Lunches at Big Joe’s

The first time Gim and I ate at Big Joe’s in Dipolog City, we only snuck in for a quick snack of siomai before embarking on the bus that would take us to Dapitan pier where we were to take the ferry bound for . We ordered milkshakes for take out, and enjoyed them thoroughly on the bus.

That was 2007. The ambiance of Big Joe’s stuck with me though, so I was determined to eat a meal there this time round. And eat we did, many many times. :-)

Big Joe’s menu lists a lot of shakes. They have a bar (not the one pictured) solely for the shakes, but they’re a bit pricey. Around P80 or $2 on the average per shake I would say. I love shakes but not with meals because shakes make me thirsty, and so do meals.

I love iced tea with my meals. I didn’t use to, I used to think iced tea tasted like flavored water, which I abhor. But Gim was able to change my mind later on after diluting me with iced tea after iced tea, hahaha. I grew to like the concoction, but only certain brands like Nestea and Lipton. (Other versions like red tea at Tokyo Tokyo, I hate!)

We ordered two jumbo iced teas in Big Joe’s and it became our staple drink whenever we went there. It didn’t cost much, only P36 or less than a dollar, equal to or even cheaper than the cost of an iced tea glass in a , yet Big Joe’s Jumbo Iced Tea is around 3 times bigger.

My first meal in Big Joe’s was Pork Steak. It cost me only 50 or $3. The serving was so big I was overwhelmed. The waitress told us it weighed around 250-300 grams. Wow.

It tasted soooo good. Succulent pork. Very soft and juicy inside and nicely seared on the outside. (I’m salivating right now, remembering, hahaha!)

Gim ordered the menu special, sizzling steak served in tomato sauce and mushrooms. It looked very nice, tasted okay, but I did not really like it all that much.

Gim was very hungry that day and his meat arrived first. We took a few bites of his meat but had to wait quite a bit before mine arrived.

Here we are doing nothing but taking pictures while we wait! I am not on the photos… I was the photographer! Hehehehe. Gimmi loves his photo opps.

He’s happy at first… and then my arrives… and look at his face!!! Priceless!!! Hehehehehe!

He blanched when he saw my meal. Hehehehehe. Not out of disgust — but out of pure envy!! He was actually very moody the whole time we ate! Hehehe. Wolfed down his food while glaring at mine (I think he was wishing he was chewing my pork steak hehehehe!).

Here’s how he really feels about his food:

Meh.” Hehehehe! Why??? Because my food looks like this:

And it tastes exactly the way it looks! Delicious! Heaven! Hehehehe! (I am so carnivorous.)

I had to later appease Gim by grudgingly giving him around 1/4 of my steak. I know, I know, it was so big and there was lots to share but I was soooo real-food-starved that I forgot until later on when I had eated half of my steak already and Gimmi was already smoldering at me while I ate hehehehe. (In Manila, I eat only fast food, cold cuts and canned goods. I only get to eat in good restaurants when my mom comes over to foot the bill, so I hope you understand the state of starvation I was in.)

After lunch, we ordered siomai, our favorite after-lunch snack. Very yum but still nothing beats the siomai in City (grrr, I forget the name of the restaurant, I am sooo forgetful!).

And after that he’s happy again. Look! Oh and there I am. :-)

Before leaving we tried to get the waitress to take a nice shot of us both. TRIED is the operative term. But, er, it seems she had never held a camera before in her life. She kind of stood, in a tilted, crooked way, and then said, “Ma’am, is it okay if I cannot fit your whole body in the shot?

I was puzzled but nodded away, thinking she would just get me from the shoulders up. I didn’t realize she meant this:

Ah, eh… Pinugot mo naman ulo ko, miss!!! One more take, heh. *weak smile* I try to motion to her that maybe she should step back from the table a bit, just a wee bit, so she could take us both. Here’s the result:

Much better. Heh. Except Gim says he cannot paint the expression on my face. Whatevs. He doesn’t know to paint, anyways!

We went back to Big Joe’s three more times after. (That’s one visit for every week that I stayed in Dapitan hehehe!) The second time I ordered lengua estofado, which was very very tasty, loved it. Gim belligerently ordered the pork steak, and this time I was the envious one hehehe.

The last two times we both ordered pork steak, hahaha. Trust me, it was that good. On our last visit, Gim wanted a rarer taste from his steak so he asked for medium rare and got it. I tasted it and it was good, a lot juicier. But I still liked my steak well done better. :-) Didn’t take a pic of his steak, mine looked healthier. Hahaha.

Here are pictures from our third visit. We ordered steamed chicken rice this time, instead of siomai. It was very, very good. Tasted garlicky and gingery, much like arroz caldo. We liked it so much we ordered it again on our last visit.

The steak (his and hers):

The steamed rice:

Our sumptious meal.

My Gim looking fattened and happy. Hehehehehe.

I can’t recommend Big Joe’s enough. The food is great, service is fast (for a restaurant). If you pass by Dipolog City, you have got to try it. It’s a wifi zone, too, so you can bring your laptop over and surf (and plug in!) for free. :-)


  1. I see that Big Joe’s likes to serve big dishes! But the prices seem very low (American Standards) and that’s always good. :-)

  2. Jacqueline, food in Mindanao is generally cheaper than in Manila, but especially in small towns like Dapitan and Dipolog. :)

    Fren Ace, well you should visit the place one day :)

    Kath, I’m getting hungry looking at the posts again. Haha.