Aling Lucy Payawal Art of Atchara Making

Aling Lucila “Lucy”Payawal who is in her mid-70’s is known for her famous achara/atsara/atchara and kalamay sa latik native recipes.


Aling or Tita Lucila ” Lucy” Paywal

Heirloom Recipes

Aling Lucila ” Lucy” Payawal brother is the father of Mr. Edward Payawal who is the proprietor of Thumbs Up restaurant, while the mother of Ms. Kat Garcia( wife of Sir Ervin Garcia) is the sister of Aling Lucy who hails from the Payawal clan.

According to Sir Lebon Ong and some local food historian, local atchara/achara / atsara was originally an Indian pickle dish with an alternate spelling called “achaar”. These are from pickled vegetables or fruits. Similar pickled vegetable are also found in neighboring southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Also called ” Acar” or ” Atjar, in Dutch.

Vegetables or fruits are finely chopped and marinated in brine or edible oils along with different Indian spices and food coloring.


atsara/ atchara/ achara

But the Philippine version is a hybrid of both Indian and Southeast Asian, minus the spiciness but with stronger vinegar and adding achuete/atsuete/ annatto as coloring.


atsara/ achara/ atchara

Since the late Spanish and American administration, San Miguel town is already popular for her achara/ atsara/ atchara, preserve minamis na santol and dayap, kalamay, pastillas de leche. These are normally serve on special occasions like fiesta, birthdays or visiting tourists.


Ms. Cristina Gonzales – a local atsara/ achara/ atchara, kakanin maker and seller from San Miguel, Bulacan together with Architect Ervin Garcia

I would remember that my dad would always bring locally made achara / atsara from San Miguel. The atsara / achara from the town taste milder and the papaya is grated finely compared to the ones being sold within Metro Manila.

In some parts of the country the ingredients may vary depending on the availability, some may use jicama,picama/singkamas , cucumber (pipino ), slices of ginger, onions or shallots ( sibuyas tagalog).


Aling Lucila Payawal

She also does her pickled papaya and creates Kalamay sa latik (sweet glutinous sticky rice) with latik.

This start with choosing the right ingredients since not all varieties of papaya can be use for making achara/ atsara. Sir Lebon Ong shared that the preferred ones are called ” susong matanda” papaya, These papayas are elongated shaped like breast of an old woman, hence the local common name.


Aling Lucy Pawayal folding the cheese cloth with grated green papaya

She also uses cheese cloth/ katsa, grater, sweet green syrup, carrots, raisins, onions, red bell pepper.

She is also careful in handling the young papaya. She would soak them in water with salt to minimize the papaya getting brown and make her hands itchy.

She also uses a small amount of alum power (tawas) just before squeezing the water content. She does heirloom recipes that is worth sharing and publishing in recipe books.


bottled atchara/ atsara/ achara made by Aling Lucy Payawal

Aling Lucy Payawal special heirloom atsara/ atchara/ achara is available at Arki’s Grill and Thumbs Up restaurant and upon reservation.

Phone no: 09158653540

Contact Person: Mr. Edward Payawal

Contact Persons: Sir Ervin or Mrs. Kat Garcia

  Phone no. 0935 889 1003


Personal interview with Aling Lucilla ” Lucy ” Pawayal, Ms. Cristina Gonzales, Sir Lebon Ong.

Arsana, Lother (2013). “Authentic Recipes from Indonesia”. Tuttle Publishing. pp. 31–32. ISBN 9781462905355. Retrieved 9 February 2015.


Two Thumbs Up at Thumbs Up Restaurant

Two Thumbs Up for Thumbs Up grill and restaurant. This is our midway stopover at the San Miguel Culinary and Heritage Tour.


Thumbs Up restaurant frontage with several bonsai display

The restaurant started about 5 years ago and had since expanded to cater a bigger crowd. The place specializes on different grilled and sizzling plate dishes.


Thumbs Up

The sitting capacity of the restaurant is between 80-90 people at any given time. The restaurant had a small are where collection of bonsai, native ferns and ixora or  (santan / tangpupo/ tangpopo/ jungle flame) are neatly arranged.


Santan / Tangpupo/ Tangpopo bonsai

The place is ideal for hang-out place for friends, family and travelers. Among the specialties includes kilawin na tanigue, a type of Narrow-barred Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson).


Kilawin na Tanigue

The art of marination uses raw tanigue neatly cubed into bite sized bits. The marination which uses the a combination of vinegar, calamansi and ground pepper. Then topped with freshly sliced onions, thinly sliced ginger, green chilies, bird’s eye chilies .  The dish is not too sour and the meat is very tender. A good starter dish.


Sizzling bulalo steak

Sizzling bulalo steak (P190) is another specialty of the place. The beef meat and bone marrow is tender while it is covered up with gravy.  Added with fried garlic, It infused  more flavors to the dish. The meat was very tender and any rice would greatly compliment the gravy ! MUST TRY.


Pork sisig

Pork sisig is another in house specialty of the restaurant. They added fresh sunny side up egg on top. With lots of chopped onions, bird’s eye chilies and finger chilies. The best way to eat this is to mix it and scramble the egg together with the meat on the sizzling plate while it is still hot.


Sizzling squid on plate (P120) had a lot of chopped onions, red bell peppers and tomatoes. The sweetness of the sauce and fresh tomatoes are an added treat .


Pancit is generously topped with squid balls, liver, chicken meat, chicken innards carrots, cabbage topped with fried garlic.


Bibingkang Malagkit or Biko

 Biko is known in San Miguel as Bibingkang Malagkit. Bibingkang Malagkit is made of glutinous rice, coconut milk, brown sugar is perfectly sweet, creamy and chewy. Topped with sweetened coconut spread seasoned with Citrus aurantifolia (dayap zest)  a local species of key lime, topped with grated cheese and latik. Another popular dessert.


Atsara / Achara

This is the home-style family atchara / atsara is an heirloom family recipe that is  serve at the restaurant.  The green papaya was finely grated with lots of ingredients like carrots,bell peppers and raisins. It is not too sour and had a mild taste. The dish is normally eaten together with any grilled meat dishes and helps to clean the palate.


Kalamay sa Latik

Kalamay sa Latik is everyone’s  favorite. It is sticky glutinous rice cakes soaked in pandan-like syrup topped with latik. This is not commonly prepared in Metro Manila. One reason is that the art of making the kalamay is a tedious process.


Address: Tecson Street, Barangay Poblacion, 3011 San Miguel Bulacan

Operational Hours: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm

Phone no: 09158653540

Contact Person: Mr. Edward Payawal


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