN: Daily 6:00pm to 11:00pm
PAYMENT: Cash & Credit Card
SEATING: Indoor/Non-Smoking
LOCAL PHONE #: (045) 322-7944
MENU: All You Can Eat International Dinner Buffet with Nightly Standards and Variations Including Soft Drinks
PRICE: PhP599 (Approximately $13.31) Per Person, Discount for Children Available Based on Height. Prices as of Jan. 24, 2014.
LOCATION: See Map Below

View The Cruise Buffet Restaurant in a larger map

Las Vegas Style International Buffet in Angeles City

December 2013 saw the opening of a new Las Vegas style international buffet called The Cruise. The restaurant is located in Balibago, conveniently located near Fields Avenue Walking Street.

I first noticed this new establishment while driving on MacArthur Highway, but due to heavy construction was unable to explore it in more detail until Christmas. My cousin had mentioned how he stopped by for a meal and thought it was really good. He suggested we head there for Christmas dinner.  I was skeptical as I hadn’t heard anything about the place and he tends to be more interested in quantity over quality when it comes to food.

Christmas dinner was excellent and the restaurant itself was remarkable. I made plans to meet at a later date with Texan, Korean-American and Front of House Manager Jeff Choi, who with his family owns and runs The Cruise Buffet Restaurant.

Impressive & Opulent Decor

The Cruise is unlike any restaurant currently in Angeles City. It’s design, layout and decor immediately reminded me of a Las Vegas buffet. The long entryway is a marble lined floor with wood lined pillars.

Entrance Hall

The first buffet station is shaped like the bow of a ship and that part of the room opens up with a dramatic mural painting of a cruise ship perched high atop overlooking the middle buffet sections.

Buffet Station

The entire restaurant is well themed. No details have been overlooked and no shortcuts have been taken in the interior decorations. Ceilings and lighting in the restaurant are modern and add to the unique ambiance of your dining experience. It’s truly an extraordinary, awe-inspiring atmosphere from the moment you walk in.

The dining rooms are massive and can seat 180 to 200 people; an ideal and available setting for large parties, groups, receptions, private luncheons and events (contact Ms. Jherty for information). Each table is set with a cloth napkin and silverware set while plates are neatly tucked away inside buffet station compartments. The seats and booths are soft and comfortable with a white faux-leather covering. Every detail from lighting, background music, seating and buffet structure has been well thought out from every angle.


The Cruise Docks in Angeles via Texas & Korea

I finally made plans with Jeff to stop by again for dinner and an in depth review. I was greeted immediately by a waitress when I walked in and soon after that I was introduced to a Filipino Floor Manager named John who guided me around the imposing buffet providing finer details of the dishes while I took photos and video of the cornucopia laid out before me.

Front Desk

After I filled my plate with a few items from the over 40 delectable choices in front of me,  I was joined at my table by the friendly, outgoing and affable Front of House Manager/Co-Owner Jeff Choi. Jeff is a wonderful host and truly understands as an American (and a Texan) what Westerners expect at a buffet dining experience.

Plates and Items

We spoke about how The Cruise Buffet Restaurant concept came to be, why Angeles City and what future changes we could expect from this new and exciting eating establishment.

Jeff came to Angeles City to visit his brother who has lived here for over 10 years. After visiting some buffet restaurants in Manila and seeing a lack of large, Las Vegas style buffets in Angeles, the idea of The Cruise was spawned. Jeff quit his job managing 6 sushi restaurants in Texas and moved to Angeles City with a concept, background in restaurant management and a family with roots in the community familiar with running businesses and ventures here.

The concept of The Cruise is to take you on a culinary journey of various cuisines from around the world. Each night you can find a variety of foods of different styles that give you a “best of” taste from numerous Asian cultures and international dishes with over 40 items to choose from.

Some highlights of the dishes include:

  • Japanese sushi


  • Korean dishes

Korean Food

  • Chinese dim sum


Homemade Recipe

  • Filipino dishes

Filipino Food

  • Classic American selections


There is also a carving station and grill station with plans for an ice cream machine in the future, daily lunch, as well as possibly having some special themed nights and special dishes.

