Serve me a dish that combines coconut milk and chili pepper and you’ve won me over, tightly wrapped around your finger at that. So imagine me in Bicol where sili (chili pepper) and gata (coconut milk) is present in almost every dish. Absolute bliss, I tell ya! First thing we did after we put to right the mishap was ventured to the Food Court of SM-Naga looking for the food stall recommended by the CWC staff.
We shared an order of:
Laing: Probably the most famous Bicol dish. It’s pork sautéed in garlic, ginger and onions combined with dried taro leaves cooked in coconut milk and spiced with… you guessed it – sili.
Pinagat: Similar to Laing, Pinangat is bundled taro leaves filled with meat or shrimps, sili, ginger, garlic and onion and then slow cooked in gata. Until I came to Bicol I thought this was a version of the Laing.
Bicol Express: Pork meat simmered in gata with lots and lots of chili strips. Some version use green chili to make the dish less spicy and some versions has shrimp paste to add to the flavor.
Kinunot: Not something that I’d order but in the spirit of adventure, we ordered it just to taste. It’s an unusual dish of stingray meat or what they call pagi and malunggay leaves. Just like all the above, the meat and vegetable is simmered in gata and sili. It was pretty good, I must say. The thought however of eating something so beautiful does not leave me longing for it.
An out of the ordinary creation we got to try at the CWC clubhouse. Interesting flavor and surprisingly delectable.
Our last dinner in Camsur, we decided to go to town for a more scrumptious experience of Bicol cuisine. We likewise wanted to experience the taste of the town, particularly Magsaysay Ave., the restaurant street of Naga City. Shuttles were available at the CWC to take guests to town. We had ourselves dropped off at Bob Marlin’s Restaurant and Grill. Crispy Pata, albeit their most popular dish, was not something we’d order as we remained faithful to Bicolano food whilst there.
Given the restaurant’s name however, we cannot not have a Marlin Slab in honor of its namesake. We were not disappointed.
Because it is my favorite Bicolano dish, we ordered the Pinangat to celebrate Bicol cuisine.
Lastly, we ordered a dish we haven’t tried yet and the curious in me just had to give this dish a try. Adobong Manok sa Gata — Chicken Adobo in Coconut Milk. Sounds interesting? Tastes interesting too. The dish replaces soy sauce with gata, which made the stew creamy. Because I absolutely love gata in anything, I utterly enjoyed this twist in adobo and have inspired me to attempt this dish at home someday.
Useful Info:Geewan (Main branch) P. Burgos St.
Naga, Camarines Sur, Philippines Phone Number: (63 54) 472-3888 or (63 74) 811-7272 Bob Marlin Restaurant and Grill Magsaysay Ave.
Naga City, Camarines Sur, Philippines Phone Number: (63 54) 473-1339, (63 54) 478-4414