the nameless carenderia at the side of a hill.

i normally do not eat breakfast.

i work mostly graveyard and so, i always miss breakfast.

but if on certain days, like after a crazy night of binge drinking , i am roused from sleep by hunger pangs. i always crave for a hot soup and some macho dish. hardcore pinoy carenderia food.

either i ask our cook to whip up a soup for me, para pahawhaw. but more often than not, i can no longer wait  and to save the help the trouble, i only go to two places for this kind of craving: boylin’s located at nsv, can-adieng a.k.a baybayon (worth of another blog entry) and this little carenderia without a name, at the left side of the hill where ospa-fmc stands. (take the first left turn at the junction of r. rivilla and the ospa road).

daghan customer nga nakasakyanan...

daghan customer nga nakasakyanan...

not a lot of people know about this nondescript, hole in the wall carenderia. if i’m not mistaken, joel gaquit introduced me to this quaint eatery at the side of the hill.

me, alex, gil and joel went there this morning for pahawhaw after a night of booze and dancing at dustria until the wee hours – and that continued at the reclamation area until the nightsky turned blue.

pili sud-an

their food is rather spartan in terms of presentation, but the taste will make up for what it lack in the looks. you will know this was prepared meticulously using quality ingredients, that’s normally unheard in most cerenderia’s, following closely guarded heirloom recipe’s handed down from generations. i do not have good info as to the owners, all i know is that they are a branch of the pilapil family who are well known cooks and other family member owns food establishments in the city.

calderetang kanding!

calderetang kanding!

we had my favorite calderata, real goat’s meat stew with a tomato-based sarsa, thickened by pounded saltine crackers. it has a distinctive taste. the goat’s meat was prepared properly so it wasn’t gamey at all. it is a little spicier than most calderetas that i’ve had in the past. you’ll surely need lotsa steaming hot rice for this.

bihon

too bad they did not have my favorite pancit using fresh miki and loaded with chorizo macau, wild black fungus mushrooms (bukni), carrots, baguio beans, cabbage and pork strips. what they had that day was bihon. it was alsogood, but the cabbage slices were huge! so it’s a little difficult to eat.

nilat-an!

nilat-an!

we also had nilat-ang baka…that was the pahawhaw — it was seasoned just right, the meat is tender but not fall of the bone tender, which i really don’t like because it tends to make the flesh mushy. it was served piping hot!  beads of perspirations formed in my forehead while sipping the  soup. yum! huwasan, wooh!

paklay

paklay!

then we had paklay -chopped  goat’s entrail, sauteed and seasoned with tomato paste and lots of bell pepper and ginger. it was delightful, but i had to limit myself to a few spoonful, lest i get gout again.

humba! hapit wa na ma pictur-an, hapit na mahurot!

humba! hapit wa na ma pictur-an, hapit na mahurot!

we also had  humba, sweetened pork stew to the uninitiated. they use the tiyan / pigue part of the pig. alternating layers of adipose and meat. you know it was sitting on the stove, slowly cooked for a long time. it was perfectly seasoned and it was kinaraan-style with black beans. i read somewhere that the real humba uses kadyos (black eyed peas), and since it is not available in most locales in the visayas (except in the western part where it is abundant), so  i guess the signoras of old used the readily available taoshio (salted black beans) as subsitute for kadyos. every locality have their own version and every cook have their own tricks from using pomelo rind,

azucena (dried banana blossoms), coca cola, brown sugar, sugar cane and nwhat have you. humba is always comfort food and it becomes even more lami when it is a few days old, when the seasoning have melded very well and then you partner this with rice, coke and maus nga ginamus (salted and fermented anchovies) with lemoncito unya gi-pus-an ug sili nga kulikot – ay sus, pastilan ka lami! ginamos is one of the cheapest ways to build up an appetite…and at this eatery it’s gratis!

i hope my cardio would not chance up on this blog, or i’ll get another discussion on HBP, stroke, the workmawus nga ginamus!

