Batanes is so much blessed with rolling evergreen hills, overlooking the vast seas of the Pacific ocean, and west Philippines seas coupled with the extraordinary warmth of the Ivatan people.
And these are just some of the few things that everyone typically adds to their must-see in Batanes bucket lists.
However, little did people know that more than the greens and the happy and kind people, your Batanes escapade will never be complete without the taste of its own delicious and meticulously made local cuisines.
While we want to make our dream Batanes come true, we highly suggest you take into serious consideration the rich food culture that Batanes has to offer and savor the wholeness of what is it to be like a real Ivatan.
Where to Eat in Batanes Like a Real Ivatan
We have tried a couple of restaurants that serve local dishes but one canteen stood out: Hiro Joy Cuisines Canteen or more known as Hiro’s Cafe Batanes.
Hiro’s Cafe Batanes
Hiro Joy Canteen or Hiro’s Cafe is owned and operated by the Mother-Son tandem, Mrs. Lidia Roberto and Hiro Roberto.
Derived from the name of Mrs. Roberto’s son Hiro and Hiro’s wife, Joy, this 14+-year-old Batanes pride should be on your foodie list when visiting Batanes.
Located corner Abad St. Corner Argonza St., Hiro Joy is the fruit of the passion-driven and hardworking co-owner, Mrs. Lidia Roberto.
Tita Lidia, as most call her, is indeed a Batanes blessing.
Her hobby-turned-business is a true depiction of her love for the preservation of Batanes and its local cuisines.
We have been in Batanes for more than a week and while we tried different canteens and restaurants, Hiro’s Cafe was indeed heaven on earth that you have to try when in Batanes. Yes, trust us on this!
What’s Inside Hiro Joy Canteen Batanes
This amazing canteen has already fed hundreds or maybe thousands of Batanes guests who also want to experience the island through its delicious cuisines.
From big names in the entertainment industry to highly influential people, Tita Lidia of Hiro’s Cafe has been their all-time go-to person when in Batanes for caterings and Ivatan foods.
Upon entrance, you will already see the wall at the right filled with love letters to Tita Lidia and Hiro’s Cafe.
These letters serve as an inspiration to Hiro’s Cafe to continue serving quality Batanes dishes. It’s refreshing to see that Hiro’s Cafe is really consistent in serving the best to its customers and to make them feel like a real Ivatan through its food.
Weren’t able to write an appreciation letter to Ms. Lidia but this blog will serve as my utmost respect and love for this canteen.
What to Eat at Hiro Joy Canteen in Batanes
What we liked most about the dishes that Hiro Joy Canteen is serving is that all of it as a touch of the Batanes food culture.
It’s been years since we started reviewing restaurants and to tell you honestly, this is the first time that we can fully say that the consistency in all the food that was served to us is extra.
From the appetizers to the main dishes plus the desserts (oh, boy, the desserts are amazing!), every centavo is worth it at Hiro Joy Canteen.
Listed below are just some of the many dishes to try at Hiro Joy.
1. Lunyis – Ivatan’s Pork Adobo
This pork adobo ala Ivatan style is served with turmeric rice, camote fries/camote chips and uved when you eat at Hiro Cafe.
This is one of the staples in Batanes and will leave you wanting for more. We promise that this is best served with Hiro Cafe’s turmeric rice! One of the best features of this canteen is that they make sure they have the taste of authentic Batanes cuisines with a little experiment of herbs and spices on the side.
2. Venes – Batanes’ Laing
Venes is a local version of laing. It is made of dried gabi stalk (taro) that can last for years. When in Hiro’s Cafe, make sure to pair this with their flavorful Fish Lumpia.
4. Grilled Fish Tanigue
If you are into fish, you should not miss Hiro’s Grilled Fish Tanigue!
This grilled fish Tanigue is seasoned with herbs and dressed in coconut cream. This is served perfectly with turmeric rice, grilled vegetables, and kamote chips.
5. Tamiduk Salad
Tamiduk Salad, commonly known as Pako, is one of the Ivatan’s favorite Batanes vegetable dishes. Abundant in Batanes, Tamiduk is best served as salad with olives and tomatoes with olive oil.
6. Grilled Spareribs with Pineapple
For a person who is not fond of anything sweet as the main dish, this grilled spareribs with pineapple came in a surprise because I never thought I would love it so much!
This grilled spareribs is best paired with the unusually tasty kamote chips!
7. Marida or Taveh (Ivatan Escargot)
This forest harvested kuhol or escargot is not that new to me since we also lived in the province when I was young but this one is a little different.
The kuhol is cooked with the native coconut, added with a little spice, and herbs! Tita Lidia also has a little secret of why their marida is different from others! One of the best, indeed!
9. Batanes Mussels
This Batanes staple is one of the favorites on the island. I am not that into mussels but I love their soup!
10. Homemade Tapa
This homemade tapa is the best one at Hiro! I love that the meat is so tender and juicy. The garlic added to the top makes the tapa more flavourful!
11. Tinolang Manok
Hiro Cafe’s savory Tinolang Manok is perfect for cold dinner night after your long day! They also have other soups like corn soup, nilagang baka, and sinigang na baboy.
12. Beef Steak
Best paired with tinolang manok is Hiro’s beef steak!
13. Sinigang na Baboy
Personal favorite forever! When I saw that there’s a Sinigang na Baboy, I knew what to order already. I can still remember waiting patiently for the Sinigang and it was worth the wait! Also, I loved that the vegetables are not that cooked and a little crunchy.
The soup is super maasim too!
14. Fish Spring rolls
Perfect with any soup, this crunchy tuna spring rolls is a must-try when in Hiro’s Cafe.
Hiro Joy Canteen’s Desserts
- Graham Cake
When I get back to Batanes, I promised myself to eat this graham cake right after I landed! Thought it was just a normal ‘graham cake’? Well yes, but with a twist. Tita Lidia’s graham cake is topped with nuts straight from the states and the graham itself is unusually super soft and super tasteful with every munch!
- Buko salad
This is one of the desserts that I will never forget at Hiro’s Cafe because of a group of tourists who ordered a lot of buko salads! This dessert costs P50. A little pricey but worth every bite!
- Bukayo Rolls
This is made with the usual bukayo but added with lemongrass and pandan leaves. This is not the usual hard bukayo as this was carefully prepared and cooked well before serving.
Hiro Joy Canteen’s Home Made Drinks
- Max Cold Tubho Tea – Tubho (wild fern), lemon, moringa leaves, and honey
These are just some of the many Batanes local dishes that you have to try if you are planning to go to this beautiful island of Batanes.
Hiro Joy Canteen Menu
Of course, we never leave a restaurant without taking pictures of the menu!
As I observed, Tita Lidia makes sure every single dish that is being served to the customers is at its best.
We even saw tourists ordering dessert after dessert with great amazement!
We highly suggest you visit not just the tourist destinations of Batanes but also the canteens/restaurants that offer authentic Batanes dishes. Besides, you’re already in Batanes, go grab all the opportunities to know this beautiful province more!
So, where to eat in Batanes? Here at Hiro Joy Canteen!