Monday, July 18, 2011

Cebu Lechon, Larsian,Sutukil, Golden Cowrie

On the left side of Lapu-Lapu shrine in Mactan island is the Sutukil restaurant row, sharing the same beach and mangrove area of the shrine. "Sutukil" is sort of an acronym for 3 methods of cooking as follows: Sugba (grill), Tinola (soup), and Kinilaw (ceviche). These 3 cooking methods are usually employed on the seafood items purchased by customers for cooking by the establishments in the area.

The customers start with the purchase of the seafood items, with corresponding prices per kilogram. Seafood prices are quite expensive, almost like in Manila's dampa restaurants. Well, they should make profit as well after incurring rent and labor costs, but I think the items are still overpriced. Cooking charge is about Php 50 per 500 gm, to cover the cost of seasonings, gas, etc.

There are many choices of seafood items, priced almost the same whichever restaurant you choose. They just differ on ambience and style of cooking. This lunch experience set us back with average spend of less than Php 300/head for a big group of 25 people.

Dinner is at the smoky Larsian carinderia-style group of food stalls. Its near the Fuente Osmena circle and B. Rodriguez St., walking distance from Crown Regency Cebu. The specialties here are barbecue food, mostly meats, like the sweet bite-size longaniza sausages in barbecue skewers.

Customers choose which food stall and particular food they like, before they settle on a long table assigned to the food stall. Water is quite scarce here, so diners are provided with improvised "plastic bag gloves", no washing water. The place reminds me of the seaside market eateries in Kota Kinabalu, but at least they provide mobile handwashing pitcher and sink.

Food in Larsian is very affordable, so its not surprising to see a lot of diners, from local to foreigners. The food and ambience is also conducive for alcoholic drinking, hence the presence of a few groups having local beers and spirits.

The place is humid, so your sweat and clothing would easily capture the unventilated smoke from the grilled foods. Make sure that you get a shower after your culinary feast at Larsian. Use of washroom entails at least Php 2/head fee by the way.

Our first taste of Cebu's lechon is at Golden Cowrie along Salinas Drive, Lahug district of Cebu. As expected, their lechon has no liver sauce, so the flavor is embedded on the pork meat. We also ordered baked scallops, laing (taro leaves in coconut milk), chicken wrapped in pandan leaves, etc. 

Prices are reasonable, but the food are not exceptional. The maja blanca dessert ordered by a colleague is a disappointment. Still, I would recommend the place for its nice ambience, good service, and affordable prices. Photo below was taken from their website.

Prior to our flight back to Manila, our group bought lechon at Php 380/kg from CnT branch near SM Cebu. There are lots of buyers and diners on this branch, despite the fact that its still 9:00 am in the morning, so it took us an hour to wait until our last member had bought his lechon. 

I'm one of the few who did not bought lechon from CnT, but I was not able to resist buying a kilo of Zubuchon when I spotted their outlet at the Mactan airport's departure area. At Php 490/kg, its quite pricey I know, but buying the Time magazine and Anthony Bourdain acclaimed lechon "Best Pig Ever" is a rare chance for a Luzon-based mortal like me.

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