Gormandizing in Negros 2-A A +A
By Ver Pacete
As I See It
Thursday, March 13, 2014
MY GOOD friend, Msgr. Guillermo “GG” Gaston, has opened my mind not only to appreciate Jerusalem Bible and to patronize what is Filipino. He also opened my appetite to value Negrosanon family recipes that have been part of our culture and history.
He asked me if I cook adobo. “You, you have to taste my native chicken ‘adobado’ and my favorite pork ‘ajo adobo.’” I know that he asked me that question because Msgr. GG cooks the incomparable “adobo milyonaryo” (just like mine, rich in garlic). Those who have tasted his dish, find this “adobo” so rich. One slice deserves another. Really, it is heavenly. What can you expect if it is cooked by a priest?
I am a Silaynon and my beloved Silay is known as “Banwa sang Dulce” (The Hometown of Sweets). Push yourself to the kitchen ladder of Emma Lacson and you will end up tempted by “pili square” (our tourism gift to special guests) and “lumpia ubod de Silay.” You will be more surprised. Nora Lacson (the daughter who heads the kitchen staff) will offer you more specialties and I am sure that you will be three inches prouder with what you buy when you go down the stairs.
El Ideal Bakery is just across the Lacson’s House. Mark Sanchez or his mother, Tess, will be around to tell you that “guapple” pie is the best seller in Metro Manila during the Negros Annual Trade Fair. “Buko pie” is another culinary legend. You have to taste it to believe it. Don’t miss to buy the “dulce gatas,” the specialty of Eloisa Gamboa Javier who, at 93, is still making it. It is made of pure carabao’s milk. If you are an explorer, you will find Mariel’s Bakery jointly managed by Emily Jison and son, Nicky. “Lubid-lubid” is something to taste. Those who have eaten “lubid-lubid” have all praises for this twisted tiny sweet crackling. Mariel’s Bakery is an open range for you to discover the other specialties. Emily is allowing visitors (if properly arranged) to go around the bakeshop and interview the bakers.
Oxy Bakery is another stop-over. It is in front of a bus stop. Ordinary pieces of bread taste very special. Marissa Montelibano, said, “There is no secret here. We only use the right ingredients, apply the correct formula, and see to it that the working place is clean and in order.”
School children, office workers and food caterers patronize this bakery. Nearby is “Midori” (Green). It is operated by Mari Kurata (our Japanese partner for environment). She sells organic farm products from our farmers who are members of Ikaw-Ako Japan-Negros Partnership for Environmental Protection. Brewed coffee from Patag Valley here tastes egregious! (What a word!) Just come to “Midori” and feel organic. It’s just in front of Silay public plaza. Dine now!
The Golden Food Park managed by Lida Ledesma (along Silay highway going to Bacolod) specializes in grilled chicken (pakpak, pechopak, atay, paa, etc.) Ask for the menu book and find the “best lutong-bahay” of Silay.
The management has improved the place for family reunions, alumni batch homecoming, and for “barkada” sessions. Sir and Ma’am Restaurant (the old timer) is still the favorite of motorists and the original “suki,” and tourists who want the taste of Silay. Mario and Tess Torres (owners) and their children are the ones managing the business. “Turo-turo” long table displays dinuguan, native chicken tinola, fish paksiw, bakareta, lechon kawali, callos, papait, grilled bangus or tilapia, pancit Silay, fried bagoong, pickled papaya, and assorted desserts.
Barangay Balaring in Silay (a fishing village) is proud of its shoreline restaurants. Here you can eat romantically with your wife (and family members) or dine passionately with your girlfriend (or you know who) while watching the fishermen rowing their fishing boats away. Sea food is a special offering. Grilled bangus, tilapia and squid are best match for “sinamak” (vinegar seasoned with “siling labuyo”, “langkawas,” “luy-a” and “ahos”.
Other best sellers are “gambas”, “sizzling tangigue”, sweet and sour “inid,” “alimango-kahang sarciado,” “lusgos pasayan,” “kinilaw,” or you may order for grilled pork to improve your cholesterol content. “Alimusan ginat-an” or mixed seashells could be best for appetizer. You can arrange a special table for your special someone and you can whisper at the cook to prepare something special.
Eating in Balaring could be complimented with a mangrove date (inside a kilometer-long bamboo bridge under the mangrove canopy). You can end up in a bamboo tower facing the scenic Guimaras Strait. In here, you can freely express your emotion fascinated by the waves kissing the sand, inspired by the seabirds lofting in the sky.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 13, 2014.