By Stella A. Estremera
Goin' Places

PI PAN YA is a bakery along Ma-a Road. It has been there for several years now. But Pi Pan Ya is also a coffee shop along Mabini Street near corner Mapa Street.

Don't ask me about the Pan and the Ya part, but the Pi part is all about pi water.

The bread and pastries that Pi Pan Ya, the bakery in Ma-a, has been baking is said to be made with pi water.

Pi Pan Ya, the coffeeshop says it also makes its breads, pastries and meals with pi water.

Now, what is pi water?

Pi water is one of those highly-acclaimed by word of mouth and stuff like that of having qualities that can make you just a little less than immortal (joke!).

Seriously, I don't know. But Google-ing it, I found this:

"The preparation of Pi Water involves treatment with a 'ferric ferrous (bivalent and trivalent ferrite)' compound and 'inducing this ferric ferrous salt into a high-energy state and infusing it through a ceramic filter process...' present in only a trace amount so that it conveys its 'energy signature'."

Mumbo-jumbo.

It is said to originate in Japan. Whatever. All I really care is that it's clean, potable water and isn't poison. So... Let's just focus on the food.

Oops, before that, a warning. Pi Pan Ya the coffeeshop closes early, very early for a coffee shop: 8 p.m.

And so it took some time to fix up a date to visit the place after that one time three weeks ago when I told Imee we'd meet up at Pi Pan Ya and she discovered that it was just about to close for the night.

The chance came again early this week as I was off earlier than usual at just past 6 p.m.

Imee ordered lasagna, I ordered what was the most unusual in the menu -- halang-halang chicken.

Their meals are cheap, very cheap. I didn't find anything that was above P100 there except the putanesca. The lasagna was P100.

But although cheap, their food is prepared well.

The chicken halang-halang is... halang (chili hot!).

Its chicken stewed in coconut milk and what could be siling espada or green jalapeno peppers, but which I can hardly recognize because it has been stewed to its most tender. One thing I'm sure of, whatever it was, it was chili hot and very good. But being that, Imee couldn't taste it. I did get to taste Imee's lasagna and it was good. She even ordered one more for takeout, to eat at home, she said.

I also got the watermelon shake to go with my meal. The shake had milk (I forgot to ask), and so I didn't go beyond a few sips lest risk getting a bum tummy (lactose intolerance).

And then we decided to just try the pizza, we got the vegetarian one to make up for our binge.

The pizza crust tastes like tinapay and it's not thin and crisp, but, the taste can grow on you and sooner or later you start to like it the way it is...

They also have super yummy looking pastries that pastry lovers would have difficulty resisting (one whole refrigerated display rack!). But I'm not a pastry fan, so it was easy to ignore. Not that I didn't drool.