This is certain: Jeff intends on keeping The Cruise interesting and not settling on putting out the same food night after night or sacrificing quality.

Embarking The Cruise Buffet

The Cruise has only been open a few months. Like most new restaurants tweaks and changes have been made as they navigate the diverse clientele of Angeles City. The dinner buffet currently costs 599 pesos (approximately $13.31) and includes soft drinks.

Jeff also assured me he will not be changing the quality and tastes of the foods that comes out of his kitchen.  His multi-cultural background, attention to detail and work in the restaurant business ensures that all items being served are up to his high standards and tastes.

The main dishes are made each day using mostly fresh, local ingredients in small quantities to ensure freshness. You will be hard-pressed to find a dish or item that is pre-made. If an item runs out, you may have to wait a few minutes as dishes are not stock-piled in warmers. In my opinion this is more than acceptable. I’d much rather have delicious, hot and fresh food served on a buffet rather than something that’s been sitting in a warmer for a few hours.

The buffet stations seem to go on forever. It is a vast spread of ice filled troughs for the plated cold dishes and individual warming plates for hot main dishes. The video below shows a walk-through of the buffet’s extensive size:

Each dish is tastefully garnished with carrot, cucumber, tomato flowers or parsley which is a small, yet brilliant touch that adds to the overall dining aesthetic.

Ice Trough

The choices are endless and each dish I sampled was delicious. I went out of my way to try unfamiliar dishes and dishes I thought for sure wouldn’t be up to par such as the Chicken Casserole and Pork Meatballs. To my surprise these turned out to be more delicious than I could have imagined! It’s nearly impossible to taste over 20 hot dishes and just as many cold items, but I did my best to sample a little taste from each cuisine.

Grade A Pork

The Sushi Bar

Rolls Galore

The sushi bar is a maki roll lovers dream come true. On my visit there were 10 maki rolls and a limited selection of nigiri sushi. There was also some shrimp and vegetable tempura off to the side. The roll selections were very tasty and well presented. This is not a sushi restaurant and with so many other choices I was content with the selection presented.

MakiFried Goodness

The Carving Station

Another highlight on the buffet is the carving station. I passed on the delicious looking pork roast due to many other dishes having pork. I’m hopeful that Jeff can find some quality U.S. or Australian beef or perhaps a turkey to add to the carving station’s rotation.

Pork Roast

The Grill Station

The grill station was tempting with fresh squid, shrimp and pork but I was more interested in trying additional dishes on the buffet. These items are cooked to order and served table side.

Squid, Shrimp & Pork

Even More Hot Dishes

While many buffets try to entice you to fill up on carbohydrate filled side dishes, bread and pastas, The Cruise offers an extensive mix of protein based items featuring fish, pork, shellfish and chicken. Beef seems to be lacking, but this is to be expected since quality beef is cost prohibitive and often difficult to come by in this part of the world.

Spicy PrawnsSeafood

The Salad, Fruit & Desert Bar

A section of the buffet is dedicated to a salad bar with make your own and pre-made salad and fresh fruit selections.

Salad BarWatermelon, Mango & Pineapple

There is also a small selection of breads and sweets for desert if you possibly have room.

Cookies and Cakes

Yet Even More Items

There are many, many other items like soups, fried rice, mini-Clubhouse sandwiches, canapes, pizza, Korean noodle dishes, vegetable sides, made to order carbonara, won-tons, lumpia and other finger foods that I simply didn’t have room to try on this visit.

Finger FoodsKorean Noddle

Thankfully many of these items are permanent fixtures on the buffet so I’ll have an opportunity to try them on the next visit.

Extraordinay Service

One other point worth mentioning is the service. From the moment you walk in to the moment you walk out the wait staff is very attentive, but not overbearing. Not once did dirty plates stack up on the table on this visit or my previous Christmas visit after numerous visits for refills. While there is a walk-up drink station, I never needed to use it as there was always an attentive server ready to refill my water or beverage glass before I needed it.

Cold Beverages

The staff does their best to ensure that dishes on the buffet stay fresh and filled, but can become slightly flustered if a large group of 20 enter at one time. These are normal growing pains that I suspect will be rectified in the near future as the kitchen and wait staffs become more accustomed to runs and rushes that can occur at any buffet.

