Disclaimer: The food item(s) in this review were bought to-go. I prefer eating restaurant food in the comfort of my own home. Also, I would say that I eat more than the average Igorot does on one meal. My tongue is inclined towards salty and spicy food. Lastly, most of food in this review series are made in my hometown, La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines.
On my way home yesterday, I developed a craving for siopao from Town Fiesta Restaurant and Bakery. Siopao, in the Philippines, is a steamed bun stuffed with meat (pork, chicken, or tuna) sparingly mixed with vegetables and egg. It can be eaten alone or with dipping sauce or ketchup. There are two general varieties of siopao stuffing: Asado (a technique of cooking pork) and Bola-Bola (stuffed with a large meatball and boiled egg).
I remember as a kid, I would always buy siopao from Town Fiesta every Sunday mornings after attending Holy Mass. Town Fiesta Restaurant and Bakery is located at town Poblacion, La Trinidad, Benguet. It’s a short walk away from our church, San Jose Parish. It’s also close to the Benguet Provincial Capitol and is beside Balangay Midtown Meat Booth.
The siopao back then were so big and heavily-stuffed. Additionally, the sauce was addictively saccharine to the palate. I wanted to relive that experience so I bought one for dinner.
As you can see, this bun can take up an entire plate. It’s 11 centimeters in diameter (4.33 inches), so it’s a fitting food item for one meal alone. But how about its filling? Let’s open it up and see …
And there you have it! I was absolutely disappointed at the siopao that Town Fiesta makes now. The buns that I ate before were full of asado or bola-bola that sometimes, the filling would ooze out of the siopaos’ undersides. Now, however, the fillings couldn’t even pop out of the buns. Moreover, the buns aren’t well-cooked. They are a bit hard that I wonder if they were steamed well enough to be eaten.
The only redeeming ingredient for Town Fiesta’s siopao would be the sauce. It retains the same taste as before; if not, it improves on it.
As for the filling:
This is the bola-bola variant of the siopao. There’s no egg in it, unfortunately. And to make it worse, it’s only five (5) centimeters (1.96 inches) in diameter! What a disappointment indeed! I can say this of the siopao that Town Fiesta used to make: if the buns were 11 centimeters in diameter, the filling would measure about eight (8) to 10 centimeters in diameter.
So what happened? They got a new siopao-maker? Possibly. Cutting down on ingredients to keep prices competitive? Could be, but it’s not nice to deceive customers with misleading looks.
Town Fiesta’s siopaos are priced PhP60.00 each. Too expensive, in my opinion, considering the filling.
It looks like my favorite siopao of the past is now my least. Time to look for another siopao store.