My high school friends and I traveled to Tarlac City two weeks ago to attend another wedding- and this time, it was my Best Friend’s wedding. The place was a two-hour drive from Manila, so we all decided to book a hotel there instead of driving home after the festivities. On our first night, my Best Friend’s family treated us to dinner at a well-known restaurant in Tarlac called Isdaan.
The place is famous for its Tacsiyapo Wall, where customers are encouraged to throw dishes, cups, glasses (even old television sets!) against a wall filled with specific “targets”. These “targets” are common sources for people’s frustrations; samples include “Your Ex-Wife”, “Professors/Classmates”, “Thieves”, etc. You have to pay for each item you wish to throw, but a lot of people try this out either just for fun or to help them release their anger. Even the employees of the restaurant have an area where they can throw their “weapon” of choice; their wall has “Mareklamong Customer (Customers with so many complaints)”.
By the way, please don’t go around saying tacsiyapo since it’s considered a bad word.
Anyway, I wanted to take photos of the things we ate, but decided against it since most of the people were already excited to eat. When my travel companions decided to have lunch at the same restaurant before we drove back to Manila, I took that as an opportunity to finally snap some shots.
We ordered a serving of Mike’s favorite Kare-kareng gulay (vegetable stew with peanut butter as the base).
We also ordered The Boyfriend’s favorite, which was a type of twice-cooked pork dish. This one was cooked in vinegar and soy sauce first (adobo) then grilled. This one cost us an arm and a leg at Php500+ for just one kilo of pork, which we only found out once we got the bill (big mistake!). Pretty overpriced, in my honest opinion.
The Boyfriend also decided to order a serving of Kalderetang Kambing, which is a goat stew made with tomato sauce, potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and other spices. There are a lot of variations of this dish in the Philippines, which includes beef, pork or chicken kaldereta.
We also decided to order a small serving of Crispy Pata, or deep fried pig’s leg. It was fried a bit too much, resulting to some burnt skin and dry meat. None of us thought that it was fantastic, but it was still okay.
All that food were eaten with plain rice, served in small pots. Each pot had enough rice for one to three individuals, depending on how much one can eat.
It was a very, very humid afternoon, so our group decided to order cold drinks. We started with a pitcher of iced tea to share among ourselves, but quickly found out that it wasn’t enough to satiate our thirst.
Three of us decided to order a pitcher of fresh coconut juice to share…
while Den and Jac ordered glasses of fruit shakes for themselves.
Overall, I think Isdaan is a nice place to visit if you want to try eating in floating areas surrounded by fish pens and if you would like to try your hand at the Tacsiyapo Wall. The place is very big, and they had a lot of statues of different characters/persons like Batman, Superman, those from Angry Birds, Disney characters, previous Philippine presidents, etc. which you can take photos of. The food, though, was just so-so for me. I wouldn’t say that it was extraordinary, but it was still decent enough.
One quick piece of advice: If you get light-headed pretty quickly when aboard boats (like me), you might want to stay away from the huts on the floating areas and dine at the places with more stable foundations. You will definitely enjoy your meal better if you do so.