How would you like to sample the best dishes of Cavite without going through the entire province? Or to put it simply, how would you like to taste a lot of great food in one place? That’s what “Taste Cavite” is all about, and here’s how you can enjoy it yourselves.
Last weekend, I had the privilege of experiencing firsthand, together with fellow bloggers, a preview of Island Cove Hotel & Leisure Park’s “Taste Cavite.” Our gastronomic adventure took place in the scenic Fishing Village where we were graced with a pleasant weather and views of Metro Manila skyline and the bay.
Island Cove is actually less than half an hour drive from Metro Manila via CAVITEX. And at the Fishing Village, you dine in into their “floating” huts that vary in sizes. Also, if you prefer, you can even do fishing! Fishing fee applies and different prices per kilogram apply to different types of fishes caught.
Our culinary tour began almost as soon as we arrived in our hut! Island Cove Executive Assistant Manager Malu Samaco introduced us to the man responsible for the food that we would soon be enjoying, Executive Chef Vill Purificacion. Also with us is Managing Director Gilbert Remulla who, like Chef Vill, was very eager to tell us stories and history of the food that were being served.
Before we dig in to the food, here’s what Island Cove’s “Taste Cavite” is really all about:
I’ll be cutting the press release midway as I know you’re excited for the food! Without further ado, let’s begin the culinary tour. I hope you’ve eaten. 😀
Let’s start with the appetizers and with the first one that arrived on our tables, the Tahong Chips (mussel).
I’d say this one is really for seafood lovers. The taste of mussels is quite strong so you won’t really mistake it for anything else! It is very crunchy and sure is an interesting appetizer for me.
Next on our table is the Fried Lawlaw. The name may sound peculiar, but the taste is just really, really good! It became an instant favorite for everyone, and I really, really recommend this one. I would seriously go to Island Cove just for this one! It’s so good that despite being considered an appetizer, I can eat this with rice and it would make for a very nice meal! And that house-blend vinegar on the side, it’s so good I could pour it over rice and make any dish better. Seriously, these are that good! And we’ve only just begun!
Starting this list is the Mutya ng Cavite, another instant favorite!
Everything in it is such a delight to the palate! Even the sauce is so rich you may enjoy it on its own. The province would be proud of this dish that they need not worry that it carries their name. This is another item that you must not miss! They didn’t call it Mutya ng Cavite for nothing!
Here’s another interesting dish that is sure to delight seafood lovers: Bacalao. It’s tastes just as good as it looks and for some reason, I can’t help but think that this would make for a good pulutan.
If you think you know adobo, you have not met Adobong Imus. This is adobo without the soy sauce! And you know what, it gets away with it! You may think it would taste lame but it is surprisingly tasty! I could say that this is one of those dishes that you must try! Great complement to all the seafood dishes presented so far.
The Valenciana is another dish that looks very familiar. Chef Vill mentioned that they use a mixture of sticky and Japanese rice with this dish that’s why the consistency is different, and they use coconut milk for that distinct taste. This is one really filling dish on its own!
Afritada is usually done with chicken but the Kawit version uses pork instead. The name may suggest that the dish is vegetables with pork, but it seems like it’s the other way around. 🙂 This is another great dish you should try here as an alternative to seafood.
The lone soup in this gastronomic adventure, the Calandracas looks very familiar:
It’s really so much like the traditional sopas that we know, but without the milk or cream. Just the same, this makes for a very good comfort food. It has a lot of ingredients in it so I’m sure it’s pretty nutritious as well. 🙂
Let’s begin this section with something familiar: Pancit Malabon.
Did you know that the original Malabon is General Trias? As Chef Vill told us, General Trias was back in the day called San Francisco de Malabon, thus, the original Pancit Malabon is actually from Cavite! Anyway, their version does not look vastly from those seen in Metro Manila, but theirs is just superb. It has that additional smoky taste from tinapa (smoked fish) and just enough coating of the sauce that it doesn’t become too greasy. Original or not, their Pancit Malabon is one of the best I’ve tasted.
This is not the first time I’ve seen a black pancit, but oh boy, their Pancit Pusit is one of the best pancit variants I’ve ever tasted! What sets it apart from the rest, aside from its dark color from squid ink, is that it has green mango sheds on top! You may think it’s weird, but trust me, it’s really good! This is another must try here.
If you don’t like black pancit, they also have a white pancit, with a heart. ❤️ Seriously though, this is another great pancit variant. This one is more on the sour side which is quite unconventional. Nonetheless, this is another must try especially if you’re looking for something new that isn’t too exotic.
Puso ng saging literally means “heart of the banana.” It refers to the heart-like shape of the banana blossom.
Before we proceed to desserts, let us first take some time to digest the stories of the dishes I mentioned above from the folks that is organizing this delicious event:
Who’s up for desserts? 😀
When we think of desserts, we usually think sweets but the items on this list aren’t all sweet, and I don’t even know if we should consider them that. But since we ate them after “the feast,” might as well categorize them as desserts! 😀
Their kesong puti is vastly different from the ones I’ve tried before. It’s very smooth, it does not crumble, it’s not too salty that you can eat it on its own, yet still flavorful enough that you can eat it with bread or other pairings. What’s even better is that they don’t use preservatives so their kesong puti is always fresh, just a day or two old at most.
To be honest, I don’t know what category to put Tamales in. All I know is that it’s very rich in flavor and I really love it! It’s like a very flavorful bibingka but it has meat in it. If you think you haven’t had enough meat in your meal, have this one afterwards! 🙂
Sapin-sapin, kalamay, kutsinta, and puto are commonly referred to as kakanin and are some of the oldest native dishes of the Philippines. You may find them just about everywhere in the country, but even here, Chef Vill and his team did not disappoint! Somehow, their version is still much better even when compared to popular shops that offer similar items. For me, the kutsinta and sapin-sapin really stood out. These are some of the best kutsinta and sapin-sapin I’ve ever tried! No kidding! One co-blogger even described the sapin-sapin as almost like a cake. I, on the other hand, love that on top of the taste, it’s not greasy!
Hungry yet? I don’t know about you, but writing this post and recalling all the food made me. And what’s great is that you too can enjoy this great culinary tour! Here are the details:
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I really love this idea of Island Cove of putting some of the best dishes of Cavite under one roof! Who has the time to go around an entire province to scour for these? And not only that they picked some of the more interesting ones, they also made everything really, really good! One food blogger even commented that he didn’t expect the food to be that good! Personally, I think that what they served is really at par with the best in the country, if not better. To have dishes that many of us tasted for the first time and instantly turned into a favorite, that is something! Great view, interesting ambiance, and excellent food, all just minutes away from the Metro. I highly recommend it!
Note: All photos taken with an iPhone 5 with no digital manipulation except for resizing to fit this screen and watermarking.
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