Kapampangans classify their dishes as pamangan pang-aldoaldo ("everyday dishes") and pamangan pampiyesta ("dishes reserved for special occasions"), which are sometimes classified also as pamangan kalulu ("poor man's dishes") and pamangan makualta ("rich man's dishes").

Here are just three examples of pamangan kalulu, which I call heritage dishes because they probably originated during the famine in the 16th and 17th centuries when Kapampangan farmers were forced to abandon the farmlands to work in the mines and the shipyards, leaving behind their womenfolk to till the farms and improvise dishes using whatever was available around the house:

First is the sabo maligosu, a soup of bitter herbs picked from the ditches, sauteed with tomatoes and tinapa (smoked fish), but today with a can of sardines.

Second is the paksing demonyus, which is your usual paksiw minus the fish (the devil stole it, according to the story), just eggplant, ampalaya, and okra stewed in vinegar.

And the third is gatas tigri, so called because poor Kapampangans who couldn’t afford carabao's milk just pour water into their rice, plus a dash of salt—that's it! There’s no actual milk because who’s ever acquired or even seen tiger's milk??

But it is to the credit of Kapampangans that they have transformed even their humblest and simplest dishes into culinary delights. The colonizers merely enriched and enhanced what was already an extraordinary indigenous Kapampangan cuisine. Today plebeian dishes like betute, arobung camaru and burung talangka have become expensive delicacies that you will find on the dining table of the rich and famous.