Culinary Adventure in the Shoe Capital

By Mary Ann Jocson

Who would think that the city where killer heels, sleek black shoes, and sandals to-die-for are being made also offers an enjoyable dining experience?

Distinct delicacies of a certain locality best articulate the rich history and culture that such place is known for. Marikina City which has an interesting blend of Chinese and Spanish cultures, cradles mouth-watering delicacies that give diners a delightful gastronomic journey. Among the well-loved signature dishes of the Shoe Capital are Everlasting, Woknatoy, and Laoya which tourists would not want to miss when setting foot in the Shoe Capital.


EVERLASTING is like embutido in a different shape.

EVERLASTING is like embutido in a different shape.

No, not the lei of dried straw flowers abundant in the highlands but rather an oblong-shaped meatloaf-like dish that is often served during feast days in Marikina. Named after being ever-present in Marikenian occasions like birthdays and religious celebrations like Christmas and Spanish-inspired feast days, Everlasting is one of the must-try dishes. This culinary explosion of different flavors of ground pork, sausages, cheese, carrots, hard-boiled boiled egg, and different spices, is made by sauteing the aforementioned ingredients together, placing in a “llanera” (aluminum mold) and steaming to perfection. This meticulous method of cooking ensures longer shelf life of this dish. Everlasting goes well with rice or bread. From PhP30 for a solo llanera to PhP130 that serves 3 to 5 persons, Everlasting is available at Pan de Amerikana Restaurant, Kusina ni Kambal/Cocina, Marikina Public Market, Remy’s Puto.

Woknatoy (Waknatoy)

WOKNATOY is like Menudo with pickles.

WOKNATOY is like Menudo with pickles.

Another homegrown dish is the Woknatoy (also called Waknatoy), a funnyname given by the locals due to some Chinese settlers’ complaint about how frequent the dish was served during small gatherings such as meetings, and gettogethers. It is said that when the host of the house or events offered this to the visiting friends, the visitors would often say in dismay, “Ito na naman? Wag na oy! (This dish again? No way!)” Since the Chinese settlers could not pronounce it well, it was then named Woknatoy (Wag na oy!). Since the dish is a variety of Menudo, it has the same preparation and ingredients except for the addition of pickles. The dish is cooked by combining diced pork pieces together with sausage slices, carrot and potato cubes, crushed tomatoes, pickle relish, tomato sauce, oregano, and bay leaf until its sauce thickens. You can’t say no to Pan de Amerikana Restaurant and Kusina ni Kambal/Cocina waknatoy at PhP30-PhP60 per serving.

Laoya (Lauya)

LAOYA is Marikina's version of Nilaga.

LAOYA is Marikina’s version of Nilaga.

Lastly, the dish “Laoya” (sometimes called Lauya) which originated from the Ilocanos, can be compared with the typical Nilagang Baka except for the addition of luya (ginger), garlic and sweet potatoes (camote). The dish is cooked by adding those ingredients in the broth and boiling altogether with the beef, baguio beans, pepper, and cabbage until the broth is ready and the beef has tendered. Most people would be confused by Laoya’s taste as it is similar to Nilagang Baka or Tinola with beef as the main ingredient instead of chicken. A taste of Laoya is just PhP60 at Kusina ni Kambal/Cocina (by schedule) What do these three authentic dishes prove is that Marikina City is not only known for its people’s shoe-making skills but for their creativity in the culinary arena. The next time anyone drops by Marikina, it’s wise that he must not only scout around for the finest shoes and footwear, but also for the signature dishes that will make his journey to the Shoe Capital more fun and interesting. Just make sure that there is enough room in the stomach as well as in the baggage for these to-die-for pasalubongs.


  1. Reblogged this on Turismo Mismo!.

    • Anonymous says:

      My father originates the lauya in Marikina and as far as I know it does not have ginger.

      Nanong Goto-Lauya sa sabungan

  2. Laura has no ginger, it’s basically garlic, onions (white) and lots of Chinese chives. Kalitiran beef and sweet camote.

  3. Lauya” sorry 🙂

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