mawus nga ginamus! the cheapest ways to build up an appetite…


menudo/ginagmay

menudo/ginagmay

they also had ginagmay/menudo kind of dish that’s swimming in orange tomato based sarsa with carrots and potatoes. it reminded me of thesame dish that was served to us at a wedding we attended in Maglahug, Ga-as…it was really lami, with hints of smoky flavor after they slow cooked the dish using firewood. this one has that smoky flavor too…there were tons of sugnod piled at the kilid of the carenderia so you know that they use that in cooking. it reminds me of olden days at the farm, where we use firewood in cooking, and the ingredients was freshly picked, the chicken sa rhapsody, gi hagwa2x pa namo a while ago…now it is in dinnertable. deliciouso!

joel had tinolang isda. the broth was so clear and sweet. they used ripe tomatoes, green onions, ginger, lemon grass and fresh fish – i think it was tangigue. pwerte gyud! it was really good… kinaraang binisaya nga tinuwang  isda then pus-an nimo ug gamay nga sili for a little kick! singot hasta ang bugan! this is hardcore pahawhaw!

the nameless eatery

the nameless eatery

the good thing also of eating there, especially during early morning, is that you are surrounded with greeneries, you will have full view of the backyards down below the hill – naay nang laba, nag bugha ug kahoy, nag chismis nga mga silingan sayo sa buntag, a great view of ormoc bay and the early morning sea breeze adds up to a hearty meal…

dig in!

dig in! hab hab!

after years of coming here for good carenderia fare, we just say “managon ta sa kilid sa ospa” — it never crossed my mind to ask the name of the store, i just realized that there was no caratola with the store name in it, when i took a photo of the place. nevertheless, whatever they name it or whatever its name is, i hope they keep up serving good home-cooked style meals that reasonably priced.

next up: boylin’s

food trippin’ in bacolod

printed feb 22, 2010 evmail lifestyle 2.0.

gastronomic adventure

I am one who can not say no to any chance that will take me away from my mundane and almost routine super promdi living. So, when Ormoc native Jed Enfectana and my ex-workmate Bing Gaston, whose family name alone would reveal that she is from Negros Occidental, announced in our notorious Facebook thread that they will be tying the knot in Bacolod very soon, I was ecstatic not only because I played cupid to the two when they first met here at Sabin Resort some two years ago, but because it will be a much-needed respite. The minute I received their wedding invitation, I already booked a ticket to Bacolod and asked a friend to book me a room at the swanky and spanking new L’Fisher Chalet Tower II

It’s not my first time to visit this cleanest and greenest highly urbanized city at the northwestern coast of the Province of Negros Occidental. Known for its moniker “The City of Smiles” and “Sugarlandia”. Bacolod is a progressive city, and since every modern Filipino gauges the progress and indication of the economic activity in a city by the size of an SM City Mall. Well, SM City Bacolod is huge! Of late, Bacolod is already enjoying the Philippines’ sunshine industry – It is now known as the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) gateway to Western Visayas. Several big BPO companies are now in Bacolod, it is a testament of its continued progress.

Everytime I travel, I always make it a point to not just do sight-seeing or shopping, but to make it a gastronomic adventure. It is in travels like these that I get to actually taste and enjoy great food, or try something that’s brand new to my palate. I will also be able to recreate the ooohs and aaahs travel hosts do when they taste the food in places they feature, and of course to get acquainted with exotic, bizarre and interesting food/ingredients – by that I mean stuff that’s not found in our mercado or our Gaisano and in our limited culinary fare here in Ormoc. You see, I am a completely untrained, unaccomplished culinary oaf (my weight is a dead giveaway to that) with absolutely no expertise in food. But I have exquisite taste buds and a penchant for experimenting. I religiously watch food and cooking shows and was greatly influenced by my mother who is an accomplished culinaire‘.

city of smiles

I first came to Bacolod in 2008 and vowed to come here often, and one reason is that I was not able to visit a lot of restaurants that friends recommended. Bacolod is just teeming with eateries serving a wide array of cuisine, from heirloom local cuisine to fusion. The culture of a place can easily be seen and dissected through their food. So weeks before the trip I researched anything and everything about food in Bacolod, the must go to restaurants, and the must try. I double checked that I have my list with me before I hopped on the turbo prop aircraft that will take me from Mactan-Cebu to the City of Smiles.

just got ouf of the aircraft...hello bacolod!

just got ouf of the aircraft...hello bacolod!

