Culinary surprises in Palawan

96a77f27354acba75aced9129b3353c4My culinary experience in Palawan started as soon as I boarded the plane to do a feature for the TV show “Foodprints,” which airs on the Lifestyle channel every Sunday at 8 pm.

To fly out of Naia 4 or the old domestic airport did not sound exciting to me; I remembered how it looked like just a few years back. It also didn’t help that I knew nothing about the airline we were taking.

What a surprise then to see the airport newly refurbished, clean, cool and quite well-organized. The AirAsia plane had a huge Manny Pacquiao sign on it. I loved that!

Prepared in Malaysia

I was also quite surprised to see that the plane looked new inside. There were meals on board for hungry travelers like me. I learned that some of the meals were prepared in Malaysia.

There was Nasi Lemak or the chicken version of Beef Rendang, caldereta and roast chicken with Hainanese rice. I had the Lemak, and was very impressed with the taste and the authenticity of the dish. Mildly spicy, it had a thick coconut sauce with dilis. I loved it.

I just found the hard-boiled egg tough. I had the roast chicken on the way back and also enjoyed it immensely.

I look forward to flying again on AirAsia and trying out more of this airline’s dishes.

Good restaurants

Palawan doesn’t really have a particular cuisine. But there are many foreigners who love the island so much, they have made the place their home. Some of them have set up very good restaurants.

There are also local restaurants serving delicious food. I was particularly impressed by La Terrasse, owned and run by partners Dichay Roxas and Melanie Alvarez.

We were served adobo overload, crispy duck rolls, Tuscan pork roulade, poached fish fillet, pan-fried tilapia, spicy eggplant with tofu, Palawan honey nougat and Boayan Cassava Royale.

Everything was good, but the outstanding ones were the adobo, duck, eggplant and tilapia dishes, and the desserts. I have been craving for them since.

I also enjoyed the food at the Daluyon Resort. I had some grilled prawns with yellow rice—very good. But what I remember most about that place was releasing around 80 baby turtles to freedom. I learned that these babies will eventually come back to this same beach to lay their eggs in the future. Go figure.

‘Kamayan’-style buffet

Another unforgettable dining experience was a feast prepared for us by Sandy Bridge Farm.

We went there to see the different stages of kasuy-making which I thought was very interesting.

But we were floored to sample the kamayan-style buffet set before us: grilled chicken and pork, pusit and fish, grilled organic vegetables like okra with burong hipon on the side, burong manggang hilaw (just recalling it makes me drool!) and a chilled atis with gata for dessert. Loved all of it!

I also dream about Puerto Princesa’s version of inasal. Ka Inato serves a delicious grilled chicken with garlic rice. Sarap!

The letdown for me was the highly touted Vietnamese cuisine. Most of the Vietnamese refugees have left a long time ago, and the only trace of their cuisine left are the “Filipinized” Vietnamese food being served in quite a few restaurants that claim to be authentic. But the food’s taste is far from the real ones I’ve come to know. Sayang.

Palawan is not only about lovely beaches. It can also be a wonderful culinary destination. I look forward to another culinary journey as soon as I step into that plane again.

Happy eating!

For more details, contact La Terrasse, tel. (048) 4341787; Daluyon, 0917-8926316; or Sandy Bridge Farm, 0915-2352264.

Follow the author on Instagram sandydaza77 and Twitter @sandydaza. Visit his blog sandydaza.blogspot.com.

Read more: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/191729/culinary-surprises-in-palawan#ixzz3YmGIG1G2

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