Set Sail For A Fantastic Culinary Voyage

The Cruise has dropped anchor in Balibago, Angeles City and have set a new standard on what customers can expect for buffet dining. The limited buffet competition in town should take note of the quality, atmosphere and pricing structure that The Cruise has instituted. The maiden voyage has already shown they are by far the best value for the money and they have successfully navigated through the stormy roll and turbulent first month of business .

The price at 599 pesos (approximately $13.31) is extremely competitive, the food is high quality and the taste is excellent. The atmosphere rivals and in many ways equals or surpasses VariAsia in ABC Hotel. The Cruise is strategically located in an area that is easily accessible by tourists just a few hundred meters away from Walking Street. Other buffets are much further away, much more expensive and often missed by visitors unless it happens to be in the hotel where they are staying.

Street View

Jeff Choi and his family have finally brought an affordable, high quality, Las Vegas style buffet to Angeles City that will appeal to local families, single persons, small groups, large groups and couples. They’ve incorporated great service and delicious food choices at the right price and provide an incredible dining atmosphere. They have reset the standard on what a buffet restaurant experience should be like in Angeles City and expats will feel as if they’re back at a world famous Las Vegas casino buffet. All aboard for The Cruise Buffet Restaurant and be prepared to enjoy the culinary voyage you’re about to embark on!

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Rating: 8.1/10 (8 votes cast)

Blue Rock Beach Resort, Part II of II — Bars, Restaurant & Dive Shop

OPEN: Restaurant/Bar — 24hrs., Floating Bar — Seasonal (Late Nov. to April/May), Mid-Afternoon until 11:00pm’ish Depending on Weather
PAYMENT: Cash/Credit Cards
SEATING: Open-Air, Semi-Enclosed Outdoor Seating (Smoking)

Eating and Drinking at Blue Rock Beach Resort

I was looking forward to eating and drinking at Blue Rock Beach Resort during my stay. Blue Rock Beach Resort advertises extensively in a local magazine called the Blue Book in Angeles City.

My girlfriend and I ate just about every meal here for a couple of reasons.

  1. There’s not much else around without traveling off the property other than Wild Orchid which is also in Angeles City and has a similar menu.
  2. The food is relatively well reviewed, particularly their steakhouse and seafood choices.

I was also looking forward to visiting their floating bar which is situated just off shore during the dry season (typically late November through April/May) for some drinking and relaxing.

Food Experiences

We were hungry upon our arrival at around lunch time, so we dropped off our bags in our room and headed to the restaurant. The restaurant  and bar overlooks the beach and there are a bunch of great seats in the dining room.

We ordered Thai Style Shrimp Fried Rice and BBQ Chicken Wings. The fried rice was good but I was expecting some large, plump shrimp based on the reputation for seafood at Blue Rock and in Subic. Unfortunately this was not the case and it was just a basic fried rice. I swear there’s some small shrimps somewhere in there. Tasty, but nothing spectacular.

Average Taste

The BBQ Chicken Wings were as bad as they looked. I’m used to oddly cut chicken in the Philippines, but this was primarily bones, fat and skin with very little meat. Overall a slightly disappointing experience for our first meal and fairly pricey which is to be expected at a hotel/resort.


I had faith that future meals would be much better with the extensive menu and perhaps we just caught a bad meal which can definitely happen on occasion.

Dinner time was fast approaching and since it was our first night we decided to splurge. Blue Rock Beach Resort has a steak and fish grilling area where you can pick from daily specials and it will be cooked up in front of your eyes.


I like this concept, but the prices were a little too expensive for my tastes and the side dish choices weren’t that appealing to me. We opted for the Seafood Platter for 2, Caesar Salad and French Fries instead.

The salad was good, but portion-wise it was small. I liked the dressing and the fact that they put real anchovies and cheese on the side.

