The beautiful and historic campus, the catchy "Go USTe!" chant, and the highly anticipated fireworks and Christmas lights display every Paskuhan season — these are all things that the University of Santo Tomas (UST) is well-known for.
Aside from these, UST also boasts of a food scene that is as vibrant and diverse as life inside the campus. Each street or avenue surrounding the university —Lacson, Dapitan, P. Noval, and España — and even the campus itself, is dotted with a variety of unique eateries.
Planning to go on a UST food trip? We got you covered. Here are some of the best eateries around the university in no particular order.
You all know the popular saying about how college students turn to siomai rice when money is short. But with Angkong, you won't have to sacrifice taste to save a bit of money. Its fried dumpling, arguably the most popular offering on its menu, has a light and crispy dough and is filled with juicy and flavorful meat. Those who prefer steamed siomai can go for the shark fin siomai or any of its other siomai variants. One serving gets you four pieces of the siomai of your choice and a cup of white rice for less than P60. Angkong now has three branches: one along Asturias Street, the other along V. Concepcion Street, both in Dapitan, and another in P. Noval.
The first thing that you'll notice when you visit Appetite Evolution are the vibrant paintings on the walls. Every corner of the eatery would look good as a backdrop for your next Instagram picture. Their chicken dishes are the real stars of their menu. The butter chicken and the chicken cheese are some of the most popular dishes they serve. Those who are not chicken fans can opt for the pork katsudon. Each meal will cost you less than P70. Appetite Evolution now has two branches in Dapitan and P. Noval.
What sets ChickenZilla apart from all the stores serving flavored chicken chops? The answer is the tenderness of their chicken. It's easy to cut and chew which makes it ideal for those who want to eat their meals fast. Another thing that makes their dishes special is that they don't scrimp on servings. For more or less P100, you'll get huge chicken chops that are always generously sprinkled with the flavoring of your choice. If you're looking for the ultimate bang for the buck chicken chops around the university, ChickenZilla is your best bet. ChickenZilla is at the second floor of the UST Multi-Deck Parking building.
Before it became Cion's Tapa Station, it was called Billy's, and its humble establishment could be found along Antonio Street in Dapitan. Students used to rush to Billy's in between classes to buy take outs of their tapa with fried rice — the quintessential Thomasian comfort food. Now, Cion's Tapa Station has a bigger store along V. Concepcion Street but promised to retain their tapa's signature flavor. Their tapa's come in original, sweet, or spicy variants. Each order costs about P65.
Although it does have a small room where customers can eat, most of Cow Wow's patrons are seated and served in a bunch of monobloc chairs at the side of the road in P. Noval. But don't let this simple set-up fool you — your P100 could get you extra hefty sausages that can keep you full for hours on end. Some of the most-ordered offerings they have are the Hungarian Sausage and Cheesy German Sausage. Recently, Cow Wow celebrated its ninth anniversary, and with all the students' rave reviews about their food, it's no wonder why they stuck for so long.
Cravings for chicken wings? Look no further than Wing Vibe, which has two branches in Dapitan and P. Noval. For fans of spicy food, the buffalo wings and hot barbecue wings are must-tries. But those who prefer milder options can opt for the garlic parmesan wings. Five pieces of wings with a cup of rice costs P150 — a small price to pay for guaranteed satisfaction.
Lopez Canteen is one of the oldest and most well-known carinderias around the university. And with more than 50 years of operation under their belt, they have already perfected the classic home-cooked meals that everybody loves. But Lopez' edge against all the carinderias surrounding UST is that they have the nicest and warmest staff around. With all the "ganda," "pogi," and "anak" you'll be hearing, you would start feeling as if you're being served meals by doting titos and titas in a family reunion. And that makes their home-cooked food all the more authentic.
There are a number of carinderias around UST which proves that they are popular haunts among Thomasians who want quick, cheap, but good food. And another carinderia that is highly popular among the students is Mang Tootz. When dining in this carinderia, customers eat on long tables in an open space, but their food makes it easy to imagine that you are back home eating your mom's home cooking. One of the Thomasians' favorite desserts, the Banana Rhum-A, can be bought here. The Banana Rhum-A is basically a turon cooked with rhum and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered milk on top. But for those who are feeling a little homesick, this is definitely a must-try. Mang Tootz is located in P. Noval.
Good Munch, which started in a stall across UST's Dapitan gate, quickly caught Thomasians' attention with its fragrant food. You can literally smell their food cooking from across the street, inviting you to take a closer look. The reason why their food smells so good is because they use a variety of spices while cooking which definitely enhances the food they serve. Some of their popular offerings are the rosemary chicken and the beef salpicao. Those who prefer their bacon sweet should go for the bacon and eggs meal. Each meal costs about P100. Good Munch now has a bigger store along V. Concepcion Street in Dapitan.
Kpop, kdramas, and kbeauty — with all of these, there are no signs of the Korean fever in the country dying down. And for some who opt to get their Korean fix with food, 24 Chicken is a godsend. It may be the new restaurant on the block, but its crispy and juicy fried chicken quickly cemented its place as one of the most popular eateries around UST. Another thing that made it so popular is that 24 Chicken accepts deliveries, so those who dream of having freshly cooked chicken delivered straight to their doorstep can now make it a reality. Some of the most ordered flavors on their menu are the Jack Daniels, Yangnyeom, and the Original chicken. 24 Chicken is located in P. Noval.