We touched down at the New Bacolod-Silay airport just before sundown, some friends from Ormoc and other common friends-slash-ex-officemates and I, we’re greeted by Bacoleno Alex Alegarbis, also an ex-workmate and knows the city like the back of his hands. He was the perfect tour guide slash driver.

So we headed directly to L’Fisher Chalet Hotel conveniently located in Lacson St., Bacolod’s major thoroughfare. The posh hotel is a work of art. The lobby and the spacious rooms are laden with clean lines and monochromatic colors. It was like Philippe Starck meets Kenneth Cobonpue, it has a certain élan that’s truly Bacolod.

After checking-in at the hotel, the next agenda was dinner, and of course it had to be at Manokan Country located in the reclamation area which is downtown near the Plaza and SM City. Everyone who visits this city must pay homage to the holy chicken or else they cannot truly say that they have been to Bacolod. It would be like going to Japan and never eating sushi, or Italy and never having pasta. I know you get it. Everyone in this city comes here if they crave for authentic chicken inasal – in other words the real Louis Vuittons and Balenciagas will almost certainly be brushing shoulders with their first class tiangge doppelgangers at the Manokan Country, it is a good sign.

Bacolod Chicken inasal...namet ah! the best!

Bacolod Chicken inasal...namet ah! the best!

manokan country

Manokan Country is a kuya version of our Barbecue Park sans the troublesome health/hygiene conditions. Chicken inasal is the most raved among Negrense specialties and can be found anywhere, like in Bacolod Chicken House or Chicken Deli, but nothing beats the ambience and experience at Manokan Country. We went to a stall named Nena’s. Alex said they are the one that serves the best-est chicken inasal. I was lucky also that there was this manang who sold big succulent fresh “sisi” or oysters. It was a steal at Php 30.00 per plate (around 30-35 pieces). They steam and shuck it for you. They were so fresh and devoid of any metallic after taste, like the ones we get from most buffets in Cebu. Gil Abano finished a whole platter of them babies. You are expected to eat with your bare hands here, kinamot only. It’s déclassé if you don’t, kinamot is the best way to eat and savor chicken inasal. But not to worry, almost all the stalls are equipped with sinks, hand soap and hand dryer.

manokan country

the manokan country

They have unusual and hefty chicken cuts, there’s the paa (thigh and leg), pecho-pak (breast and wings) and just all wings. The chicken inasal was ambrosia! I saw Joel Gaquit cartwheel after his first bite! We all heaped praises upon the barbecued chicken. It was inarguably the best chicken barbecue in the known universe. Namit ah! And for a party of eight voracious eaters – the bill was surprisingly trivial.

A bottle full of orange tinted oil was sitting along with the toyo and native vinegar in the condiments tray, I was told that one will drizzle it in rice (bahug) para lami daw ang kaon, so I non-chalantly coated my rice with it and boy, It was the best! I later freaked out when I learned that the achuete oil was made out of rendered chicken fat and the color was from the achuete. It was a heart attack inside a bottle! I popped a double dose of my Diovan medication on our way out of the resto.

manang shucking the steamed fresh oysters

manang shucking the steamed fresh oysters

super fresh talaba! yum!

super fresh talaba! yum!

sub zero red horse! alcoholic bliss...

sub zero red horse! alcoholic bliss...

Joie de Vivre!

