Latest Adventures

Pondahan Restaurant, West Covina


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One Saturday, we visited Pondahan Restaurant, a Filipino restaurant located across the mall in West Covina. My parents seem to like this place, as they talk about it quite often, and like to take people there to eat from time to time. I was excited to try this place and compare it to its rival, Salo Salo Grill, which I love.

We actually ordered quite a lot of food when we were there, as we usually do. For starters, we ordered Shrimp Okoy, which is somewhat like an fried egg pancake with shrimp, bean sprouts and other quick-cooking veggies. It is served with a side of vinegar for dipping. I thought it was decent, but it could have been pulled from the fryer a few seconds before.

We also ordered Lumpiang Shanghai, something most people think of when Filipino food is mentioned. Lumpiang Shanghai contain pork, carrots, garlic, some onion, wrapped up into mini egg rolls using egg wrapper, then fried to golden brown perfection and served with a sweet chili sauce. This is by far the boys' favorite dish, I think they ate most of it.

Pictured below is the Kare Kare, an oxtail stew that includes bok choy, eggplant, chinese string beans in a peanut butter sauce. It is served with bagoong (shrimp paste) on the side. It is usually enjoyed with some steamed rice. Today, we ordered some garlic fried rice, which is great by itself. Although I usually enjoy this dish, it tasted a little bland. Not even the shrimp paste could save it.

I was looking forward to the Pancit Malabon, which is rice noodles cooked with a shrimp sauce and usually includes shrimp, hard boiled egg slices, pieces of pork and sprinkled with chicarron and fried garlic. It is one of my all-time favorite dishes, but again, I was disappointed due to lack of flavor.

But my disappointment was assuaged by this next dish, easily the highlight of the meal, the Crispy Pata. It is a pork leg that is deep fried to golden perfection so you can enjoy the cripsy skin and the tender meat. This was accompanied by some Mang Tomas sauce and some vinegar with garlic for dipping.

Although I thought that it had nice ambiance, overall, I was slightly disappointed by Pondahan; I really had high expectations, especially since my folks really liked it. I think that Salo Salo Grill still stands as my favorite in the area.