October 23, 2010

Discovering Dumaguete - Part I - Lab-as Restaurant

We missed the sunset (sigh) as it was way past 6 in the evening when we alighted from the bus in front of St. Paul College in Dumaguete City. From there, we took a tricycle to get to South Sea Resort where we were billeted. After freshening up, we headed out to Rizal Boulevard for some quick bites before dinner at this restaurant.

Lab-as Restaurant signage

We scoured the menu and asked for the restaurant's best-selling dishes. The waitress recommended that we try:

Dumaguete Express

From the menu, the Dumaguete Express was described as "fish, shrimp, squid sauteed with young coconut meat, topped with crispy lechon kawali." The last three words were a clincher for my mainly carnivorous HB, while I was instantly hooked when I read the words 'shrimp and squid'.  The combination of seafood and pork was quite perfect for us. And the young coconut meat gave a sweet taste, giving the dish a delicious kind of twist.

When I saw in the menu that the restaurant had curacha, I knew then that I had to try it.

Curacha in Chili Garlic Sauce

The Curacha  is described as a crustacean which is a cross between a crab and a lobster. This sea crab species is unique to the province of Zamboanga, which is but a  2-hour boat ride from Dumaguete. We chose to have the curacha cooked in chili garlic sauce as the waitress assured us that it was a house specialty. Indeed, it was!

Our tummies were definitely filled to the brim. So much so that we came back on our second night. This time around, we binged on baked oysters.

As nothing beats the oysters from Roxas in my book, I wasn't too impressed with the oysters from Dumaguete. However, the generous cheese and pesto more than made up for the oyster meat that were on the lean side. Topped with the restaurant's own hot sauce, the baked oysters were the perfect appetizer for our main course. We feasted on sinigang na lapu-lapu, inihaw na liempo, mixed steamed vegetables with bagoong and crabs. 

Sadly though, I wasn't able to take pictures anymore. Allow me some credit when I say that the traditional Filipino dishes were cooked perfectly well. Truly, Lab-as is one gastronomic must-go-to when in this gentle city of Dumaguete.

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