by Jeeves de Veyra
Tita Lulu’s Especial Palabok, Tokwa’t Baboy atbp. is one of San Juan’s best kept foodie secrets.
Ever since I was a kid, I was a pancit palabok fanatic. I discovered Tita Lulu’s through my sister. It so happened that the owner’s son was her batchmate in UST.
“Kuya, sa kanila nagoorder yung mga mayayaman sa Greenhills pag pasko.”
That was enough to pique my curiosity. After finally getting to taste a forkful, I was hooked.
Back then, this food business was operated out of a house on the side streets of Sta. Mesa. I remember getting lost in the area, getting stuck in those narrow byways just to bring home a bilao (or two, or three) of palabok.
Years later, Tita Lulu’s Palabok finally moved out of the narrow side streets into the carinderia row in the old San Juan City Hall parking lot. These days, it’s now home to the San Juan Gym and a Fire Station.
If you’re planning to go there, point Waze to the old San Juan Agora Market where a Puregold now stands. The parking lot where Tita Lulu’s is located is just across the street. Parking spaces are limited because there are market stalls set up.
Tita Lulu has pancit bihon, pancit canton and other party food, but for me. The star is still their palabok and pancit malabon. Ordered with a side of their extra crispy tokwa’t baboy with their sweet soy vinegar sauce, they’re perfect an ideal combination to bring to family reunions and office get-togethers.
If you do get to peek inside the kitchen, you’ll see bags upon bags of chicharon which they crush into a sort of powder. This powdered porky goodness is pressed into a layer in between the noodle of your choice (either the thick noodles used in luglug or malabon, or thin bihon noodles. Personally, I prefer the thin noodles) and heaps of their secret palabok gravy.
If you do eat in, you’re in for a hearty meal that’s cheap and hearty. Get the palabok for sixty bucks and a bowl of tokwa’t baboy for another sixty bucks. The tables are disinfected after every
Eat them as separate dishes, or do what I do. Dump the tokwa’t baboy on top of the pancit palabok, mix, and eat. Not a bad way to spend 120 pesos.
Tita Lulu’s still does brisk business during the holidays as they’re deluged by orders come December. If you do order, call ahead to minimize your wait time. Call 0916-585-8113 for the San Juan Branch or 0917-861-5137 for the Cubao branch.