Bacolod’s night life is alive! There are lots of bars scattered all over the city, and even more at the Goldenfield Commercial Complex, a popular commercial center in Bacolod. From clubs, bars to restaurants, it has something for everyone. We barhopped and met fellow Ormocanons, Nacho Pangilinan and Tingtong Rodriguez who were also in town for the wedding. We went to Sibeeria where they serve you only sub zero beer, the crowd there was

great.The pulutan in most bars in Bacolod, like in Sibeeria, are gustatory delights, something that you don’t expect from a barchow. We then hopped to Ice Bar. It was jampacked. Good thing Alex got us the VIP room, and so panic attacks were at bay. The music the dj spinned was luxury house and then it shifts to electro then onto progressive, fun! Bacoleno’s has this joie de vivre that just rubs off on you. If I may add, people in Bacolod always dress to impress. So the bars are filled with people dressed to the hilt. Go to their SM and you’ll think everyone is going to a party. I felt a little too underdressed at the mall in my staple “malling” uniform: shorts and rubber shoes.

Kansi.

Kansi.

Alex then took us to a cansi house for a night cap, the name of the place escapes me – well, I was a little inebriated when we went there. There are lots of Kansi houses in bizBacolod like Timeout, Sharyn’s and in the Shopping district.

Alex said, Kansi is to Bacolod, as Pochero is to Cebu, Bulalo is to Batangas and Pacdol at Doro’s is to Ormoc. Kansi is a bone-in beef shank sour soup. They use the batwan as a souring agent. It’s much oilier than the pochero – and of course it comes with the customary cardiac delight – the bone marrow! I fell in love with the dish. If only I can get lucky and chance up on the rare batwan in our mercado and I’ll recreate the dish for family and friends.

Cafe Uma's Malasugue Salad. The best!

Cafe Uma's Malasugue Salad. The best!

Cafe Uma & La Calea

The next day, I woke up too late for the free breakfast at the hotel, but my stomach is grumbling and I can’t wait for lunch anymore. So I checked my list and saw Café Uma. Jude Bacalso sent me a private message in Facebook, telling me to not dare miss Café Uma. The hotel concierge revealed that it was just right next door. It was a simple café slash trattoria. I had the Smoked Malasugue salad which was absolutely divine in a

refreshing kind of way! Fresh Romaine lettuce, Roma tomatoes and artichokes drizzled with balsamic vinegar and the finest of olive oil (first cold press, most likely from some Italian estate) and then topped with generous slices of smoked malasugue (you can opt for smoked salmon too) and another dressing with hints of dill. It was the best salad I ever had, bar none. It has a certain je ne sais quoi that I find very appealing.

Cafe Uma's Boullabaise

Cafe Uma's Boullabaise

Then I had the bouillabaisse, it was Café Uma’s owner Chef Juan Miguel Gaston’s take on the traditional Provençal fish stew. It came in a small bowl, almost like a demitasse, but the soup was something! It was decadent. Unlike your traditional bouillabaisse, the seafood was finely chopped and it was laced with truffle oil, I think. It came with garlic bread smothered with melted fresh mozzarella.

Then to satiate my hunger, I ordered the clubhouse sandwich, a little too

Cafe Uma's Club House sandwich with the works.

Cafe Uma's Club House sandwich with the works.

American for a trattoria, I know. Boy oh boy! It was a sandwich that’s only for the really, really hungry! It was a triple decker wheat bread sandwich. The first deck was overloaded with bacon; the second deck was cramped with chicken that was perfectly grilled and seasoned just right, and then scrambled egg and a rather mellow kind of cheese, lettuce and apples. It came with a heaping side of mixed salad greens drizzled with balsamic and olive oil dressing, plus a mound of handcut fries. It was one brunch that’ll cause me sleepless nights. The place is warm and cozy and they’re reasonably priced – a little pricey actually, but what you will enjoy are culinary creations that are bordering on the artisanal. The service was attentive yet unobtrusive. This lunch room was filled with busy executives; matrons who came from jogging having a tête-à-tête over what I think were blinis and caviar. They were in candy colored track suits and rubber shoes plus diamonds whose sizes borders on the vulgar and their de rigueur designer handbags sans the screaming logos, and a bunch of tikalon middle aged guys (I was eavesdropping)! Café Uma is a must try when you’re in Bacolod. Besides the food, it’s a good place for social voyeurism, mind you.

