Tambayan sa Kanto, Podium: Ilokano Food Offerings + Live Band Performances

Acoustic night tambayan sa kanto podium

Last Friday, a group of Friday night-loving bloggers got invited to an evening of good food and music at Tambayan sa Kanto, Podium Ortigas. Being Friday, traffic in the area is definitely a concern, but I got there from Pasig in thirty minutes by FX. Tambayan sa Kanto is located at the backside of Podium if you’re entering from ADB Avenue entrance.

Tambayan sa Kanto has been around since October 20, 2011, but had undergone a change in management last February 2013. With the new management, they wish to offer these new menu featuring dishes and recipes from Ilocos. They’re doing a major revamp of the place and the menu, so it’s something we should all look out for.

It’s a two-floor small restaurant with the stage welcoming you upon entering from their main entrance. What I especially liked about Tambayan is that they have an indoor smoking area for smokers. Not that I smoke, but it seemed different, with most restaurants and food establishments keeping smokers outside. I just thought that with an indoor smoking area, even smokers get to enjoy the ambiance of the place more.

We took our seats on the second floor, and got ourselves a long table for our big group. From the second floor, you’ll be able to see the stage and enjoy the music once the live band starts their performance at 9 PM. The place is pretty cold, so be sure to bring a jacket or something to keep you warm. We had to wait a while for our food, but the Wifi connection from Megamall kept us bloggies busy while waiting.

Tambayan sa Kanto Podium

Special Empanada with Vinegar

First served was A Duo of Empanada (155php). We were served one piece of the two, and I was lucky to get the Special Empanada. I didn’t get to try the Ordinary Empanada, but the Special Empanada had a little spice in it from the longganisa. I feel it needs more longganisa to keep the empanada flavorful. It was a little too cooked as well, with the Empanada red in color instead of the usual orange. Since overcooked, the shell was crispier than should be. But when dipped in their special spiced vinegar, the combination was great. This can be shared with someone if you wish, because after a half of the empanada, you’d probably feel like moving on to your next dish.

See the black bits in the upper left corner? That’s the bit of longganisa inside the Special Empanada


Tambayan sa Kanto Podium

Ensaladang Filipino (158php)

The Ensaladang Filipino, priced at 158php might make a better sidedish if the ingredients were chopped/sliced finer. I’m not sure as to how Ensaladas should be, but at home, we have it finely chopped to make a good side dish. Just my two cents.

Tambayan sa Kanto Podium

Bagbagis (220php)

The Bagbagis, Ilokano for intestine, is a must-try, simply because it’s not a common item in most restaurants. It’s cooked fried to crisp, a little salty, and tasted better with generous amounts of vinegar. I like it, even if it was a little too crispy to bite with ease.

Tambayan sa Kanto Podium

Pancit Canton -Vegetarian (229php)

The Pancit Canton Vegetarian was one of the dishes I really liked, despite it being too saucy or oily. This dish, priced at 228php can be shared by two to four people. It felt like this dish should be really healthy, but the amount of oil in it might make you think otherwise. Regardless, if this is how pancit canton is prepared in Ilocos, then it tasted great. This dish appealed to me mainly because it tasted sweet, which is unusual for pancit.

Tambayan sa Kanto Podium

Beef Caldereta (310php)

The Beef Caldereta was another group favorite. The sauce was flavorful, and the meat tender to bite. However, me being a bigger fan of vegetables, I decided to have more of the veggies than anyone in our group, and found that it was hard to chew, and that it needs to be a little more tender.

Tambayan sa Kanto Podium

Bagnet with KBL (Kamatis, Bagoong, Lasona) at 430php

The Bagnet. I have very few words for this. It might have affected my blood pressure from just looking at it. By the way, lasona is Ilokano for Sibuyas, so don’t fear. Priced at 430php, it’s something, I believe, members of a group (of 8?) should enjoy in small servings, lest you want to drop dead from a heart attack. It was too salty for my taste.

Tambayan sa Kanto Podium

Tinapa Rice (115php)

The Tinapa Rice is another favorite, and I think one of those dishes that would top the list of value-for-money among the many items in the menu. Despite me not being a big rice eater, I actually like mixed rice. The combination of tomatoes, salted egg, and tinapa was really appetizing, I could not resist eating.


Tambayan sa Kanto Podium

Ipon (358php)

For soup, The Ipon (not hipon, mind you) priced at 358php, was very tasty, and can be shared by a group of six to eight. The price is a little steep for soup, but this is because this small fish, also known as silver fish, is seasonally caught from brackish water, which makes it very rare. This ipon soup is a specialty from Laoag. Must-try because of its rarity.

Tambayan sa Kanto Podium


After all the food that we ate, we were excited to have some dessert downstairs near the live band. The singer performing that night was Vince Alaras, former lead singer of Southborder.

Vince Alaras live

Tambayan sa Kanto live band

Acoustic Night with Vince Alaras

Tambayan sa Kanto Live band

Vince Alaras performed swoon-worth serenades that were enjoyed and joined by people in the audience.

Tambayan sa Kanto Podium

Turon Halo-halo

For desserts, we had Turon Halo-halo, which was delicious especially because of the ube/halo-halo sauce.

Tambayan sa Kanto Podium

Turon with Langka Sauce

Comapred to the Turon Halo-halo, the Turon with Langka Sauce was dry and less tasty. The banana was more difficult to chew in the Turon with Langka Sauce.

Tambayan sa Kanto Podium

Katipunan Indio Pale Ale (160php)

For drinks, this was my first time to try Katipunan Indio Pale Ale, which was steeply priced at 160php per bottle. The heavier beer drinkers said it tasted really good. I’m not big on drinking beer, so it tasted quite okay for me, and more tolerable than the usual San Mig Pale.

Will I come back? Yes. Personally, the menu offerings Tambayan sa Kanto has is a mixed bag for me. It could be because they’re still trying out new things, with the new management taking over the place barely two months ago. I loved that they’re featuring Ilokano dishes on their menu, but some dishes need more flavor, and more thought. I liked the fact that they have live band performances every Friday and Saturdays, which makes the place a cozy Friday/weekend hangout. The only thing that saddened me was that very few people know about Tambayan sa Kanto and their live performances every Friday and Saturday. Most probably since Podium closes at 9PM, and the live performances start at 9PM as well. I know that there are lots of people just looking for a cool place to chill on Friday nights (me included), and this is a place I’d definitely go to with some friends to relax and unwind, and talk the night away until the place closes at 2 in the morning.

Like Tambayan sa Kanto’s Facebook Page and Follow Tambayan sa Kanto on Twitter for updates on promos and live performances. -HANA

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