Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Real HOT Breakfast: Yolanda’s Eatery, Tacloban

Yes, HOT in every sense of that word!

Yolanda’s is a little shack of an eatery somewhere at an interior portion of San Jose in Tacloban. Specifically, It is at Barangay 86. The place is actually just beside the Barangay Hall! And hey I just noticed, San Jose is a district of Tacloban, not just a Barangay! While there are no directional signs to Yolanda’s, it will be hard to miss if you ask around since it is quite famous in the area. I’ll have to clarify that thing I said about “interior portion”. That is, if like me, your point of reference is the main road. But Barangay 86, therefore Yolanda’s, is a coastal area of the peninsular land mass that is San Jose (the airport is part of this place)! Ah, Just see the goggle map below!

The place is like a miniaturized version of the old “dampa” in Paranaque. I say miniaturized since there is only one place – theirs! You choose your seafood and talk to the staff or crew or Mana Yolly herself how you want it cooked. If you don’t know, they’ll throw in suggestions as to what would be good to do with what kind of fish or seafood! Wait a few minutes as they whip things up (you can also watch if you like) and voila, your chosen seafood comes to your table piping hot!

What’s good to have? Foremost is the tinola. Yumminess! As I said in previous blogs, when you say “tinola” in the visayas, the default meaning of that is “Fish Tinola” – cooked in broth with various herbs AND not sour like it is in metro manila. The most glorious part of its “taste” is some touch of just a little bit of being “hot” that has a soothing effect on the throat. Hot not on your lips or tongue but your throat. I learned it is c/o the amount of ginger that they put plus a single piece of green chili (not labuyo – its the long and thin type, about 4 or 5 inches)!

With Yolanda’s tinola, you will perspire with satisfaction! Papawis? No need to jog, just order Yolanda’s tinola!

Other staples are of course “sinugba” and “kinilaw”. What I like with the kinilaw of the warays is that there is always coconut milk, asdie from the suka. I first thought I’d have an upset stomach eating something that acidic for breakfast. But lucky me, I did not! Mana Yolly actually just scooped some kinilaw from another table's order so I could taste it! Shhh, ayaw aringasa! I had to let the grilled pusit pass as am not a real fan, but golly almost every table had at least one! Tempting, but I thought the shrimps cooked in ginger and butter was already too much for breakfast. Ah, I just watched the other tables and salivated haha!

Coffee? Am not also a fan of that, but who needs coffee when the tinola beckons! Haaay karrrasa! Hey, even the utensils come hot – placed inside a drinking glass with boiling water! Now when you already feel hot and perspiring due to the broth, they’ll switch the electric fans on! the place is breezy as it is on a beach, but you will really perspire with the fresh and deliciously cooked seafood you’re eating!

Anything else hot? Well, this little place is also hot on the itinerary of travelers big shot or not! I learned that people usually drop by Yolanda’s either just upon their flight’s arrival in Tacloban or just before they hie off! Reason why they are open as early as 5AM, Mana Yolly says. Looking around, it was easy to understand what I was being told. At a long table were a group of educators that seemed to have just arrived. They looked like big names of the DepEd and at least 4 were happily complaining of the succulent and heavy breakfast. At another long table were some architects and engineers while at yet another table was a politician, his family, bodyguards, etc!

Hmm, if you are a paparazzi, Yolanda’s might be a good place to hang around early in the mornings. Hah, I heard many “insider things” from the many customers around!

Well, the outside of Yolanda’s is actually a beach. Not the resort area type. Just a beach with brown sand where the little fisherfolk boats are parked, where little children were romping and swimming and where some vendors were also selling fish and other sea produce. But it’s also nice to breathe in the breeze out there. I saw a family that did just that – with a thermos bottle on their table under that big colorful umbrella! Sosyal!

Okay, still unsure how to find them?

Yolanda’s is about 300 meters from the main road, turning right if you were going to the airport. That corner where you turn right is still about 2.5kms to the airport and about 2kms past the rotund where the Coke and San Miguel plants are. There is a newly built gas station at the fork of the road where you must turn right. It is colored yellow so it probably is a Shell or Total gas Station! Oh the place is called Baybay (pronounced byebye or baibai) and the very road to Yolanda’s is also called Baybay (Baybay means beach). There are pedicabs and tricycles at the corner, so no need to commandeer your Pajero!

I’ll bet my next month’s salary you’ll like the food (in a ‘barriotic’ ambiance)!

Uhmmm, let’s go somewhere else next?!
Away from the sea but equally a fantastic find!

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