For dessert, I walked to the other side of the hotel and went to La Calea, a very popular pastry shop. I’m not much of a sweet tooth but I tried their triple chocolate mousse, it was delicious, I rate it at maybe 8 out of 10, edible, but not really cartwheel material. Their pastries are not so sweet. That is the highest compliment to cakes and pastry in the Philippines. Their selection is really vast. However, I would fail the place on ambience, it is a little too futuristic for a pastry shop though – I like my pastry shop to be like that of an English bakery, homey, country. But for what it’s worth, La Calea is a must try too.

Bacolod Delicacies

The buffet! sumptuous

The buffet! sumptuous

Jed and Bing chose the penthouse of L’Fisher Chalet Tower II for their wedding reception right after their wedding mass at the chapel inside the exclusive Santa Clara Village. The penthouse is a really hip place with a stunning view of the city and there’s actually a swimming pool up there, the Starck-Cobonpue inspiration is continued up here too. The food was great! Alex was even surprised, because for years, L’Fisher is known for mediocre food. It was a feast, a culinary fête in a buffet table that seemed to be endless! Spicy hand breaded squid, tanguigue fillet swimming in olive oil with chopped green olives, capers and dill, a beef stew that tasted so good, I went for a third helping. The dessert selection was to die for…platters upon platters of blueberry cheese cake! And the flowing booze? Ah, nobody is complaining.

Baked Oysters @ Imay's. Pagkalami nalang gyud!

Baked Oysters @ Imay's. Pagkalami nalang gyud!

After Imay’s we headed to the border of Bacolod and Talisay City to see the Ruins. A rather new, but actually very ‘old’, Bacolod tourist site is The Ruins. Situated amongst the farmlands in Talisay City, this heritage site is fast become a very popular Bacolod tourist attraction. The structure of The Ruins is of Italianate architecture with neo-Romanesque columns, having a very close semblance to the façade of Carnegie Hall in New York City. In New England, they often were homes to ship’s captains. A belvedere on the 2nd floor, facing west, affords a beautiful view of the sunset in a glassed-in sunroom with bay windows. The mansion was built in the early 1900’s by the sugar baron, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson. One of the sons supervised the construction of the

Chicken Binakol

Chicken Binakol

mansion making certain that the A-grade mixture of concrete and its pouring was precisely followed. The mansion met its sad fate in the early part of World War II when the USAFFE (United States Armed Forces in the Far East), then guerilla fighters in the Philippines, burnt the mansion to prevent the Japanese forces

from utilizing it as their headquarters. It took days of inferno to bring down the roof and the 2-inch wooden floors.

The Ruins. A must visit when in Bacolod.

The Ruins. A must visit when in Bacolod.

The Bacolod Ruins, or Talisay Ruins as it is also called by some, has been a popular venue for Bacolod weddings, special events and parties. The most recent addition to this tourist spot is a mini-golf within the grounds of the site. The owners are continuously  developing the area and adding new stuff to do so it will remain a top tourist attraction. Even for the Bacolod and Talisay residents and locals, it has become a place for family bonding activities and fun.

After visiting the ruins, we went back to the city to buy pasalubong. First we went to Virgie’s were we went gaga over their wide array of delicacies.The quintessential piaya, then of one should not forget the barquillos in different thickness and length (and they also have a much special version that’s made

Virgie's Pasalubong center

Virgie's Pasalubong center

of goat’s milk), consilva (we typically call it pinasugbo), then biscocho, mammon, bañadas, and then of course the napoleones. We also went to Bongbongs, which probably is the most popular pasalubong center and then we also went to Merci’s. I got crazy, went overboard, pardon the impulsive shopper. So, when I reached the airport I realized that there is such thing as excess baggage! I had a bog box and a small box all brimming with Bacolod delicacies.

Well, before we went to the airport, I insisted that we go to El Ideal so we I can have a taste of their fresh lumpia and their pies. El Ideal is Silay city’s oldest, if not the province’s oldest bakery. It is underneath an old bahay na bato – they say it was their first and only location. At the back of my mind, I was

Excess baggage!

