March 9, 2011

On "The Best and Tastiest"

In last Sunday's issue of the Inquirer Magazine, I read Margaux Salcedo's article called "The Best and Tastiest" which listed our very own Filipino dishes and restaurants found throughout our archipelago.

Cebu's famed lechon (roasted pig) was the first to be mentioned. The last time we were in Cebu, HB and I stumbled upon the Zubuchon stall inside the Banilad Town Center, which is one of only two outlets in Cebu City, with the other stall inside the Mactan International Airport.  

This was the lechon which floored Anthony Bourdain, an American  food and travel author and tv personality. Sinfully delightful, the skin is crunchy and punctured so that it actually resembles that of lechon kawali (deep fried pork belly) while the meat is flavorful and absolutely tender. Another plus point is that this particular lechon is MSG-free.

Next up was Ilocos' empanada (meat turnover pie). While I have yet to taste the empanada from Batac, I am already enamored with the taste of Vigan's empanada. With its deep-fried crisp yellow-orange wrap, this dish is best enjoyed with the famed sukang Iloco (Ilocos Vinegar) which goes well with the flavors of Vigan longganisa (sausage), egg and monggo (mung bean) sprouts.

Vigan empanada and okoy

The famed kakanin (sweet delicacies from rice, root crops and/or fruits) of Bulacan and Pampanga was mentioned next and I must say that I am a true fan of these sweet delicacies from these provinces in Central Luzon. My favorites are those from Nathaniel's and Dolor's.

Ka Laui's Restaurant and the Badjao Seafront Restaurant in Puerto Princesa were cited next. I'm glad to  have dined in both restaurants the 2 times I've been to this renowned cleanest and greenest city in our country. Both restaurants offer fresh seafood fare and unique dining experiences. In Ka Lui's, guests are asked to leave their shoes/slippers upon entering the dining area. Yes, diners eat barefoot in Ka Lui's. On the other hand, Badjao Seafront is in the midst of a lush mangrove and is actually built on stilts atop the water. This restaurant accords guests a fantastic view of the sea and the fresh breeze blowing in truly whets one's appetite. To read my previous blog posts, click here for Ka Lui Restaurant and here for Badjao Seafront Restaurant.

The diwal (angel wing) shellfish from Roxas City was also in the roster. Ahhh, so here is one delicacy that I have yet to taste. If the oysters and the crabs from this city (the oysters, I never fail to have whenever I am in the neighboring province of Iloilo) are any indication of the sweet taste of their sea catch, then that should be a good enough motivation to schedule a trip soon to this famed seafood capital.

Abuhan's Pochero in the "queen city of the south" was next on the list. HB and I had a taste of Cebu's version of bulalo during our trip. I previously blogged about my review of this popular dish and gave good raves.

Ted's Batchoy in Iloilo was the next favored dish. Before setting foot in Iloilo, I always ordered batchoy (noodle soup garnished with pork organs, pork cracklings, vegetables and egg) from Ilonggo Grill, a food stall found in several food court malls all over the metropolis. Upon tasting Ted's Batchoy, I instantly tasted the difference in the broth. Suffice it to say that I now know the authentic Ilonggo taste. And I'm happy to learn that Ted's Batchoy now has a branch in Ali Mall in Cubao so I can easily get another bowl of batchoy when I crave for it. 

Davao's Ah Fat Seafood Restaurant is one that I have yet to try. In the 3 occasions that I've been to Davao, I favored the city's chicken barbecue and tried both Banok's and Penong's. 

Finally, the article rounded up with a mention of the curacha from Lab-as Restaurant in Dumaguete. The curacha is a "sea cockroach" but is actually a cross between a crab and a lobster. During our trip to Dumaguete last year, I knew I had to try it when I saw it listed on the menu and I was not disappointed. 

Lab-as Restaurant offers other fresh seafood dishes as well and is a must-go-to restaurant. Click here to read my previous post about our dining experience.

Hmm, that's a score of 8 out of 10 for me! With my skinny frame, it would be quite a stretch to say that I am a foodie fan. But I love Filipino dishes tremendously, so I urge you now to go out and explore our islands and have a taste of what is called uniquely Filipino.

For an online version of Margaux Salcedo's article, please click here.