eLyU Foodspotting 101: A Crash Course on La Union’s Food Culture

La Union (eLyU) has become synonymous to surfing and the indie culture that thrives in it. To old-timers, eLyU counters the customary stream of city, and typical beach life. To novices, eLyU is a cornucopia of gastronomic delights you won’t get enough of. Here’s the 101 on what eLyU has to offer the discriminating taste of our beloved millenial and millennial-ish friends. [Read: Where to Stay in La Union]

FB: olpublaunion
IG: olpub_sjlu
Open: 11am-2pm (lunch), 5pm-2am (dinner)

Stretch and recover from the long drive or a binge-drinking night with Ol’ Pub’s selection of rice bowls. From the entrance it looks like your usual side street bar. Then a vintage military jeep grabs your attention, then a floating surf board, next you’re hooked to every nook and cranny.  Unlike other places with vintage vibes, Ol’ Pub is not intimidating at all. The staff doesn’t make you feel weird if it takes you 30 minutes to place your order because IG is life.  They have an assortment of things you would want to order depending on your general state of mind. 
Still hungover? Go for the sinigang with piping hot soup and crispy bagnet-style pork.
Photo by: Jherson Jaya

On a diet-ish? Go for their summer salad. Then maybe spam fries.

Choose what floats your boat

FB: finaloptionbeach
Open: 7am-11pm

A German Bistro awaits to be discovered at P&M Final Option Resort
So many German beers to choose from

Ah, the classic beach-beer combo. Well, Final Option has both, and not just beer but excellent German beers. Pair it up with their sausages, cheese, and sauerkraut and you’ve got the perfect (early) happy hour. 

While you can easily find some of their beers in the supermarket, they are best known for their authentic Schweiger served in a frozen beer glass. They even allow you to fill up your glass for yourself.

Sausage platter with Emmental cheese and sauerkraut
A personal favorite: authentic Schweiger bavarian draft beer 

FB/IG: thefoodprojectlu
Open: 10am-10pm

The Food Project
Consider yourself warned, this could be a triggering area. Make sure to read the note on top. #Hugotfeels

Food parks are staple in Manila’s food culture. So learning that eLyU will be having its own food park is not really a surprise. But in true eLyU fashion, prepare to unlearn your idea of a food park with The Food Project. 

When you come inside, there’s a different homey feel. Friends (what they call the people who work the booths) usher you in with the warmest of smiles. You’ll see ice cream, and coffee, and you immediately know it is a happy place. You’ll of course find a place to sit down to reserve but the well thought-out interiors (and yellow lights), and walk paths make taking selfies irresistible. So you continue to walk as if you’re being pulled by an invisible thread of escalating happiness. By this time you will already notice the excellent variety of food choices here. Nothing is ever the same and you can literally eat your way from Asia to Latin America, and back.

Poke bowl, shrimps, Vietnamese spring rools, ribs. Hangry yet?
Photo by: Lana Caronongan

Get your caffeine fix at Cafe Latino. Be sure to try their Spanish Bombom. It’s life-changing.

Two things I find really special here aside from the food: the washroom, which is cleverly set up, and their Eat Clean Go rule. Essentially, it requires one to be considerate of other people by cleaning as you go. Simple thing yet often ignored.

Tentación Latina from Cafe Latino

As Khenrik Tan, one of the owners, proudly puts it, “Look for the toilet. It’s the landmark.” It is indeed.

Artek Wine Yacht
FB/IG: artekwineyacht
Open: 11am-11pm

Is that a cheese platter? That’s a cheese platter!
Artek Wine Yacht has an ultra sophisticated  feel to it. It’s like mouthing some high-end fashion brand. Until you know what the name means. Artek is derived from bartek, the Ilocano word for drunk, the state you can expect to be in after 2 bottles or so. The “b” in bartek was dropped to make it more fab. The wine yacht is supposed to sound like “why not” when you’re already bartek. Ergo, Artek Wine Yacht. 

Silverboom from Western Cape, South Africa. Santa Conchita from Valle Central, Chile.
Santi Nobile from Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy

I must say, the wine selection is an impressive one as it is the owners’ personal favorites. This is a worthy indulgence to cap off your eLyU weekend, celebrate love and life, or just raise a glass and your middle finger to adulting. 

Not a wine drinker? Well I have two words: Baked brie. It’s crazy how delish this thing is, you’d want to eat it the entire night. What lactose intolerance?

I could eat this forever: baked Brie cheese with honey and almonds.
Fira Beach Club Restaurant
FB: ThunderbirdResortsPoroPoint
IG: thunderbirdresortsandcasinos
Entrance fee: PhP 150 for non-hotel guests

So it’s time to face reality again. Your soul cries out a haunting request for a (sober, or not) last hurrah.  Before heading back, why not drop by the Santorini-inspired Thunderbird Resort and try Fira, one of their four restaurants.  Whet your appetite with their sushi and fresh juices while enjoying a mesmerizing view.

Photo by: Florian Villanueva

Photo by: Florian Villanueva
Whether eLyU happened to you by accident or you sought it out for some me-time, the smorgasbord of food choices will make you coming back for more.

Special thanks to RCL Realty & Consulting Services and partners for your generosity in showing us around and making sure our tummies are happy.

About the Author
Beng Fontiveros works as an analyst for a global bank.  She bonds with Excel from day to night so she loves spending her free time traveling, practicing yoga, or just at home to Netflix and chill.

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