Dessert Comes First

An obsession with dessert and other unabashed opinions of a food writer

Magnum White King

A Bowl of Batchoy For The Very Brave
(Plus! win yourself a bowl of batchoy; see end of post)

posted by in Filipino, Restaurants

batchoy w egg

I say that this bowl is “for the brave” because at this store, you can have all the chicharon, garlic, green onions and of course, soup, that you can possibly eat.

**Correction made. Ilonggos, yes. My apologies.

In Iloilo, batchoy soup is traditionally free. The Ilonggo’s love for soup even dictates how they eat batchoy: they go for the soup first, usually finishing it, and then they ask for a second serving that they then eat with the batchoy’s traditional accoutrements. There’s a saying that “…kung hindi pumuti yung noodles, hindi tunay na batchoy iyan.” (!)

I’m told these anecdotes by the people who’ve opened Deco’s Original La Paz Batchoy at the Alphaland Southgate Mall along Pasong Tamo. As I write this, another store has opened in Boracay. Deco’s began in 1938 by a certain Federico “Deco” Guillergan Sr. who some say pioneered the serving of meat stock soup (“batchoy” in Chinese) at his La Paz public market carinderia in Iloilo. Certain innovations since then have included the addition of meke (miki) noodles, guinamos (local shrimp paste), bone marrow, and garlic. Pork innards (intestines and liver) also made their way to what started out as bare-bones stock. The latest (some say the greatest) addition is the chicharon that’s harder, crispier than regular chicharon – it dampens, doesn’t dissolve in the soup.

Deco’s 70 year old son, Nonoy, is the one who mans the now-national Deco’s brand. Six branches in Iloilo will soon be dwarfed by the number of branches the company plans to open in Manila and beyond. A sister company of Mang Inasal, it may soon be possible to do what’s done at the Deco’s branch at Southgate mall: start off one’s meal with batchoy and finish it off with chicken inasal and garlic rice.

batchoy w sidings

It’s a combination that’s unmanageable, even for greedy me. That’s because I order the Extra bowl (P77) with a fresh (or hard-boiled) egg (+P12). Also, batchoy becomes extra irresistible to me when accompanied by Manapla puto (P6.50/piece) and pandesal ni PAA (P4.50/piece). Pronounced PAH-ah, not pah-AH, the Tagalog pronunciation for “foot,” it’s named as such for the baker whom Deco ordered it from back in the day. This pandesal is the larger, softer one compared to the aptly-named and smaller pre-war pandesal (see photo above; P3.50/piece).

batchoy no egg
no-egg batchoy; photo taken with my Nokia 6700 Classic

Deco’s batchoy, unlike other soups of its kind, tastes very clean. There’s none of that oily mouthfeel or aftertaste; and the fat doesn’t harden (sebo) even when the soup is cold. That’s attributed to the fact that the lean and fat meat are separated upon preparation. Deco’s prides itself on this as well as the generous toppings, unlimited soup, crispy chicharon, and affordability (Special P67; the bigger bowl Super P75; and my choice Extra [even more toppings] P77). You can also, to a point, indicate what you don’t want in your batchoy: an acquaintance tells me she has the pork innards omitted; another says he asks for so much soup a plate-liner has to be placed underneath to catch the spillage. However you want it done, this batchoy is deeply satisfying.

Another batchoy post:
batchoy at “21”

Deco’s Batchoy
1/f Alphaland Southgate Mall corner of EDSA (northbound) and Pasong Tamo Extension.

PROMO ALERT! (Philippine residents only)

10 (ten) P100-Deco’s gift certificates are available to 5 lucky DCF readers. I’ll mail two GCs (that’s P200 worth)  each to the FIRST 5 people who email me a picture of their favorite batchoy.

Include the following:

where the photo was taken + your name + (snail) mail address + daytime (preferably mobile#) contact number.
Batchoy photo was taken at 21 restaurant in Bacolod.
Miss Batchoy
21 Somewhere St., Ortigas Ave cor J. Vargas., Metro Manila, Philippines
0917 – xxx xxxx

Promo ends Feb. 17, Wednesday, at 9:00am (or earlier depending on how fast those pictures come in).

19 Responses to “A Bowl of Batchoy For The Very Brave
(Plus! win yourself a bowl of batchoy; see end of post)”

  • I think you mean “Ilongos” and not “Ilocanos” love for soup. People from Iloilo are Ilongos.


  • ilocano po ba or ilonggo?


  • “In Iloilo, batchoy soup is traditionally free. The Ilocanos’ love for soup even dictates how they eat batchoy: they go for the soup first, usually finishing it, and then they ask for a second serving that they then eat with the batchoy’s traditional accoutrements.”

    ilonggos not ilocanos


  • Thanks for posting this Lori. I’ve been in search for the yummiest La Paz batchoy! :D


  • Yum! Batchoy minus the feeling of sebo is a winner!

    By the way, Ilocanos are from Ilocos and Ilonggos are from Iloilo. :D


  • Hi lori. I think you meant Ilonggos, not Ilocanos? Anyhow, thanks for this, will definitely check out this place when I am in Manila next.


  • ohh…i’ll join because alphaland southgate is very accessible from where we live. :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LORI!!!


  • Finally a reason to visit Alphaland Southgate Mall. I love Batchoy! And it really looks like they are generous with toppings…and chicharon!!

    My benchmark of an authentic batchoy is Ted’s La Paz Batchoy. I can’t wait to compare.

    Btw, Happy Birthday Lori!


  • Hi Lori,

    I think you meant Ilonggos in the second paragraph?



  • This is very near me! YAY! :-D

    I love 21’s batchoy, too. But did you know that Pendy’s has batchoy topped with LECHON?!?!


  • Hi Lori. I think you meant Ilonggos, not Ilocanos?

    Anyhow, thanks for the post. Will definitely check this place out.


  • THIS is the sort of dish I wish Anthony Bourdain had tried when he was here. Vietnam has Pho, Japan has Ramen, China has mami, this bowl of Batchoy is pure pinoy (lotsa innards, big bold flavors, and CHICHARON!!) and looks great as well.



  • yey! i won! thanx again, lori! :D


  • i counted 6 ilonggos and 0 ilocanos. hahaha…
    and that’s 7 with me voting, but i guess it’s already edited. lol.
    anyhoo, i went to ilo-ilo and tasted their own batchoy. i guess something’s really different when u taste the food where it originates from. like bacolod’s lechon manok? it’s heaven if you’re a chicken-lover. i mean love to eat chicken, not love chicken. omg what am i blabbering.


  • i just got the GCs in the mail today. thank you, lori, for your birthday treat! :)


  • Thanks so much for this, Lori.


  • We were supposed to try the la paz batchoy for lunch earlier but we could not seem to find the resto =( will try again next week.


  • Oh, my. Who will not be enticed in eating Deco’s batchoy by your post. Thanks for this delightful foodie story. :)


  • hi lori it’s my first time to ever encounter your blog and yet im already hooked…love the food that you feature i wish i could also visit those restos that you featured..especially those in taguig…..thanks for all of these… :)


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