May 23, 2024

My feet brought me to Dagupan City, Pangasinan after more than three years. It was not a pleasant trip given the rains, flood, and high tide as factors to deal with. Breakfast at the Monarch Hotel was the blessing to make up for all the travails of the trip to and back. This hotel is one of the newer places for accommodations.

Chicken tocino is the healthier alternative to the pork counterpart.
Danggit dried salted fish is a Pilipino must in the first meal.
Baked beans is one of the breakfast foods for the protein charge for the day.

The secret of the buffet breakfasts anywhere is to make sure that you have everything that anyone would look for, no matter the nationality. I was suddenly transported to Kunming, China where representatives from different Asian cultures met to celebrate the film industry. There was congee or noodles for the south Asians or bread and all kinds of egg preparations for those influenced by the west.

Groupies because the wallpaper backdrop is unique and beautiful and fun with good old friends.

Pandesal is a must in my breakfast list. The ube pandesal and slices of whole wheat bread with butter and jam are among musts for me. The breads at Monarch are popular, according to a friend, particularly the dinner buns that are pillowy soft and buttery. This goes well with the omelet with everything in it like mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and cheese. There is a sandwich station that may be preferred by the Westerners who like bacon and fresh vegetables in it. You can request for crispy fried strips too. There is also the cereal station with oatmeal for those who want safe options.

All the ingredients you might want for a hearty breakfast.

The Pinoy palate needs plain rice or garlic fried rice with tocino, danggit, baked beans, and fried eggs. The tocino is chicken and not the pork counterpart which is the chef’s version made with the breasts. The danggit was not too salty and could have been sourced locally. These small butterfly cut fishes fried to a crisp go well with their sweet vinegar concoction. The baked beans are sweet and like the canned popular type. The salty and sweet blends with the garlic friend rice will satisfy the locals anytime. Of course, beef tapa must be included, tender and savory.  

Tiny pancakes are for me too. The size was logical for me because I just wanted to satisfy my craving for this with butter and maple syrup. This reveals the reason to have all the butter I want in the times that I returned to the buffet tables. These were soft and fluffy.

Sandwich station with bacon and cheese as main ingredients.

The fruits corner was filled with local produce, it seemed. The purple Dragon fruit was sweetest with the papaya and pineapple. It was the grapes that were tart. These were sourced locally and familiar if you have been to the La Union grape farms. But this to me was a good ending to my long breakfast with friends I had not seen in a long time. It was satisfying to know that this hotel supports the local fruit farmers.

Breakfast wasn’t all that makes this hotel interesting, the wallpaper was beautiful as backdrop to groupies and selfies. The large painting in the lobby was an interesting memento to this special encounter with good old friends. If you should find a need to stay in the Dagupan City vicinity, this fairly new hotel should be a good option for its proximity and safe location away from the flood waters. A hearty breakfast buffet is the best way to touch base with friends and prolong the conversation with food.