It’s official! The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Adminstration (PAGASA) has finally declared the beginning of summer! Anyhow, we have felt the summer heat since March and I can’t help but think about going somewhere cold like Tagaytay. Speaking of Tagaytay, we both know what comes next to mind – Bulalo! I can just imagine sipping from a bowl of freshly boiled Bulalo soup as the cold night breeze kisses my cheeks! Hwaaaaaaah! Take me to Tagaytay! But wait, where exactly is the best bulalo in Tagaytay? You might think you know but I think you don’t and I’m definitely telling! =D
For the benefit of our international readers, I would just like to elaborate a bit on what Bulalo is at this point before I share exactly where you can enjoy the REAL Best Bulalo in Tagaytay. Bulalo literally means kneecap, particularly of a cow. It is an iconic Filipino specialty native to Cavite and Batangas. It is made by boiling beef shanks long enough that the meat falls off the bone, the cartilages are soft enough to eat and fat from the marrow melts into the broth. Other ingredients include onion, garlic, pechay, cabbage, corn, potato and peppercorn (Recipe here). Filipinos enjoy this as a main dish eaten with rice and a dipping sauce (fish sauce + calamansi + chili FTW!). Lastly, I just have to say that travel foodies around the world simply MUST try this deeply-flavored clear soup. For more on its history, go over here.
Moving along, so where is the REAL Best Bulalo in Tagaytay? Ironically, it’s a Tapsilogan! Haha! Mer-Ben Tapsilogan! This restaurant has been around for quite some time but it is surprisingly not as popular as its counterparts. This is such a loss for many because this restaurant has got a lot of deliciousness to offer. I have tried Bulalo from places that the internet boasts to be the best but I dare say Mer-Ben’s Bulalo is way better! The most popular is not necessarily the best you know.
I am just thankful that we were led to this place. I know this is where we’ll return for more. Beyond the food though, the story behind the restaurant is also very endearing. The couple who owns this had very humble beginnings. They started with a capital of Php50,000 that they saved from working as cashier and driver for one of their relatives. With that, they rented a small parcel of unused land beside Aguinaldo Hi-way and sold cooked food there with one table. Their delicious food caught the hearts of medical representatives and soon cars were lining up, which attracted more customers. They then put up one kubo (Nipa hut) upon the request of their customers and just kept putting up more kubo as they continued to grow.
They now have several rows of kubo where you can enjoy their delicious food. They also have a more conventional restaurant building with a roof top if you prefer that. And lastly, they were also able to build their own bed & breakfast – John Peter Bed & Breakfast, where my husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary last November. It’s awesome too! Take a sneak peek here.
THE REAL BEST BULALO IN TAGAYTAY: MER-BEN TAPSILOGAN DETAILS
Address: Aguinaldo Hi-way, Crossing Mendez East, Tagaytay City
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Price Range (for 2): Php200-500
THE REAL BEST BULALO IN TAGAYTAY: MER-BEN TAPSILOGAN MENU
Disclosure: The dishes featured here are all courtesy of Mer-Ben Tapsilogan but this article was written with the independent thoughts, biases, opinions, and insights of the author.