Sunday, September 29, 2013

Aling Cora's, Weegol's, & Margie's of Butuan

Butuan City may have few tourist attractions, but they compensate that on nice food options. The city is like "Bacolod" in Mindanao, but on smaller scale. These are my reviews of the restaurants we tried, and my experience on their wet market.

Lutong Bahay ni Aling Cora

This "dampa-carinderia" style restaurant is just across Gaisano Mall along Jose Rosales Avenue. Customers can choose between cheap set meals, or raw seafoods that can be cooked any style. 

Their specialty is roasted chicken inasal style, seems well marinated, and a bit on the sweet side. Still, Aling Cora could do better for their signature dish, as it lacks its own identity. It is served with 2 cups of rice.

Complementing our dry roasted viand is fresh fish cooked in sour soup. It is good and hardly surprising for an easy to prepare soup as sinigang.

Staff are courteous and helpful. Washroom is clean. The only letdown is their quality of fruit shakes, which seem to have been produced from powdered concentrates. Well, they are priced cheap, so we got what we paid for.

Weegol's Grill

Just past the Mercury Drugstore on the opposite side of Prince Hotel is Weegol's. Its opposite the Hotel Karaga along Montilla Avenue.

Dining area is dominated by wooden furniture on warm lighting. There is a small play area for kids, and the place seems popular for romantic dinner. The male washroom is dirty and not maintained well though.

We also ordered their specialty of roasted chicken, which is served with 1.5 cups of rice. Its taste is good enough, but a bit more expensive and inferior than Aling Cora's.

Wife ordered adobong atay (chicken liver in vinegar-soy sauce stew), and she was not able to finish it. Perhaps their adobo version is different from what we used to have in Luzon.

I don't recommend this restaurant if you have already tried dining in Aling Cora's food joint.

Margie's Coffee Shop

In search of a good cup of coffee after dinner, we proceeded to Margie's restaurant. I wondered why the trike driver did not turned right to Jose Aquino Avenue, then he responded that trikes are not allowed on that main road. So we used the smaller alternative roads, then we're dropped to the Shell gas station which is near Margie's.

The dining area is really cramped, especially with few seats left inside. Yet the place is cozy, the servers are attentive, coffee and cakes are good, and the prices are much cheaper than Starbucks. No wonder why the place is very popular in the city, especially for guests with discriminating taste.

Their flexible menu is quite limited, written the old-fashioned way on a blackboard.

We ordered their bestseller cookie monster choco cake. It is heavenly, very rich choco taste, and goes well with coffee.

We also ordered their sans rival, which Wife enjoyed. At first I thought we can't finish the cakes, but we did. :)

I hope they repair their sofa's upholstery inside, and ask the building's owner to improve their washroom. We could have stayed longer, if not for those mosquitoes that pestered me on their al fresco dining area.
Butuan City Wet Market

I boarded a trike from the hotel to the market. Their trikes are like passenger jeepneys that accommodate other passengers along their driving direction.

The market here is too busy with so many stalls and early buyers.

Near one of the entrances are the sellers of various rice delicacies. I bought two types of suman -- palagsing and another one which I cannot remember the name. They are very good, especially when still hot as they are sold.

I tried to look for cheap dried seafoods, but there are few choices here, aside from being expensive.

Then a crowd had gathered between the seafood and meat area. It sounded like there is a mini concert, where a trio of blind musicians are entertaining the people. The old lady on the left can sing like Imelda Papin, hehe.

I was watching the mini show, when a local vendor asked to get my suman wrapper I'm holding. Obviously, I looked like a tourist on the area, as I took photos. It was a very nice initiative of her, to look for a garbage bin to dispose the banana leaf suman wrapper.

They have a small fruit section where I bought a kilo of marang, and 13 kilos of mangosteen at Php 70/kg. Its our pasalubong when we got back home that afternoon.

Here's a tip: When buying balut in Butuan, tell the vendor that you want the 16-17 day old embryo, if you want the duck chick smaller and with sabaw. Their standard balut here has a chick which is incubated for around 20 days.

There are many bakeries in Butuan, so its safe to say that they are crazy with breads. If you are looking for a novelty pasalubong from Butuan, you could buy these loaf breads in the form of lechon de leche (roast suckling pigs). I saw them on a bakeshop in Gaisano Mall.

Butuan City does not disappoint when you're on a food trip. :)
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