Small Portion

For around $30.00 I thought the Seafood Platter  for 2 was extremely overpriced (especially since I know what it would cost me to piece this together buying the items in the market locally). There was a salty, MSG filled gravy on the crab, shrimps and mussels. This is totally unnecessary for fresh seafood unless you’re trying to cover up the natural flavor for some reason. The shrimps were small and were peel-yourself style. The fried squid, fish and imitation crab sticks (Really? Imitation crab sticks?!) were all just your basic fried variety. Tough to screw these up and at least they weren’t overcooked.


Since it was a special occasion being a 1 year anniversary and I had a few drinks in me I wasn’t complaining and did enjoy this meal. Including a 1/2 dozen oysters on this item without changing the price would have made me feel much, much better about it. So far my meals at Blue Rock Beach Resort were under achieving considering all the hype I’d heard and read about.

The next morning for breakfast I went with the North to South breakfast for around $8.00 which I would classify as an Australian type of breakfast. The sausage, bacon and eggs were good, but the canned mushrooms were a drag as were the generic frozen hash browns. I’m really not a big breakfast guy in the first place, but English and Aussie breakfasts are just confusing to an American like me. What’s with the grilled tomatoes and sometimes beans?

Confusing Aussie Breakfast

My girlfriend went with the Club Sandwich. I don’t know why she thinks this is a great sandwich and wants to order it at every opportunity. I’ve tried to explain to her that she’s not even a member and therefore can’t order this sandwich. For what it’s worth, here it is.

Members Only

A little later for lunch we ordered some nachos and a BLT Sandwich. Again, these were very average and pricey for what you got. The nachos were greasy, the meat was full of gristle and the cheese was Filipino style. In other words, my girlfriend loved this!


This was the attempt at the BLT. At this point all the sandwiches were the same to me.

Sad Attempt

At some other point I also tried the Reuben sandwich. It was uninspiring. The picture below should give you a good idea on the quality. If I didn’t see the corned beef I’d swear a tryke driver ran over the bread before it was served to me. No that is not Swiss cheese and yes there is some sort of sauerkraut in it.


Again, not what I’m expecting at a “beach resort” for the prices paid, portion sizes and overall taste and quality. I had much higher expectations. Fortunately, I was in possession of discount card that gave me 10% off all meals and drinks which helped ease my disappointment with the food experiences.

My opinion is that the food at Blue Rock Beach Resort is overrated, pricey and average to fair at best. Good for a quick snack if you’re there or if you just want some bar snacks. We ventured next door to the Wild Orchid for dinner later that evening which was much better overall for food services.


So the food wasn’t the highlight of Blue Rock Beach Resort, but if you plan on just relaxing by or on the water there are great opportunities to get your drink on here.

During the dry season (late Nov. through April/May) the floating bar is positioned about 200 feet offshore and is open from mid-afternoon until late night. It’s a fun and unique spot to spend an afternoon or evening and the drinks are priced fairly.

Drink on the Water

Yes you can jump off the bar and swim, yes there are bathrooms on board. Operations are subject to weather conditions as are operating times.

The bar inside Blue Rock Beach Resort is also a great spot to have some drinks and spend some time. You can sit at the bar itself or grab one of the many seats in the restaurant dining room.


Every night there was also a small live band consisting of a keyboardist, singer and guitarist singing popular favorites. Sitting on the water in the floating bar or at the bar or restaurant having some cocktails taking in the exceptional beach and view is always a great way to spend the day or night.

Live Band


Blue Rock Beach Resort also has on onsite dive shop. If you’re an experienced or first time diver or snorkeler the staff can help arrange some great dives at shipwrecks and other popular sites in the Subic Bay area.


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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Viet Garden Vietnamese Restaurant


OPEN: Daily 11:00am — 2:00am
PAYMENT: Cash Only
SEATING: Indoor/Non-Smoking, Outdoor/Smoking
MENU: See Attached PDF, prices and menu as of Nov. 12, 2013
LOCATION: See Map Below

View Viet Garden Restaurant in a larger map

New Vietnamese Restaurants Continue to Open in Angeles

It seems like only yesterday that the only way to sample authentic Vietnamese style foods in Angeles City was to book a flight direct to Vietnam. This, like most things in South East Asia, has changed dramatically and rapidly since our review of Pho Hanoi on September 25, 2013.

