There’s a new star in the Sabalu Market at the Garapan Fishing Base—no other than local comfort food vendor Angie’s Bento House.
Owners Regie and Anthony Duenas are no neophytes to the food industry as Regie used to run Ann’s Creations and Cockpit Café at the commuter terminal of the Saipan airport. Before that, she used to be the manager of New Century Restaurant in the 1990s and also managed In & Out Café in Sadog Tasi.
Now the island community gets to enjoy Regie’s delicious local food via her Angie’s Bento House stall at the Saturday flea market across Kristo Rai Church in Garapan. It’s become so popular that about two hours after setting up their stall at the Sabalu Market, the Duenas couple are already packing up their things as all items are already sold out.
“We only started selling at the Sabalu Market two weeks ago and at both times we’ve sold out everything,” said Regie, who has made the island her home the last 33 years.
It’s not uncommon to see a long queue in front of Angie’s Bento House as everyone wants to taste Regie’s bestsellers like dinuguan, chicken kelaguen, charakilis, sukiyaki, corn soup, and titiyas, among others.
Regie said her old customers from her days running Ann’s Creations and Cockpit Café are patronizing Angie’s Bento House now. She said it helps that the local food she sold at the airport are basically the same food she’s cooking at Sabalu Market.
“My mentor in the kitchen is Nestor Lacandazo, who was our cook at New Century Restaurant. For the Sabalu Market, we wake up before 2am to start cooking. I also make it a point to use oyster sauce in all my dishes. A few drops of oyster sauce makes a big difference and makes all dishes special,” she said.
Anthony, a retiree from the Department of Public Works, is Regie’s eager helper in the Sabalu Market and even made some of the cooking implements they use.
Angie’s Bento House, which Regie established in 2016 after Cockpit Café closed, is also a catering service and delivers to stores around the island. Aside from local favorites, Regie is also known for her Chamorro beef steak, arroz caldo, leche flan, puto, pichi pichi, hamburger, hotdogs, and potato chips.
From a high of 18 stores, Angie’s Bento House has narrowed its delivery routes to just eight due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, they sell their food via consignment at San Antonio Market and WTL Store in San Antonio; Rising Sun Store in Koblerville; Gin Li Store, Lucky D, and Ming Yang Store in San Vicente; Shun Fun Store in Garapan; and Char Thrifty in Oleai.
A lot of their loyal customers keeps her going even after all their children have graduated and already have lives of their own. She said these loyal customers still call them requesting for their food and that’s also the reason why they expanded to Sabalu Market to serve a larger segment of the island population.
For more information about Angie’s Bento House or interested in their catering service, call 788-1140.