Sunday, March 24, 2013

Golden Cowrie in Cebu -- familiar favorite

Cebu is my happy stomping ground for food -- local restaurants abound, big or small, old or newly opened, hole in the wall or fine dining place ... you are sure to discover delicious meals.
An old favorite of mine is Golden Cowrie, a well known institution in the Cebu restaurant scene. Today it's been overtaken by all the new places that have opened and have generated a lot of buzz.
But as it is with restaurants that take genuine pride in what they do -- Golden Cowrie may not be the latest hotspot but they have been consistent with both food and (very friendly)  service through the years.

I was in Cebu for a quick working trip two weeks ago and I was with someone who loved to eat but admittedly had very little knowledge of the Cebu dining scene.  Finding ourselves with free time at dinner -- away from the clients --  I decided to take her to Golden Cowrie -- at its original site in Lahug.

My friend does not eat meat but we both found this sign for the famous Cebu lechon so amusing. Pinoys really have a way with words!  Unfortunately, since I'm vegetarian -- I guess I can't vouch if the lechon at Golden Cowrie is indeed "unbelibaboy".

Golden Cowrie serves traditional Filipino food -- a mix of both Tagalog and Cebuano favorites.  The place setting is a banana leaf on a wooden tray. Rice is "eat-all-you-can" ... someone comes around to ladle as much (or as little) as you want on your banana leaf plate.

It's hard to be go strictly vegetarian when out of town, specially as I cannot resist Golden Cowrie's famous baked scallops.  So we order that plus boneless daing na bangus ... and another Golden Cowrie specialty ... fried tuna fingers.
Don't laugh  -- but this is a very good dish.  The tuna is fresh and there is no oily after taste at all.
I had to convince my friend to order it since it seemed so incongruous with the rest of the "native" offerings.
And just as I thought, after she tried it, she agreed that it was a great choice.

Imbao is a type of clam which is very popular in the south.  The clams are a bit bigger and very flavorful.  In a simple broth -- the sweet freshness of the imbao is just heavenly!  
For all that we ordered (which we finished, not a fish finger nor a scallop wasted) our bill came to just P900!  Such an abundance of good and fresh food for a very reasonable cost.  
It's just one reason why after all these years, Golden Cowrie continues to hold its own among the many restaurant choices in Cebu.

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