Yes, it all started with chicken pie for bakeshop owner Susan Ong. She developed the recipe in the mid-1980s only for the enjoyment of her family and closest friends. With a rich and flavorful filling and a lovely golden crust, the chicken pie, or empanada, as some people prefer to call it, became an instant favorite. And so, when Susan opened her first bakeshop on Juan Luna Street, Binondo, Manila, in 1985, it was one of her signature offerings. It rose to fame in the next few years, so that even Corazon Aquino, who became President of the Philippines by way of the People Power Revolution in 1986, got wind of it, had a taste of it and loved it.
“I’m proud to say that my chicken pie was the favorite of the late President Cory Aquino and that some senators and even the theater group love it. It is known not only in Manila but also in other provinces and nearby Asian countries,” says Susan.
Even when she had to move her bakeshop to Remedios, Malate, Manila, in 1996, her chicken pie remained the cornerstone of her business. It did not change when she made a final move to Otis, Paco, Manila, in August 2010. Here, Le Delicieux Patisserie and Café still stands and thrives, and Susan’s chicken pie still commands a strong — and ever growing — following.
“My husband and I started Le Delicieux. It’s kind of hard to pronounce a French word like delicieux, but our customers eventually got used to it. I like it because the word means ‘something good and nice and delicious,’ which is perfect for our food business,” explains Susan.
As for her chicken pie, though originally created only for family consumption, it underwent a few tweaks to make it commercially appealing and totally satisfying. A healthy baked empanada with a flaky, golden crust filled with a generous helping of lean chicken meat (no skin!) and mushroom bits cooked in a rich cream sauce with six different herbs and spies, Susan’s chicken pie is baked fresh every day to ensure quality and freshness for everyone who would partake of it. For its hefty size and generous filling, it goes for P58 each and is available per piece or in boxes of 10 or 12.
While the chicken pie is undeniably the best-seller at Le Delicieux, the bakeshop offers another product that is very close to it. It is called chicken pot pie, and it is a whole nine-inch round savory pie with an equally rich and creamy filling of chunky chicken cubes, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and ham. It is wrapped in a flaky, buttery golden crust, priced at P700 per pot pie. What sets Susan’s chicken pot pie apart is that the top crust has become her canvass for pie art — she cuts flowers and branches from excess pie crust dough, and sticks them onto the top crust of the savory pie to make big and small bouquet decorations when baked.
Through the years, Susan has also developed an assortment of breads, pastries and other baked products for which Le Delicieux has become known. These include asado dinner roll (soft dough filled with lean pork in a sweet and savory sauce), ensaymada (soft, fluffy and cheesy dough frosted with sweet buttercream and topped generously with grated cheese), coffee bun (soft dough filled with butter and coffee topping) and egg pie (an all-time favorite, a thin pie crust topped with thick, creamy and not-so-sweet custard filling).
She also makes very good baguettes, which is more popularly known as simply French bread, and her Crusty Wheat Rolls and cheese croissants are awesome eats. But while she makes really good French breads and pastries, she also draws inspiration from her Chinese ancestry and whips up mean asado, bola-bola and vegetable siopao. Recently, she perfected her recipe for Scallions Pork Floss Loaf, which is definitely Chinese inspired, but her versatility as a baker got her to braid up a mean chocolate walnut babka (sweet braided bread that originated from the Jewish communities of Poland and Ukraine and is popular in Israel).
From being the bakeshop that chicken pie “created,” Le Delicieux is now home to some of the world’s most favorite breads, pastries, pies, cakes and cookies. It is located at 1763 H. Paz Guazon Street, Paco, Manila. For inquiries or orders, message Le Delicieux’s Facebook page or call 8561-9601.