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in Iloilo is a favorite snack of locals
and a favorite pasalubong of tourists
Whenever somebody would go to Iloilo, I would desire that they would bring back Roberto’s Siopao. But as far as I can remember, I haven’t eaten it fresh. Since it is brought home as Iloilo pasalubong, we usually receive ours at night and we get to eat it the following day–after it was frozen and reheated.
If there is one thing I really like for snacks, that is siopao. There is something about this hot meat bun (“sio pao” is a Chinese term that literally translates to “hot bun”) that beckons to me. But I don’t like all kinds of siopaos. There are those that have a great proportion of bread–I don’t like that. There are those whose filling don’t live up in flavor. I especially like pork, then bola bola, then lastly, chicken. So yeah, I like pretty much all of the meat fillings.
Honestly, I didn’t know that there are variants of Roberto’s siopao. I always receive the one wrapped in blue, probably because it’s cheaper, so it’s the only thing that’s usually given to us. I assumed that’s the only kind. But when we finally went there ourselves, I learned that there are actually four kinds.
Four Kinds of Roberto’s Siopao
Roberto’s Queen Siopao. This is the most expensive at P90. It has Bacon and Chinese Sausage, chicken-pork adobo, and egg.
Roberto’s King Siopao. This is a bit smaller and contains Ham and Chinese Sausage, Chicken-Pork Adobo, and egg. It’s P75 each.
Roberto’s Jumbo Siopao. Chinese Sausage, Chicken-Pork Adobo, and egg. P55.
Roberto’s Regular Siopao. The regular siopao only has pork adobo and egg. P39.
We only had two kinds– the King and Queen. Guess who got what?
Hubby, of course, got the king while I got the queen and we just shared them with the kids. They cannot finish a whole siopao anyway. So hubby and I also shared ours so that we could taste both. And we were in for a surprise. The Roberto’s Queen Siopao trumps the King Siopao–hands down! So I told you that I like almost all kinds of siopao meats in a particular order? Well, the Queen siopao had the flavors of everything and it just translates beautifully. The flavor is full bodied and I appreciate how the flavors melded together and it was just a carnival with each bite. Even the sliced boiled egg inside that has been flavored with the sauce is so oddly satisfying. YOU DON’T NEED SAUCE FOR ROBERTO’S SIOPAO.
The dough is soft because finally, we get to eat a fresh siopao. But it is not immaculately white, so I kinda wondered why. I am so used to white dough siopao. But I guess the bun is not so white because it is seasoned and further enhances the flavor of the siopao.
Roberto’s–The One and Only
Roberto’s siopao may be bought in some outlets in Iloilo and also in Bacolod restaurants, but Roberto’s only has one restaurant where they have been operating for decades. And that is at J.M. Basa Street, Iloilo City Proper, Iloilo, Philippines. It’s a busy downtown area so it’s not advisable to bring big luggage here. And the queue for take out could be very long.
We planned to go there on our way home to Bacolod, but eventually we decided to go there the day before because I didn’t think we could manage the kids and the luggage together. It would be cumbersome bumping into others, too. And I was right. We hope to be able to go back there really soon. I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh Roberto’s queen siopao so much better than when it’s just reheated.
At Roberto’s, they also serve meals. One of the popular items that we saw was the skewered meat balls. There were piles of them in the kitchen and on the display area. One stick is P27 and so I ordered one. It was okay, a very cheap but filling meal if you paired it with rice. So I guess that is why many people flock here. It is served with a special sauce.
Roberto’s has maintained the quality of their siopao and well as kept their business intact by staying in one place. They did not spread themselves too thin. But the business continues and I think everyone will just keep on coming back here.
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