Excess baggage!

telling myself that it seems a bitfrivolous to pay for excess baggage because of these delicacies, particularly since the pleasure is so fleeting. But that is precisely why I consider myself lucky to be able to indulge like this every so often. And I can always make a Consuelo de bobo assurance that this is market research for Ikea! When we took off and saw Bacolod from a distance, I imagined that I was at the Trevi fountain, tossed a coin and wished that I’ll be back in Bacolod very very soon!

Without doubt the only reason why Bacolod is enjoying what it is now is because here the old is treasured, preserved, and honored, while the new is embraced, accepted, and developed.

impromptu dinner by the bay

so after just lying and watching tv all afternoon, alex, my friend from bacolod who’s relocating his fat ass to tacloban next week, gil and joel decided to drive around the city, at least to show alex what’s new here after 2 years – and then i realized, there’s not much have changed here. sad.

anyway, we passed by arradaza st. at the back of my alma mater spc, and we saw  our suki barbecue. We bought pork barbecue, chicken, isaw, baticulon and chorizo – of course rice and ice cold sprite, all to go.

Now the next problem was where to eat, I mean, we’ve been in the house the whole day, so that’s the last place where we’re going to eat. we drove around the city – and then, why not at the recla in purok batuan in brgy. alegria (a reclaimed area including the space where the old city abattoir was located). so off we went.  we had the back of the car as our dinner table. it was fun, it was an unusual place to have dinner, you can see the city, you can hear the waves, the smell was not that bad as what we anticipated, we can see the pier and the boat and the fast craft coming and going,  the stars nag complete attendance sila.

we had fun! a hearty meal, some sticks of ciggy after, chika chika chika…and then we drove home.

unplanned lakaw are always fun, i don’t know why.

merienda to welcome alex

my good friend alex from bacolod is in town…gil and joel demanded that i cook paella, i declined – i don’t want to go to the mercado during afternoons plus the prep time is long and tedious and i ran out of saffron. i mean paella won’t be paella without the saffron. so i made a compromise and vowed that i’ll whip up a rice based dish using what is available in the fridge and in the pantry.

so here’s the finished product. a cross between basmati rice, chao fan and mexican wild rice. it was a hit! they finished the whole bowl! downed with ice cold-mugunit-sa-tutunlan coca cola!

how? sautee garlic in a little oil until slightly toasted, mix in steamed rice (bahaw is the best), then add in the cooked ground pork, chopped carrots, chopped fried eggs, chopped hotdog, chopped chorizo macau, chopped scallions, season with salt and pepper, some ginisa mix, turmeric and fajitas seasoning. remove from heat when carrots is a little soft.

so here it is: (pardon the blurred images, i used my iphone and there was no ambient light)

darn, i already went to the beach yesterday. so now i’m stuck at home.

So I went to the beach yesterday, a day early – beach parties are supposed to be done on Sundays, not Saturdays. I was with my agents at the center. We went there to talk about what happened during the week, client updates. It was a great respite from having meetings in the office. It was also great bonding time with them and of course FOOD! Everything revolved around the food. Everybody helped in the preparation. And the result was a great lunch and of course we had enough to cook pa for dinner. We had a few cases of beer too, so in short, I wasn’t able to went out last night as I was already a little inebriated.  besides I have a deadline to catch today for the resurrection of the EV Mail Lifestyle 2.0 featuring pieces by  moi, mai velasquez, gil abano, rica serafica and lucy torres gomez. it’ll be out on the newstands tomorrow, so get a copy!

anyway, here are some shots i took yesterday.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

weekend cheap thrills that i really miss.

The sun is shining so brightly outside. I love Sundays.

This city is like a ghost town on weekends, especially during Sundays. A break really, from the the hustle and bustle.

