Puring’s is a cafe in San Fernando Pampanga that was popular from 1950-1990. Today, the place where it once was still serves food but it does not really represent its former glory. It has fallen to neglect and the legacy that my grandmother, Florencia (Lola Puring), has left is reduced to decrepit walls and strangers’ memories of good food and company.
This site is dedicated to all men and women who have worked at Puring’s Cafe. It will take a miracle, and possibly, a long time for someone to revive even half of what it once was. Nobody’s in a hurry.
Built in the early 1950′s, this cafe in San Fernando Pampanga, was popular for its paradadas, a local take on the french toast that not too many people during that time are aware of. Puring was the name of my grandmother and I am writing today because I want to remember how glorious her cafe once was. I wish I could post pictures of the place but sadly, I have not found a decent photo that has not been damaged by flood, humidity (and carelessness!) and all other elements.
My mother took over the management of the place mid-1960s and she would tell stories about how Puring’s Cafe started out, how it came to be the best place for palabok, which is a kind of noodle dish, during that time. Mom said people just loved my Auntie Elsie’s doughnuts, sold at five centavos a piece!
After only a few months of operation after Mom took over when she was 20 years old, fresh from college, she applied for a loan and had the building renovated according to my Uncle Enrique’s draft. According to her, the main reason for fixing the place was that the health and sanitation department was always on her tail.
The building still exists up until today but no longer smells like Chase and Sanborn coffee and wonderful beef mami, which is a noodle soup dish.
Puring’s has silently stood its ground all through several presidencies. It still is there but it’s not even selling food anymore and like a typical plot, it started quietly, developed into an interesting story, climaxed then it experienced a plateau and it rapidly went down, in a not so good way. Sorry, but true
And I don’t want it to disappear without a bang just because I believe in the brand. I believe in Puring’s legacy and I know there are still people out there who would recognize an authentic paradadas, not one that is made with corned beef but one that’s made with thinly sliced pork and chunks of potatoes and freshly-baked De Luxe bakeshop bread–only this time, I’m making the bread and I’m calling the shots.
I think what really got me to sort of (and hopefully!) revive the memory (if not the entire cafe!) was that a mid-aged woman came to my brother, who’s now selling some grocery items at the spot where the Cafe once was and she was asking for these paradadas! In the middle of the night… She’d said that they “used to eat there and it was a nice place.”
Such a shame that only strangers from a long gone era appreciate all the delicious things that the Cafe served. Old people remember it differently and I refuse to let all those nice things disappear. The thing is, it has always been there, just silently waiting for someone to care enough.
Lastly, if you happen to pass by that spot in San Fernando Town Proper, right in the heart of the Old Public Market, at the corner of Abad Santos and V. Tiomico streets, do pay us a visit. My Mom is the woman who sells candies and groceries in the afternoon, she’s hard to miss, at least her hair is. Please let her know you’ve read about Puring’s Cafe.. 🙂
This is my project. Once or twice a month, I would revisit each of the recipes that was on the menu and I hope somewhere I’ll encounter someone who knows about Puring’s Cafe and discover past memories. I’d love to give it a happy ending!
Also, I am not a chef so please be kind. All recipe suggestions will be appreciated! 🙂
Join me on my adventure. Everyone is welcome!