Food Crawl: San Juan, La Union
New eats to try at the Surfing Capital of the North
(SPOT.ph) With the past few years’ tourism boom turning the sleepy town of San Juan,
G/F 134 Beachfront Collective, Urbiz Garden Bed & Breakfast, MacArthur Highway (Manila North Road), San Juan, La Union
Open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Tuesday to Thursday), 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday), and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Saturday to Sunday)
Serving single-origin coffee that is locally sourced (Cocotos Estate in Mt. Apo, Davao del Sur) and roasted (YKW Roasters of EDSA Beverage Design Group), this seaside coffee shop of the new complex in Urbiz Garden Bed & Breakfast is all about sustainability. Try the Espresso (P100) or Pour Over (P140; this month they have Panama Geisha as guest beans), and get P10 off any cup of coffee if you bring your own tumbler or mug. If you don’t have one and would like your coffee to-go, you can buy or borrow a reusable bamboo cup. To borrow, leave a deposit in the form of your keys, your phone (think of it as free storage space while you swim or surf!), or a hundred bucks. Not a coffee fan? Clean Beach also carries draft beer from Engkanto Brewery and fresh, additive-free fruit juices that are best enjoyed with the Kaya Toast with Soft-Boiled Eggs (P150), Fried Chicken Sandwich (P160), or Ohana Burger (P165), a cheesy beef patty with a slice of pineapple.
The Coffee Library
MacArthur Highway (Manila North Road), Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union (in front of Sebay Resort)
Open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Monday to Friday), and 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. (Saturday to Sunday)
Looking for a jolt of strong Vietnamese coffee? Head to The Coffee Library for the Caphe Sua Chua (P95), a thick, yogurt-infused blend; the
Tipple and Brew
MacArthur Highway (Manila North Road), Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union (beside The Coffee Library)
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Joining the happy-hour scene in San Juan is this craft beer and cocktail bar that launched this October. Toast to a day well spent at the beach with the best-selling Martial Law IPA (P130), Surfing Banana Wheat Beer (P90), or Vanilla Bourbon Porter (P130), paired with crowd-favorite pulutan dishes Pandesal Adobo Sliders (P130), Crispy Chicken Isaw (P110), and Bacon-Wrapped Sausage (P160). If you’re looking for heftier post-surf grub, try the Fried Garlic Chicken (P150), Grilled Chicken (P180), Grilled Pork (P180), or Beef Bulgogi (P200). Not much of a beer drinker? The Frozen Margarita (P120), Green Apple Mojito (P100), or Bullfrog (P120) will hit the spot.
The Great Northwest Philippines Travel Stop & Viewing Deck
MacArthur Highway (Manila North Road), Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union
From the group behind Beach Hub, the co-working space on the second floor of El
The Great Northwest Philippines Travel Stop and Viewing Deck, MacArthur Highway (Manila North Road), Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union
Open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Thursday to Monday)
A trip to San Juan isn’t really complete without one of these pretty, healthy, and tasty smoothie bowls. Makai Bowls has moved from their corner at Flotsam and Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel to their own space at The Great Northwest Philippines Travel Stop & Viewing Deck behind
Great Gamble Seafood Shack
The Great Northwest Philippines Travel Stop & Viewing Deck, MacArthur Highway (Manila North Road), Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union
From a stall in
MacArthur Highway (Manila North Road), San Juan, La Union (across Vessel Hostel)
Contact: 0945-312-9004, 0921-761-1784
Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Monday to Friday) and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Saturday to Sunday)
A seaside play on the Thai term for hello, Seawadeeka is the surf town’s go-to for heaping, piping hot containers of Thai food. Their street-side location and punchy flavors take you right back to the street stalls of Bangkok. For a hearty spread, order the savory-sweet Shrimp Pad Thai (P170), slurp-your-bowl-clean Laksa Lemak (P170), and the new Beef Banh Mi (P195), then wash it down with a refreshing glass of Thai Iced Tea (P95), Kopi C (P80), or Milo Dinosaur (P80). Seawadeeka is located across Vessel Hostel, but you can still spot its charming little blue truck driving around San Juan for private bookings.
MacArthur Highway (Manila North Road), San Juan, La Union
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
You can’t miss this Mexican taqueria; it’s right on the side of the road with a huge, colorful skull mural—a preview of the fun, hang-loose vibe inside. Co-owned by pro-surfer Luke Landrigan, Olas Banditos is the place to be if you’re craving for generous, freshly made tacos, nachos, burritos, quesadilla, fries, and churros to go with your post-surf beer, margarita, or mojito. Must-tries include the Ilocos Norte Burrito (P250), Carnitas Burrito (P210), Carne Asada Quesadilla (P150), and Carnitas Taco (P75), and Horchata (P90). With all the festive colors and patterns from the murals to the tables and chairs, you won’t run out of snap-worthy spots for your Instagram.