Sundays are normally spent at the beach or just at home nursing a terrible hangover after a crazy Saturday night. When I was living/working  in Cebu, Sundays are spent in the sala together, in our rented house in Guadalupe (a 1960’s 2 storey house) with my housemates, lying on cushions laid down on the floor and then we let yaya  Marites do the ironing near us,  using the traditional charcoal iron. For some strange reason the smell lulls us to sleep – especially if we hear the neighbors television set blaring ASAP.

After the siesta we either go to Tisa, Labangon to eat the then not very popular siomai sa Tisa, adobong nawung sa baboy, and there was this manong with a whole cart of anything and everything kinilaw-ed: fish, nangka, puso sa saging, guso, lato, ba-at etc. We will order one of everything in his cart. If we don’t go to Tisa, we go to Robinson’s Fooda in Guadalupe to do our grocery and of course we will not miss our favorite chinese lumpia (gosh!),  ngo-hiong and the barbecue in the sidestreets, sometimes we go all the way to the Guadalupe church to light a candle and then eat adobong baboy found at the stalls sa  kilid sa simbahan and then if we’re lucky, there was this guy who sells pochero and we eat that with mais and amahong on the side.

Chinese Lumpia in one of the stalls in Fooda

Chinese Lumpia in one of the stalls in Fooda

Abay's pochero.

Abay's pochero, piping hot with a sawsawan of patis, sili and lemoncito. mu sulti pa ko ug unsa ka lami ang bone marrow?!

If we have a little extra money, we go to Abay’s at Villalon drive at the right side of the Capitol Bldg. We will have pochero that’s so massive and overflowing with bone marrow, ready to give you a massive coronoary!!! we will also have my favorite rellenong crabs and liempo as big as a shoebox! Ah, I miss those.

Anthony Bourdain, Augusto and the infamous lechon Cebu.

Anthony Bourdain, Augusto and the infamous lechon Cebu.

Today in Ormoc, I’m just at home watching a replay of Anthony Bouradain’s show No Reservation featuring the Philippines, more specifically Cebu City – where he proclaimed Sugbu lechon as the best in the world! And according to a friend, that lechonero who cooked the lechon Mr. Bourdain tasted that caused him to make such a proclamation, is now selling that kind of  lechon, by the kilo every Sunday at the Banilad Town Center in Cebu at a price higher than most lechon stalls in the city. But my friends swear that it indeed is the best lechon, every nook and crany of the whole carcass is reached by the marinade blah blah blah…Next time I go to Cebu, I’ll make sure it’ll be on a weekend so I can experience what Uncle Tony Bourdain experienced in that lechon.

Ginabot

cripsyginabot and native suka with lotsa chopped onions and sili.

fresh from the pit lechon/inasal! the skin is salty and crispy!

fresh from the pit lechon/inasal! the skin is salty and crispy!

I have a list of  Cebuano comfort food that I used to eat when I was there to study and work. Foremost, I missed the ginabot in the Redemptorist area (as well as the mas sosi one in Mabolo), good friend/distant cousin Angel Kangleon used to frequent the place every weekend or during days off, this is not really for the squeamish or hygiene freaks. Of course the adobong face ng pig, CNT lechon! We  wake up and line up early for that at the CNT branch in Guada. then the goodies in Fooda – ngo-hiong, Chinese lumpia, machang.

siomai sa tisa! yum.

siomai sa tisa! yum.

The cardiac delights in Punta Princesa/Tisa area: adobo, lechon, kinilaw and siomai. Anything and everything in Abay’s. Tong’s all you care to eat resto was popular (and cheaper) then and they served fresh and huge talaba (I’ve heard dili na karon maayo ila talaba). Butchoy Sia and I go there very, very hungry and we raid their talaba corner – no rice, just all talaba! We will build mounds of talaba shell in the table, I can’t see Butchoy on the other side of the table! The manager is kinda staring at us already hehehe. My officemates and I also go to AAs in the Guadalupe area during payday to have their native/free-range manok grilled to perfection and stuffed with something like a kalabo and lemon grass mixture. Heaven!  Have you tried the Ngo-hiong house near USC? I you’re really hungry, everything they sell is yummy! I first met Sparkle there. I miss the old Seafood City buffet too, I was sad when I learned that they already closed.

ngo-hiong and puso.

ngo-hiong and puso. sparkle nalang ang kuwang, payts na!

