Monday, February 19, 2007

the ultimate pan de sal experience

There is nothing more romantic than having your pan de sal baked the pugon style. Much more so having your warm pan de sal and affording the crisp, early morning or the equally nifty-cold night partnered with a fifteen-peso fresh brew of coffee at the Shell station in Marcos Highway. While it does seem quite a drive all the way there, to be greeted with the waft of freshly baked pan de sal-- pugon style (in a native-brick furnace, firewood-fueled baking)-- it becomes all worth it. It has actually gotten quite a reputation for itself. One afternoon, while I took the chance for a quick indulgent drive for my favorite pan de sal, a group of what would be Manila dwellers stopped by and even literally waited for the bread to bake . . . (since I had apparently consumed 15+2 of it already -- booty for the home, you know.) Each pan de sal costs 3.50, is sized almost more than 2x our normal one-peso pan de sal. Oh, did I say that for every fifteen pieces, you get 2 free pieces? There are brightly colored orange heavy monobloc chairs and tables and an array of "palaman" to choose from-- from non-veg Reno meat spreads to the very veggie strawberry jam. If you're lucky, like when I got there, the main chef or chefs-in-training such as this one in the photo would be so kind as to open that very curious baking trap door-- as I would call it, since I have no other name for it. Then, you can ask questions about how it's done-- what makes pan de pugon so extra special--- soft, sweet, chewy--- all the qualities of comfort food to the max. . . (At this moment, it's almost 12 midnight and I have to control myself from driving outside and getting myself a bag) Pan de Pugon is open, 24 hours. Due to such demand for the bread there are times when you might have to wait or simply lament, for there isn't any left. . . A franchise for this bread outfit will cost close to a million-- according to Manong Benjie, chief chef of Pan de PUgon. hmmmm hmmm hmm!

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