Eating Cebuano food in Cebu
Cebuano food is big on chili peppers (“sili” locally) and vinegar. The locally grown peppers look like harmless tiny red slugs, but be warned, they pack a mean punch.
Cebuanos mainly use sili as a side dish for dipping other morsels into. The sauce is made by combing the sili with a local vinegar that is made from a coconut sap mixture. It’s called suka bisaya. Another staple dish is buwad, or salted fish.
The Cebuanos’ love for food is evident in their signature Cebuano dishes that are worth mentioning. They include:
Kinilaw is often translated as “salad,” but that is a poor translation because its nowhere near what most Westerners think of when they use the word. Kinilaw is a combination of vegetables (tomatoes are the bulk) and raw fish (tanigue – similar to tuna) flavored with a mixture of chilies, vinegar, and coconut milk. Delectably stunning.
Escabeche usually gets translated as “sweet and sour fish.”
Kanding caldereta is usually translated as “goat stew.” It is a gourmet dish in Cebuano culture.
Tinola is among the most well known soups in the Philippines – spring onions, tomatos, green chili, garlic, ginger, and a local herb similar to basil leaves. You can get fish tinola or chicken tinola.
Sinigang is also a soup, but flavored with tamarind. It can have either fish or chicken in it.
Pochero is another soup. This one boasts large chunks of pork. It’s flavored with garlic, herbs and includes lots of vegetables. The flavour is distinct and rich.
Ginisal is usually served as a vegetable dish. It commonly includes bean sprouts, bamboo-shoots, beans and cabbage cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, onions, and garlic.
Inun-unan is a fish dish cooked in garlic and vinegar. Usually it is cooked in something like a crock pot. Most Western tourists are surprised at how much they like the dish…
Pinakbet is a stir fried vegetable dish that includes squash (pumpkin).
The above is just a small sampling of what Cebuano cuisine has to offer. There are plenty of good rice dishes and amazing seafood in the menu.
Several good restaurants in Cebu specialize in Filipino (and Cebuano, in particular) cuisine, including:
Cafe Laguna on Veterans Drive in Lahug,
Golden Cowrie Restaurant in Lahug
Lantaw Gardens at Cebu Plaza in Lahug
Seafood City Restaurant at J.Y. Square in Lahug
Chikaan sa Cebu on Juana Osmeña Street
Lighthouse Restaurant on General Maxilom Ave.
Lighthouse Restaurant at Gaisano Country Mall in Banilad
Patio Isabel on Old Banilad Road
Nang Damasa’s Restaurant at the Raintree Mall
Royal Concourse on Gorordo Avenue
Barrio Fiesta Restaurant in SM City mall
Tsibog’s in Marina Mall, Mactan