During the Pancit King’s recent visit of Iloilo, one of his objectives was to visit the province of Antique which is located at the other side of the Panay island. The objective: to try out another rendition of the Batchoy. While Batchon (batchoy with lechon) is to Bacolod, Buko Batchoy is to Antique. It is said that Buko Batchoy is developed in the town of Bugasong, a town a little farther from Antique’s capital of San San Jose de Buenavista. Travel time by bus would take approximately four (4) hours excluding the waiting time. While the distance on the map may not be that far, the road connecting the two provinces would circumvent the whole south of the island passing through all the Southern towns of Iloilo. Since my Iloilo trip’s main purpose is for a religious conference, the Antique visit will have to wait for another time.
Fortunately I was able to research a place within Iloilo serving Buko Batchoy in the district of Mandurriao. Lar’s Buko Batchoy is a simple hole in the wall serving various coconut-infused dishes. Getting there is a little tricky since it is located inside a residential area. Although the cab driver I hailed is familiar with the area, we circled the subdivision a couple of times before seeing Lar’s. From the outside, it is difficult to see an actual eatery since the place is hidden inside a house’s gate and walls.
For Php.75, I ordered their funny-sounding “Coconutchoy” with fresh egg (without egg it’s only Php.65). Compared with the original La Paz Batchoy, Buko Batchoy or coconutchoy is expectedly very refreshing. They make use of the same salty rich soup stock, fresh miki noodles, pork meat and fat slices, pork liver, pork rinds but without the intestines. A little shreds of coconut meat is also added to mimic real noodles. Some of the buko juice is also added in the soup giving it a refreshing sweet taste to balance the boldness of the batchoy.
While I do not have a comparison with the Bugasong, Antique version, I would imagine the overall taste and presentation to be almost alike. But given the chance, I would definitely travel back to have the taste of the original Buko Batchoy.
Lar’s Buko Batchoy: Mandurriao, Iloilo City, Iloilo