Ted’s Old Timer La Paz Batchoy. This is the name of a restaurant, guaranteed to give one (especially those not familiar with batchoy) food for thought (no pun intended) as to the meaning of the name. Let’s break it down.
Ted refers to Mr. Teodorico “Ted” Lepura, the man behind this batchoy chain that is claimed by some as the most popular in Iloilo City. “Old Timer” most probably denotes that it’s a long-established restaurant, having started in 1945, or it could also mean that it uses a really old recipe. “La Paz” is a place in Iloilo from which batchoy is made famous. One says “La Paz” batchoy to refer to something authentic, just like lechon Cebu or Chicken Bacolod.
Let’s start with the two most important components of batchoy (based on my opinion, of course): the soup and the noodles.
I’ve read that batchoy, sometimes spelled as batsoy, is derived from the Chinese word ba chui, meaning “meat water”. Without a great soup, something that masquerades as batchoy is, as a famous Filipino movie line puts it, is nothing but a second-class trying-hard copycat. It is, at best, a plain noodle soup. On the other hand, a good soup, without the distinctive batchoy noodle, is a plain noodle soup. Now, if you ask me what’s a distinctive batchoy noodle, go visit Ted’s.
There are three kinds of batchoy in Ted’s — special batchoy (without liver and intestines), a super special batchoy (plus liver only) and an extra super special batchoy (plus liver and intestines). In all variants, you have to order egg as extra.
I find this weird because there’s only one kind of batchoy in my book. The noodle is placed inside a bowl, then pork innards (laman-loob) are chopped and spread on top of the noodles. Crushed pork cracklings (chicharon) and a bit of pork meat are added to the mix, with some garlic and spring onions. Scoop some really hot batchoy soup and pour into the mix. Crack an egg and drop into the smoking-hot mixture.
Want to taste real batchoy? Get the whole shebang. If you’re in Ted’s, that’s an extra super special batchoy. With egg.