Tacloban may not strike many as an eating destination like Bacolod or Davao, but the food scene in Tacloban is varied and delicious!
POSTED BY JENNIE
Here’s my Top 5 Must Try if and when you find yourself in Tacloban.
Number 5: Sunzibar’s Hot Beef Nachos.
Sunzibar is a Mexican restaurant that’s been around for over 10 years. Their Hot Beef Nachos is a combination of crispy home made nachos that come in the shape of thin triangles with scalloped edges like a lasagne noodle. The beef is minced rather than ground and the cheese sauce is both spicy with a hint of sweetness. This crispy, cheesy, gooey, sweet and spicy combination is a great way to begin your Tacloban food adventure.
Try Sunzibar’s Diablo Chops as well, the hot sauce really packs a punch.
Number 4: Guiseppe’s Pizza Quesilo
Guiseppe’s in Tacloban (not to be confused with Guiseppe’s in Cebu and Bohol) is about to celebrate its 25th year. When Joseph, an Italian and Cathy, a New Yorker with roots in Leyte met in New York more than a quarter of a century ago, little did they know they would end up with a restaurant in Tacloban. The Bonavitocola couple have a very funny story that involves an Anaconda ending up as adobo in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, but that’s another story altogether. They have excellent pizzas and pastas, I particularly loved their Pizza Quesilo. It’s not on the menu but you can ask for it. Quesilo is a local goat cheese that is creamy and chewy and goes extremely well with Guiseppe’s tomato sauce and slightly burnt, chewy pizza crust. Molto bene!
Number 3: Chew Love’s Pork-bidden Love
Chew Love is owner Coke Young – Go’s love letter of sorts to the people of Tacloban. She said she wanted to serve home cooked meals in an environment that was colourful and cheerful after the depressing weeks and months that followed Typhoon Yolanda. And so together with her Mom they created Chew Love, a true labor of love with every nook and cranny designed and filled with things that they love. Colourful murals, inspirational messages, playful interiors and definitely food that makes people happy. Even the names of the dishes are playful like Pork-bidden Love which is their take on adobo. What makes their adobo unique? It has tablea or bitter chocolate! Chocolate is commonly used for cooking in Mexican dishes, but in their case it was because there was nothing left in their pantry after Typhoon Yolanda that Coke’s Mom substituted soy sauce with tablea and it worked! The tablea adds another dimension of flavour. It is served with 2 pieces of crispy danggit or bulad because in Tacloban according to Coke, anything with chocolate has to have a salty counterpart.
They also have a knock out Halo-Halo made with cooked ice (yes cooked ice) called Gold Digger. You’ll have to try it to understand what I mean.
Number 2: Q Kitchen’s Pad Thai
I was told that Q Kitchen in Tacloban served excellent Thai Cuisine, but of course I was skeptical. Thai food in Tacloban?? I was wrong, Q Kitchen really has good Thai food that can in fact rival my favourite Thai restaurant in Manila, People’s Palace. Their Pad Thai had chewy al dente noodles, that burnt flavour that makes it so delicious plus the sweet, sour, spicy combination that bursts in your mouth. The other Thai dishes I had were equally good, especially the Steak Nam Tok- Grilled Thai Style U.S Beef Tenderloin served with Jim Jaew Sauce and the See Krong Moo Yang- Grilled Honey Glazed Pork Ribs. The cook is Pinoy but trained by a Thai chef. I would say he was trained very well.
Number 1: Tonto & Scallops at Ocho Grill
Ocho Seafood Grill is probably the most popular restaurant in Tacloban, and it deserves to be. Don’t expect ambience but expect fresh seafood cooked to your liking. It’s a dampa style restaurant where you choose what you want and the kitchen will cook it for you. They have a wonderful selection of fresh seafood, but 2 things I really enjoyed were the grilled Tonto also known as dog tooth tuna and scallops. Tonto is only available in these parts and that’s why it’s my #1. It’s milky and tender yet firm with very little “tinik” or bones so you can just eat and eat. It’s also perfectly grilled, moist, briny and all around delicious. Scallops you can get in many restaurants in Tacloban, but Ocho does theirs really well, grilled with garlic and butter it’s so simple yet so fantastic. The scallops I’ve tried in Manila, even the imported ones are sorely lacking in flavour and freshness. Looks like I’ll have to wait until my next trip to Tacloban to have my fill of grilled scallops.
Hope these tips come in handy for when you visit Tacloban!
Don’t forget to watch our FoodPrints Tacloban episodes on Lifestyle in the Philippines and TFC (The Filipino Channel) worldwide.