Christian Jay B. Quilo
THERE’S nothing quite like the taste of our very own cuisine. While Cebu’s food scene has grown and diversified through the years, it’s good to know that Filipino fare has never been overpowered and continues to hold its own in a fickle, sometimes skittish market. Featuring winners of Best of Cebu 2018, check out these proudly homegrown names that champion Filipino cuisine and its vibrant flavors.
Tabléa’s sikwate was hailed 2018’s Best Chocolate Beverage for how it perfectly captures the rich, bold flavors of our local chocolate. It’s a treat on its own but it pairs well with other native delicacies such as puto maya. Tabléa Chocolate is located in JY Square and Parkmall Mandaue (Express Kiosk).
Paolito’s STK Ta Bai!
Championing the sugba-tuwa-kilaw concept, Paolito’s is known for its fresh seafood dishes such as the tuna panga and baked scallops but a quick skim through its menu reveals there’s more to try other than the catches of the day. Paolito’s STK Ta Bai! is located on the third level of SM Seaside City Cebu, near the Sky Park.
The champorado is a merienda staple but Providore puts its own spin on this classic with its ube champorado. Aside from a refreshingly cool hue, the ube adds a different kind of sweetness to the dish. Providore is located on the ground level of Robinsons Galleria Cebu.
Pungko-Pungko sa Fuente
During peak hours like lunch time, this place is packed and for good reason. Take your pick from a basket filled to the brim with crispy, deep-fried goodies such as ginabot, pork chop and more. The vinegar with sliced chilis and onions and puso complete this indulgent meal. Pungko-Pungko sa Fuente is located on Don Julio Llorente St., behind Sampaguita Suites.
328 Batchoy House
With the constant showers these days, a steaming hot bowl of batchoy seems like the perfect meal. 328’s Batchoy is pretty straightforward, relying on solid flavors and abundant toppings. There’s also a spicy version for those who love a little heat. 328 Batchoy House has stores in Escario Central and SM Seaside City Cebu.
If there’s an iconic food item to represent Cebu, it would have to be the lechon. There are too many brands to count but CNT comes out on top for its impeccable execution: crisp and crunchy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside. CNT Lechon has branches all over Cebu.
Deep-fried to perfection, Kuya J’s Crispy Pata tastes just as good as it looks. Start by peeling off the crackly skin of the pork leg and then make your way to the lean meat enveloping the bone. The sides of atchara and soy-vinegar complement the greasiness of this dish perfectly. Visit http://www.kuyaj.ph/www.kuyaj.ph for the complete list of stores.
Based on a family recipe passed from generation to the next, Patio Isabel’s take on the Kare-Kare is one not just rich in flavors but also in history. The restaurant aces this dish with a perfect balance of offal and vegetables soaked in a thick, tasty sauce that compels one to take one spoonful after another. Patio Isabel is located on J. Panis St., Cebu City.
When you hear the word ‘liempo,’ Balamban Liempo is probably the first thing that comes to mind. For a decade now, Balamban Liempo has become synonymous with the native roasted pork belly we’ve all grown to love. Just recently, the brand launched BL Spicy: spicy versions of its best-selling liempo and chicken. Balamban Liempo has take-out kiosks all over Cebu.
Abuhan Restaurant House of Pochero
We’ve all come to love the pochero as a stew dish but Abuhan puts a unique spin on this by serving the beef shank on a hot plate as a sizzling version smothered in a delicious gravy that’s equally delicious as the original. Abuhan Restaurant House of Pochero is located in Mango Square Mall, Gen. Maxilom Ave.