Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Caramoan Dinners

Ah dinner! In Caramoan, no need to get creative, adventurous nor gourmet when it comes to dinner, because you probably cannot anyway! The few eateries that I saw during the day, are the very same places where you can grab dinner at. And make it early, say between 6PM and 7PM. Otherwise, you’ll find that most of them have already called it a day and “closed for the night”! So, since I felt I did not have (or did not want) too much time to inspect and explore eating places, on my first night, I went for the “default” – which, as decided during lunch had to be the nearby Lutong Bahay!

You can actually say it was nothing fantastic. But the problem with my tongue (and stomach) is that I seem to have a voracious appetite for the ‘nothing fantastic’! When I walked over to Lutong Bahay, there were already quite a number of local and foreign tourist enjoying dinner – at 6:37PM! Gosh how early! And there were choices, like the usual and easy fried fish, fried pork chops, fried chicken and whatever else that can be fried, it seems. But I did not dream of having a very full stomach on this evening. Then I spotted a few remaining strips of that bistek I had for lunch that tasted deliciously good. So, cancelled the fried fish and said I’ll have that instead. Manang scooped everything to become the last serving, and I was happy!

While I was about to dive into my bistek, something from the kitchen was brought to their display area and it smelled good. I asked what it was and I think the girl said something like “pinangat”. I further asked what it was made of and she explained that it was “pagi” (stingray) cooked in coconut milk and some herbs and vegetables. I immediately asked for an order of it hehe. Am not new to this kind of dish. I find it on virtually every island in this country, and similarly prepared. I like it! I even know from somewhere that said dish cannot be served to the cats and dogs since it causes them to shed hair and/or have skin irritation (am not sure of that though). So that’s how familiar I am with it. Although, I have never tried “pagi” in any other way or kind of cooking. Mind you, even in far Maldives, I had the very same dish and almost the very same way it was prepared!

Anyway, during my fine lovely dinner, Manang cheerfully came by after talking to a group at the next table and she asked “ikaw sir, baka gusto mo rin magpaluto para bukas ng gabi”. I initially said I like everything that they serve in their restaurant so no need to find something different. I however saw on her little sheet of paper what she have just listed… there was “alimango”, “sugpo” “barbecue”. Somewhere in me immediately said “OMG”! So time to get creative again… I requested manang saying since I was alone, if she can add in an extra piece of the crab when she cooks for that group. I said just worth about P150 and requested further that afer cooking, separate the extra piece for me. She agreed of course!

Let’s fast forward, and…

Thus, on my second night, after touring the islands, this, below, became my “simple” dinner. At first I planned to eat just them without rice. But couldn't help it! Fact is, as I cracked the second crab, manang gave a motherly advise… “sir, tama na yang rice mo ha, 3rd cup na yan eh"! And I reluctantly nodded. Why? Well, you count the number of crabs on my plate below hehe!

Simple dinner ‘no?! Ah, the life! How about the nightlife? Let’s do that next!

For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these numbers:
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12   13   14   15
16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30

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