Lately, I have been traveling all over the country doing cooking demonstrations for Nestlé. It’s something I look forward to, for it never ceases to amaze me what I discover.
These trips are full of surprises. I experience cuisine from the provinces cooked the original way, before it was modified in Manila. Many dishes we now enjoy in the metropolis originated from the favorite provincial dishes. Many times, the move has altered the taste.
Could it be the ambiance, or are ingredients more expensive in Manila that restaurants need to substitute?
Once in a while you experience simple, home-cooked meals that hit the spot. On my recent trips to Iloilo and Davao, people gave tips on what not to miss.
One that made a mark was Breakthrough. I loved its sea breeze. After our busy schedule, this was a perfect place to unwind.
I relished its ensaladang puso ng saging. A bit sour, it had a taste of kilawin and gata. Delicious.
There is so much crab in the Visayas that its crab dish is all crab meat and fat. Sarap din.
Panaderia de Molo
I just had to visit Panaderia de Molo in Molo, Iloilo. This bakery is an institution. In my childhood, my Lola Angeles would open a round can of Panaderia de Molo to reveal a variety of pastries.
I love the galletas. I also focus on that cookie with a white topping, and my childhood favorite, hojaldres.
I remember a company called Hojaldres de Cebu that made this best. Panaderia de Molo makes a most delicious version of it. Its Hojaldres is flaky, not too sweet and just delicious. Biting into one of these takes me to a time when life was simple. This has to be one of my comfort foods. I believe Panaderia de Molo ships its products to Manila.
In Davao, we arrived before lunch and checked in at Marco Polo.
I was excited to try something new. So off I went to a place I just heard about that serves eat-all-you-can crab for P398.
While waiting for a cab, I bumped into chef Cris and his assistant and we all headed to Glamour restaurant. I zeroed in on the crabs laid out on the buffet, which included kilawin tanguigue (it was very good); a tuna dish; veggies; and a chicken dish.
The unlimited crab was all meat and loaded with fat. It had a mildly spicy, curry-flavored sauce which was delicious.
I wanted to go back but our schedule didn’t permit it. I still dream about this place.
Another restaurant making waves in Davao is a place called Lachi’s. I strongly suggest you try its home-cooked dishes, aside from the desserts it is known for.
Like in most successful restaurants, the owners offer what they usually serve in their homes. The callos are to die for; sticky, they melt in your mouth and give any Spanish restaurant a run for its money.
I loved the crispy breaded soft tofu with teriyaki sauce. The Asian Spicy Chicken and the Spicy Laing are also winners. Anyone planning to eat this without rice is making a mistake. I did.
For dessert, I had the unique durian cheesecake. Sarap! A place with this quality of food must expand.
In the evening, we sat in the fruit market and feasted on fresh, creamy, funny-smelling but fantastic-tasting durian. I loved it.
I also like marang.
Davao is a place the country should duplicate. One feels safe here. Galing!
Sometime soon, we will be in Cebu and Boracay to do cooking demos. I look forward to discovering dining places in these areas.
Happy eating, and a happy new year to all!
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