During weekends in Cebu, just right after sundown, my housemates and I take the jeep to downtown and then we go down at the jeepney stop at the junction of Jones and Sanciangko. We go there to eat freshly grilled Anduhaw – they’re at the sidewalk right across UC. The anduhaw is perfectly grilled with the perfect sawsawan of native suka, toyo, lotsa chopped onions and of course sili!  You’ll know it is fresh because it’s still sweet and the flesh is firm. Lovely.

Gina, a friend of my sister introduced me to lansiao at the stalls in front of the Ramos market. I tried it once and I did not quite like it – a little too funky and raunchy for me, but I was still thankful because discovered that their balbacua is good.

SHAWARMA!

SHAWARMA!

Sometimes, we hail a cab, in our house clothes, we got to Ayala and stuff ourselves with as much shawarma as we can, and when hapit na ganahan mu ngadto sa CR (comfort lounge wasn’t there yet) , or if super nagka muriching na kaayo – we would hurriedly take a cab and go home na dayon. That was fun! and damn I miss those shawarma. Sometimes we also make a detour and eat lechon, dugo-dugo and sha-eh at the one and only lechon stall at the food court right beside Super Metro Gaisano grocery.

At night, for a whole month or two, Jun2x Sia (shoutout: happy birthday! it’s his bday today) was like naglihi and he would fetch us at the house and bring us to the larangan at Jones. It’s that line of makeshift stalls right across Crown Regency Towers. There we would eat nilarang na fresh isda from Pasil, nilarang  na pagi (stingray) and if we are lucky, Bakasi, they are like baby eels, a much larger than the anggulas, a Spanish delicacy that can cost a king’s ransom. We sometimes go there after binge drinking in Mango Square.

NILARANG

NILARANG

bakasi

bakasi

The Halo2x sa White Clouds in Raintree is something that we have every weekend when I was still in college. We also go to the old larsian to eat chicken barbecue from our suki there who are also from Leyte. We always ask for extra “dicer” (a reduction of the marinade) to make bahug in our puso.

When my sister Irene and I are hungry, especially if gikan sa laag the night before – we would go to Matias in A.S Fortuna to have our favorite chicken barbecue and their very very rich balbacua – maglisod na ka ug storya after kaon because the balbacua is so sticky with all the gelatins you’re mouth will be shut – mao ni lami ipakaon sa mga libakera hahahaha! I f mother sends us extra money, we would drive to the Sutukil in Mactan! The best! Or if Mactan is too far – then we go to Paulito’s (I think it’s in Orchid St., near Zosa Compund), they offer almost thesame fare as in Mactan, but here, they have tuna panga ang grilled scallops.

Matias Barbecue

Matias Barbecue

Sutukil near Mactan Shrine

Sutukil near Mactan Shrine

baked scallops at paulito's

baked scallops at paulito's

Balbacua in Matias

Balbacua in Matias. Pilit sa ba-ba!

I could just go on and on! Fishball/squidball sa may Cebu Docs, balut sa Fuente, the great tuna and La Fortuna Elorde tandem, Abuhan’s pochero, kinilaw and chicharong bulaklak (not really a cheap thrill though), Da Vinci’s white sauce pizza, sub-way sa Pasil at dawn, Manila Foodshoppe Makimi, ug daghan pa, and damn this is making me really hungry! (I’ll update if naa ko nakalimtan).

fishball!

fishball!

maki

Maki at Manila Foodshoppe...best with cuapao.

These are cheap thrills for working people who are away from home. These are important to the working class to make ends meet, especially if ting bitay na.  Also, this is a break from the monotonous pantry food.

Now, i would give anything to have all these here in Ormoc and can have these cheap thrills I’ve come to love, anytime I want to.

Now, I’m planning a trip to Cebu to observe new restos etc and get ideas for a plan of opening a resto of sorts here. THE SECRET.