If you grew up in the heart of San Juan you must know Aling Banang's eatery. It started out as a carinderia in the old public market. They had a branch under the old mango tree beside Rizal's monument in what is now the parking lot/town plaza. Back in the '70's, before the fastfood chains, Aling Banang catered to the San Juan student population and the market goers. Its main menu consisted of noodles (all varieties - bihon, canton, palabok, mami, etc.) sprinkled with bits of crunchy lechon kawali; and the halo-halo. An interesting variation of their halo-halo is the halo-halo icecream, where instead of shaved ice, three scoops of homemade icecream are used. It is enough to give you sugar rush for a day. Of course, they also had regular and special halo-halo (halo-halo with icecream).
The core of its student base in the '70s and '80s have all now grown up but most still yearn for the crunchy lechon kawali bits. It is not actually the traditional lechon kawali since they use the pig's nape and not the belly. It is just as mouth watering and equally cholestrol laden, but what the heck. It is a gustatorial treat.
The original Aling Banang's has since moved out of the public market after the fire that gutted the whole of Agora. Many branches have sprouted all over San Juan. One was spotted in Quezon City in front of St. Luke's Hospital. Another one was reportedly seen in Cainta. Apparently Aling Banang's children/ grandchildren are operating the different branches. If you knew Aling Banang and her daughters, you will notice their chinny resemblance to those currently operating/manning the new stores.
The different branches still offer the same basic menu. They added tapsilogs and more to the list. The pricing seems to be uniform but the taste and food presentation varies. The best tasting fare still comes from the original store now located in a building just outside of the new public market.
Here are some photos of the Aling Banang stores within San Juan.