There have been three additional Vietnamese restaurants that have opened in Angeles City in just a couple of months. It seems Vietnamese cuisine is quickly catching on and adding its unique taste sensation to the diverse culinary city which was lacking in these types of food establishments previously. One of them is Viet Garden.

Vietnamese Cuisine

Quaint and Cozy Cafe with a Diverse Menu

Viet Garden is a small cafe that recently opened in the new stalls along M.A. Roxas HWY near an area locally referred to as Checkpoint. The venue is small but nicely and simply decorated and branded. Wood carved chairs and plates are emblazoned with logos. There is outdoor seating for smokers and plenty of seats inside.  Parking is not an issue as this newly built complex has plenty of spaces available.


The cafe has a unexpectedly large and diverse menu for the size of the restaurant providing you ample opportunity to grab a light snack if you’re new to the cuisine or a full meal for those familiar with this type of food. Some interesting items on the menu include:

  • Goi Da Ca (Viet salad with stingray skin)
  • Ca Kho (catfish simmered in Viet sauce)
  • Cua-Um (crab cooked Viet style)
  • Banh Xeo (Vietnamese crepe)

The menu also includes more familiar favorites like:

  • Goi Cuon (fresh spring rolls)
  • Cha Gio (fried spring rolls)
  • Banh Mi (sandwich)
  • Pho Bo (beef noodle soup)

A few items were marked “Unavailable” on my visit, but there were plenty of items to choose from on the menu.

Additional Seating

Vietnamese Cuisine for a Small Snack or Full Meal

My visit to Viet Garden was a bit too early for lunch and all I really wanted was a small snack to share with my girlfriend. Stopping by Viet Garden was an ideal choice as I knew I could grab something quick, light and fairly inexpensive.

Our order was Cha Gio (friend spring rolls) and two Banh Mi sandwiches. Typically I prefer to order several items on a first time visit in order to get a real feel for the food at an establishment, but due to the timing I really only wanted a small snack.

In cases like this I have a small checklist of criteria and find it best to order the common foolproof items that should be prepared perfectly and still gives me a good idea about the taste and quality of the foods.  My checklist in cases like this is:

  1. Visual authenticity — Does it look like the pictures in the menu or what it should look like?
  2. Taste and texture authenticity — Does it taste authentic? Are the textures right?
  3. Pricing — Are the items prices fairly for what is served?
  4. Overall satisfaction — Am I satisfied overall with everything about the items?

First up were the Cha Gio (fried spring rolls). Six plump, golden brown, ground pork and vegetable filled rolls served with a sweet and sour sauce, cucumber sticks, basil leaves and lettuce.

Fried Spring Rolls

It’s almost impossible to mess up fried spring rolls. The rolls were filled adequately with a seasoned pork and vegetable medley. They were crisp on the outside and steaming hot on the inside. I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed with a fried spring roll and that streak still stands. These were delicious.

The raw vegetables on the side gave me an opportunity to be slightly inventive. I put a spring roll on a piece of lettuce, added some of the cucumber sticks, basil leaves and then dunked them in the sauce. Now I was eating “healthy” fried spring rolls. 

I like the presentation, the tastes and textures were right and at 145 pesos (approximately $3.37) for 6 pieces seemed very fair. All boxes on my checklist were covered and this dish was a great snack by itself. Fortunately my girlfriend was with me so I was able to sample one more item.

The Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich has many variations but some standards do exist. First, it should be served on a light and airy french style baguette which may be slightly sweet or not. Second, it should have some sort of Vietnamese sauce in lieu of mayonnaise or mustard. Typically the sauce will be a fish, siracha, hoisin, a sweet vinegary sauce or any combination of these. Third, the filling will be a seasoned, grilled chicken or pork. Fourth, it will be topped with various fresh herbs and vegetables which can vary greatly. Sometimes additional sauces will be served on the side.

Vietnamese Sandwich

Viet Garden’s Banh Mi is served with seasoned, grilled chicken. The sandwich was of decent size (particularly for the price) and the bread was crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. It appeared to be freshly baked. There was a decent amount of filling and it had a similar sweet and vinegary sauce to what was served with the spring rolls. The sandwich was topped with cucumber spears, shredded daikon radish, carrots and fresh cilantro.

