Happy Tummy in Tacloban City (Part 1)

If being passionate about anything that pleasures the tongue is a mortal sin, then God save me for I might have reserved a spot for myself in the vast ocean of fire.
I am a lover of good food. I’d rummage for distinct flavors and delicacies whenever I travel. Buffet restaurants are like temples that I make pilgrimage to and venerate whenever I go to a new place.
My quaint city, Tacloban, may be small and quiet but has a wide variety of flavors to its recesses. Amid stress, I’d often find solace in a corner of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, feasting on a plate of Nachos.
Let me share with you a compulsive list of my favorite food spots in the city and their comfort foods that somehow appease my insatiable stomach.
1.) Ocho Seafood and Grill
Senator Enage St., Tacloban City
+6353-325-4171
Deciding where to dine in the city with a visitor is a no-brainer. Ocho is always on top of the list. Arguably the finest seafood restaurant in the city, Ocho serves freshly cooked dishes, which you can pick the ingredients of at its counter.
Their famous Porbidang Kangkong has become a staple dish every time I visit. There’s nothing really fancy about this dish- just the finely chopped lowly kangkong as its main ingredient. But who would’ve thought it would taste so good when simmered in coconut cream then sprinkled with fried garlic? Spoon it on top of a steaming cup of rice and you have just aroused your taste buds.
The famous Porbidang Kangkong (Php 70/order)

The famous Porbidang Kangkong (Php 70/order)

Who could ever forget the unforgettable Spicy Sarad? Sarad is a variety of shellfish. Shellfish makes my face swell, but this one is so irresistible that I don’t mind rushing to the nearest pharmacy after, only to make the same mistake on my next visit. The sarad is cooked adobo-style, only sweeter and has explicit hints of onion, garlic, ginger and chili.

Spicy Sarad (Php 35/ 100g)

Spicy Sarad (Php 35/ 100g)

 

2.) Canto Fresco
Burgos St., Tacloban City
+6353 523-9085
 

DSC_0069Small dinners with friends I haven’t seen in a long time usually happen in Canto Fresco, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that serves a fusion of Italian and Filipino dishes.
There is something distinct about their bestseller, the Pesto Chops, that makes me crave for it strangely often. The pesto sauce’s salty, sour, sweet and garlicky herbal flavors share the same spoon without conflict and go perfectly well with the subtle pan-grilled chops, which are quite hefty for its price. This masterpiece is served with fresh vegetables and a cup of rice.
Pesto Chops (Php 130)

Pesto Chops (Php 130)

I also find their pizza really good. It is delicately flavored, not greasy and has a light and chewy crust. The pizza does not need a full array of condiments, just a few drops of their herbed olive oil and its perfect.

Chicken and Mushroom Pizza

Chicken and Mushroom Pizza (price ranges from Php 200+ to Php 500+ depending on the size)

Their Green Apple Iced Tea is lightly sweetened, refreshing and complements with any item on the menu.

3.) Na.Ning Sports Bar
Club 6500, Leyte Park Resort Hotel
Magsaysay Blvd., Tacloban City
+6353 341-3536

Na.Ning Sports Bar and Lounge sits in the chic party district of Leyte Park Resort Hotel.
A temple of booze, Na.Ning boasts a wide selection which ranges from the demure but deadly Caipiroska to the in-your-face fatal Slammer. The latter is a concoction of 7 spirits, not for the weak-kneed. They also have imported beers like Stella Artois and Hoegaarden.
But I go to Na.Ning not to lose my sanity. There are two things that keep me coming back: the MVP wings and the Polar Beer. I remember, MVP Wings was love at first bite. The most sinful chicken parts are deep fried and tossed in their spicy secret sauce. It actually reminds me of BonChon but Na.Ning’s has a more intense flavor, and the Polar Beer is inarguably its perfect quencher. Just imagine the smoothest and “almost frozen but not” San Mig Light gliding down your throat after a huge bite of that spicy chicken.

MVP Wings (Php 180/0rder) photo taken from https://www.facebook.com/pages/Na-Ning/163610540335018

4.) Miyara Cake Patisserie
Burgos St., Tacloban City
+6353 321-7846
I worked in Manila and Cebu for 5 years, scoured for the perfect chocolate cake, only to find it in an unassuming patisserie in Tacloban City. I had my first bite at my aunt’s house during the town fiesta, and boy, did I forget my name?! The cake is rich, moist and heavy and melts as soon as it crumbles in your mouth. It is bliss on a plate!
I always thought that no cupcake could ever taste as heavenly as the popular and extravagant Sonja’s in Serendra, until I had some of Miyara’s last Christmas. I must say, the latter tastes richer and fuller, and three times cheaper. My favorite variants are Chocolate-Ganache, Red Velvet and Choco-Banana.
Choco-Banana, Red Velvet and Chocolate Ganache. (Php 45/piece)

Choco-Banana, Red Velvet and Chocolate Ganache. (Php 45/piece)

 TO BE CONTINUED…

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