Friday, October 23, 2009

Tacloban City Guide: Food

I’ve long been planning to do a city guide, and now I’m actually bored enough to do it. One of the ways one can explore and literally taste the culture of a certain place is by trying the local cuisine. Here in Tacloban, we have both a mix of traditional delicacies and an eclectic mix of foreign food in several restaurants in the city.

Here are some of my notable favorites:

Binagol, sagmani, and moron (not the same as the meaning in English!) at Cherry Refreshment- this small snack center is a dealer of native delicacies delivered fresh daily from suppliers outside Tacloban. Binagol is usually from Dagami and moron from Abuyog.

Binagol is made from talyan, a relative of gabi, with sweet coconut milk and peanuts that consist the creamy center filling. Sagmani is made of gabi I think, but without the filling, and instead of being encased in a coconut shell it is wrapped in dried banana leaves. Moron is like a chocolate version of suman. These sweets are excellent paired with coffee.Seafood at Tacloban City Market- Forget supermarkets. Robinsons and Gaisano may boast of having complete amenities and air-conditioned shopping but the best place to buy fresh-off-the-docks seafood at very low prices are from the city market. From tuna to blue marlin, to tanigue for those delectable kinilaw (our version of sushi), to mollusks, to squid, to crustaceans of various shapes and sizes, you name it, they have it.
Now, here are my favorite restaurants:

Café Teresa, Hotel Alejandro
What to try: They have a wide selection in their menu, but what I love particularly is their brewed coffee. Desserts like crepes and banana splits are excellent.

Why I love this place: The décor is tasteful, with a nice ambiance. Live piano sometimes, and the service is good too.
What makes this place unique: An authentic Italian restaurant. Well, I've only dined twice or thrice here but compared to Manila fine dining establishments- the prices are quite reasonable. From the table napkins to the attentive service, this is as close as we get to a four star restaurant here. Most of the patrons are foreigners and sosy people ;-)

Ocho, Lucky Six

What to try: You might wonder why I put two restaurants together. The reason is that both specialize with seafood dishes. In Ocho, you can buy seafood by the gram (you can even choose live seafood) and have them cook it for you.

What makes them different: Lucky Six has genuine Chinese cooking. The restaurant itself used to be Lee’s Grocery- a popular deli in Tacloban during the eighties.

Royal Seafood
What makes this place unique: Ok, so you are probably rolling your eyes by now. Seafood na naman! Royal offers excellent seafood and then some- exotic food like jungle lizards, aphrodisiacs and all that freaky stuff are available. Testicles anyone?

Sorry guys, I've never tried anything exotic except their pancit canton. Good enough for me.

What to try: Al Reem. I was expecting some sort of Arabic food but this is actually a cross between a drink and a dessert. Topped with cherry and cream, a mix of syrup, pineapple bits, kiwi, and some other ingredients (sorry, I’m no food expert)- it just teases your buds and goes down smoothly.

Other dishes to try: They have kebabs, fajitas, and rice dishes with either seafood or beef- your choice, of course.

What to try: Rhum ribs are excellent (and good enough for 3 people), also noteworthy are the nachos and tacos. Yum!

Why I love this place: Very quaint and cozy place where you can have those chats with friends. I also love red iced tea, and the fact that they serve beer during noon. Haha!
What to try: I love their pasta. They have generous servings so make sure you haven’t eaten yet.

What’s special about it: The interior looks really nice. Though I have visited the place only once, I was particularly happy with the service overall.Stick around for more of my city guide. My fingers ache from too much typing lol!
Image Credits: Anton Diaz (native delicacies), Rommel Cabrera (Zai)


iurico said...

Calle Z - who has not tasted their Bulalo yet?

Jose Carlos - people watching paired with Coffee.

Leyte Park Resort hotel cafe - up on a hills with coffee or refreshments in hand - perfect.

Mags Bar - isaw and beer.


Thad said...

@ iurico: I haven't :-) Hehe but my brother hangs out at CalleZ when he's in town. Waray pa gud ak.

Leyte Park's cafe medyo so-so but I do love the view..

As for Mags and Jk, I planned to include them in the gimmick places kunuhay didi Tacloban.

Thanks for the heads up ;-)

Emotionally Sloppy said...

love the food at Zanzibar and also Calle Z =)

Gem said...

Thad, thanks for your food review. I had a great time at Zaibatsu. I would never have found this wonderful place if I had not accidentally run into your blog (which is simply beautiful). I love your style of writing. Very refreshing and honest. Keep the blogs coming!


Meg Gray Andersen

Tacloban city born and bred

Thad said...

Hello again Meg,
You're very much welcome! I'm so happy you tried my suggestions.. Our city will have more to offer soon, I'm sure of that :-)


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