Banh Mi

At 75 pesos (approximately $1.74) this sandwich is a steal. Something similar at a Subway sandwich shop would run you $4.00 to $5.00. The Banh Mi is a light and flavorful sandwich due to the use of various array of herbs and vegetables on the crusty flakey bread. It’s a completely unique style and flavor that is truly Vietnamese at its heart. There are a lot of complaints that there’s no where in Angeles City to get a decent submarine sandwich but this is no longer true with the addition of Vietnamese restaurants.

Overall my total bill for 2 Banh Mi sandwiches, 1 order of fried spring rolls, 2 ice teas and tip came to 385 peso (approximately $8.95). I thought this was a tremendous value for the money and a fantastic snack that left me fully satisfied.

I look forward to visiting Viet Garden again soon to try some of their other items. If they’re as good as the two staples I sampled on my first visit I’m sure I won’t be disappointed with the rest of the menu. It will be interesting to see how many more Vietnamese restaurants open up in Angeles City and how the competition determines who will reign supreme in this cuisine.

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Rating: 8.7/10 (7 votes cast)

Iguana’s Cantina Mexicana

Outdoor Painting

OPEN: Tuesday to Sunday 11:00am — 10:00pm, Closed Mondays
PAYMENT: Cash Only
SEATING: Indoor/Non-Smoking
LOCAL PHONE #: (045) 405-0449
MENU: See Attached PDF and À La Carte Menu Attached PDF, prices and menus as of October 19, 2013
LOCATION: See Map Below

View Iguana’s Cantina Mexicana in a larger map

Before Iguana’s There Was Zapata’s

I lived in Los Angeles, California for over a decade and some of the tastiest Mexican food can be found all over Southern California. Many would argue that you can get better tasting Mexican food in this part of the U.S. than you can in Mexico. When I first arrived in the Philippines I imagined that Mexican food would be easily accessible and adequate in quality and taste. Sadly, this turned out to be untrue.

Many years ago I was taken to what was at the time the only Mexican restaurant in Angeles City called Zapata’s. Having just arrived from Southern California and eating the best Mexican food in the world for over 10 years I was incredibly disappointed. I found the foods bland and unappetizing compared to what I was used to eating.

I caught the tail end of Zapata’s restaurant which was very popular among expats and locals as it was the only choice for Mexican food in town. It closed down a few months later and relocated further down on Perimeter RD near Korea Town under the new name Iguana’s (yet Zapata’s remained on signage). Like many things in the Philippines, this business decision seemed strange and added to branding confusion. I stayed away once it reopened since a couple of other Mexican restaurants had opened up recently and were very good in my opinion.

Street View

About a year ago I ventured back to Iguana’s after hearing from several people that it was better than the other Mexican restaurants I’d been frequenting regularly who had some alleged food poisoning cases.

Once I stepped through Iguana’s big wooden doors I could tell that big changes had been made at the new location and I looked forward to giving them another chance to win over my patronage again. Gone were the references to Zapata’s (except for one tiny street sign reading “Formerly Zapata’s”).

Mexican Food Haven

Fiesta Type Atmosphere

Iguana’s is one of the best themed restaurants in Angeles City. It screams Mexico from the outside building design, murals and colors. Once you walk inside it’s like you’ve stepped straight into a Mexican Cantina.


The entryway welcomes you with an onslaught of pictures of festive patrons wearing sombreros, eating and drinking along with a cabinet filled with trinkets.

Seating Area

The inside is painted in bright colors, colorful artwork and traditional tile work. Pictures, sombreros and decorations adorn almost every inch of wall space available. Even the restrooms are filled with Pancho Villa pictures and colorful tile work. Your server will even be decked out in traditional Mexican style dress with a tiny sombrero hat.

Plush Seats

The large, colorful and spacious dining room is filled with regular tables, booths and high tables. There’s also a nicely stocked bar area with seating for those stopping by to sample some of the many authentic, imported tequilas or margaritas.

Belly Up to the Bar

They also serve liquor, beers, wines, Sangria from Spain and some delectable sounding deserts.

