Living in an archipelago with 7,107 islands has its wonders. You have mountains, lakes, beaches and wonderful provinces. Different dialects, different looks and different food. In visiting provinces, eating local dishes is a must. It tells you a lot about their culture and character.
In the city, where everyone is busy working their way up to success, having a time to visit the provinces is next to impossible but those delectable dishes from the provinces won’t be missed. One can just simply visit Kusé and order their favorite.
The inside looks simple yet it make you feel like an illustrado. The woven wood chairs and the chandelier adds to that elite Filipino feeling once you enter, plus OPM music to compliment it. Pardon my photos as they were only taken using a smartphone, I accidentally left my camera’s battery.
For starters we were served a slice of Laguna with Paco Salad sa Laguna w/ Kesong Puti. I remembered the first time I ate fresh fern was when I had a vacation in Quezon province and had them freshly picked from the backyard but this is something different, it’s something new for me.
I would have order sago’t gulaman or ginumis if there was any but sadly no, so I settled for my second favorite pinoy drink, the calamansi juice. It was nothing extraordinary about the juice, just a slice of lemon to top it, but that’s the way it should be – calamansi juice.
After Laguna, we had a bite of Bicol with it’s signature spicy-coconut milk dishes. One of them is the Adobong Kuhol sa Gata. I love Bicolano food, their signature spicy and creamy cooking goes well with everything, fish, pork, vegetables and it’s no surprise that it’s also perfect with Kuhol, an edible snail. What’s best about this dish is that you don’t have to go through the hassle of extracting the snail from it’s home, just eat and enjoy.
Kare-Kare is a very popular dish but I’m clueless of where it originated, some say it orginated from Pampanga others some say it from the south as it is also popular in Tawi-tawi. Nevertheless, the best I tasted was in Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill at Kusê. It’s creamy, tasty and the ingredients are perfectly cooked complimented with sweet-salty bagoong. Vegetables are soggy and the ox tripe is tender.
If I would use a tagline for this next dish it would be “The Filipino Dish Worth Dying For” because having too much of this will definitely kill you.
The Pork Crispy Pata has the right crispness of the pork skin plus the tenderness of the meat, is just perfect.
Adding comfort to the line up of dishes is the Sinigang na Bangus sa Bayabas. The has a rich guava taste that soothes, the perfect comfort food. Surprisingly, the bangus is already deboned, something I never seen or eaten in a Sinigang na Bangus sa Bayabas. No fish bones, no guava seeds.
The next three goes together well as fried rice with something fried or grilled. The Garlic Dulong Rice is fried rice topped with fried dulong or anchovy.
Mini Ukoy is crispy fried mixture of taro, shrimp and vegetables served with a garlic vinegar dip.
Inihaw na Bangus is also a popular dish. You see them mostly on family gatherings and outings. You will also see lots of them on beach resorts together with a bunch grilled seafood. It’s filled with the usual tomato, onion and other spices. It’s also boneless so you won’t have your hands busy deboning it, just your digestive system consuming it.
Something every one is looking forward to after every meal are the deserts. I present you Sapin Sapin Creme Brulee and the Banana Lanka in Filo. It’s ordinary delicacies given an extraordinary treatment. You’ll love the caramel sauce served with the Banana Lanka in Filo or mini turons.
It doesn’t end here, the list of specialties form different provinces also includes Pork Sisig Kapampangan, Pancit Lechon de Lucban and Batangas Bulao Soup among others. You don’t need to go far to taste the best of what the provinces can offer. Here is where you need to go to:
Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill – 8364969
Lucky Chinatown Mall, Binondo Manila – 7089576
Eton Centris Walk, Quezon City – 7099817
SOON – Festival Mall, Alabang
Kuse is part of the Chef’s Quarter Group which includes Uncle Cheffy, Old Vine Grille, Chefs’ Quarter Restaurant and Wine Bar, Kuse Traditional Filipino Cuisine, Beurre Blanc French-Mediterranean Restaurant and Larry & Mau Diner.