This is where you can have probably the best batchoy in Cebu
I realized I was in the right neighborhood when the unmistakable smell of freshly cooked chicharon wafted in the air. I was then looking for #batchoyhouse328, Vance Borja’s newest batchoy garage pop-up in Guadalupe, Cebu City.
He is the chef behind Uncle Noodles and Chop-Chop Food Centre, restaurants that served Singaporean dishes, but have closed shop unfortunately. It is then a departure or more like a homecoming for Vance to be cooking the humble yet very hearty batchoy, a noodle soup that’s very popular in Iloilo in Central Philippines.
When I asked if he recently went to Iloilo just for this new endeavor, he answered that he didn’t. He added that it’s been a decade since he last visited his mom’s hometown and that he only recreated this dish from memory.
Even so, it was one of the few incredibly satisfying batchoy I’ve had in recent memory. It tasted the closest to the one I had at the La Paz market, where this dish is said to have originated.
What’s even more amazing is that a serving at #batchoyhouse328 only costs Php50, which is a steal considering the hefty portion of their meat cuts. Almost everything is also made from scratch – especially crafted miki (thin noodles), freshly popped chicharon and the caldo (soup stock) simmered to perfection for long hours.
Just don’t expect a full restaurant experience as it’s back to basics here – monobloc chairs and tables, an open kitchen, and only one item in the menu – an unpretentious, soulful bowl of soup.
Maybe this is one of the life lessons that successful chefs know too well – to remember the flavors that you grew up with, especially those that you know with all your stomach and with all your heart.
That’s why I am sincerely hoping that this batchoy place will last long. Because from the taste of it alone, it definitely should.
#batchoy328 opens from 3 to 8 PM daily
21 M. Veloso St. Guadalupe, Cebu City
(back road of Buenaventura Condo)