Additional Beverages

Unique Sweets

If I needed a large restaurant/bar for a private party or event Iguana’s would be my first phone call as the space is ideal, already decorated for a party atmosphere and has party food and drink readily available.

South of the Border Flavors in South East Asia

The food at Iguana’s is excellent, of high quality and fairly authentic from a Mexican-American food standpoint with no noticeable shortcuts being taken. More importantly the flavors of the food are much, much better than I remember on my first visit to Zapata’s many years ago.

Nothing is overly spicy and most dishes are very mild. The owners have obviously fine tuned recipes, portions and prices to suit local tastes. While it is still a far cry away from Southern California Mexican food, it is arguably one of the best Mexican restaurants in Angeles City where the cuisine never really has taken off in popularity as it has in the U.S.

The menu consists of your typical Mexican food standards along with other items. Some typical foods they serve include:

  • Hard and Soft Shell Tacos (ground beef, shredded chicken, shredded beef and fish)
  • Burittos
  • Quesadillas
  • Nachos
  • Fajitas
  • Enchiladas

There is also an à la carte menu that you have to request which has some hidden gems not included on the regular menu. I highly recommend asking your server for this menu to save some money and try some dishes you’re not sure about.

More Food

Mexican Foods Feast

I like a variety of Mexican foods at a meal, but I’ve never been a big fan of the combo plates that include rice and beans. I’ve now introduced my girlfriend to Mexican food and she is loving the new flavors and dishes that she’s not accustomed to.

We ordered:

  1. Chicken Qesadilla Supreme
  2. Shredded Beef Taco
  3. Cheese Enchiladas
  4. Nachos with Ground Beef

The Chicken Quesadilla Supreme with onions and jalepeño peppers for 220 pesos (approximately $5.12) is great and classic appetizer.

Appetizer or Meal

The real flour tortillas are filled with plenty of gooey, melted cheese, shredded chicken and optional jalepeño peppers and onions.  An order of these are great to share or for a meal for one person.

Nicely Filled

Next up is 1 Shredded Beef Taco from the à la carte menu for 90 pesos (approximately $2.09) which comes with lettuce, tomato and real cheddar cheese along with a side of salsa. My girlfriend likes the hard shell but soft shell is available.


As you can see there’s no skimping on the shredded beef or toppings. This is your standard sized taco and the shell is crispy. It’s mildly spiced and great for those who don’t want anything too intense.

There's the beef

Back to the à la carte menu for an order of 2 Cheese Enchiladas for 100 pesos (approximately $2.33).

Disappointing dish

Basically this is melted cheese between 2 corn tortillas with enchilada sauce on top. I was slightly disappointed with this dish. The corn tortillas just weren’t right and the cheese was barely melted with shreds still visible. The enchilada sauce was ok, but I could have done without the cheese sauce and sour cream which were more for decoration than flavor.

Finally, we ordered Nachos with Ground Beef from the à la carte menu again for 200 pesos (approximately $4.65).

Awesome, crispy and cheesey

I had low expectations for this dish and expected soggy chips bathed in a bland cheese sauce with ground beef dumped on top of the chips. To my surprise the cheese sauce was slightly spicy, piping hot and served on the side.

The chips were crispy and absorbed just enough of the sauce from the ground beef. As a bonus it even included jalepeño peppers and black olives (though I would have preferred onions).

Stuffed Like a Piñata at a Mexican Child’s Birthday

With drinks and tip our Mexican foods feast bill came to 740 pesos (approximately $17.21) for 2 people. I was completely stuffed and overall very happy with the meal, minus the enchiladas. While there’s no free, all you can eat chips and salsa that most expats are likely used to, Iguana’s is a great place for Mexican food and the atmosphere you eat in makes the experience an engaging and fun dining experience.

The unique Mexican tastes will impress those who haven’t experienced Mexican foods before and it’s a great change of pace when you’re craving it.  While I’d classify Iguana’s as more of a Mexican-American type of food rather than truly authentic, it’s still Mexican food. And even when Mexican food isn’t that great it’s still pretty good!

Night Sign

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Rating: 9.8/10 (5 votes cast)