Monday, November 06, 2006

Dumaguete Ramblings, Part 1

Group photo after lunch at Jo's Chicken Inato in downtown Dumaguete(Above: Outside of Jo's Chicken Inato in downtown Dumaguete after a delicious lunch that included the famous mango shake. Marilyn, right, is shown with two of her friends.)

Many months ago I had written on the virtues of mango shakes, specifically those served at South Seas Resort just north of downtown Dumaguete. I should also note that I became quite fond of the mango fruit itself, having never before tasted this delectable treat. Now, I do not consider myself a connoisseur of exotic cuisine (i.e. anything other than pizza or cheeseburgers) and so was quite pleased with the rather tame selection of foods that I encountered in Dumaguete. However, I couldn't possibly expect to subsist on a diet of fresh mangos and fattening mango shakes for two weeks, could I? Actually, I probably would have done so without issue, but I possessed a culinary curiosity that required me to leave my unadventurous taste buds at home and experience some native Filipino delicacies.

My decision to be "brave" and partake of these foods quickly evaporated when I got my first look at halo-halo. Admittedly, it looked extremely peculiar to me, though perhaps not quite on the same level as balut or dinuguan. Never before had I encountered such a colorful and eclectic brew as this halo-halo, what with fruits and ice chips and beans and gelatin—all jammed together in a tall dessert glass. To an American who was not accustomed to such a sight you can probably appreciate my apprehension about trying it. There are various American dishes that would illicit similar reactions in Dumagueteños as well. Even Marilyn retorted with an emphatic "yuk" at the mere mention of turkey. Yes, our beloved American turkey. I didn't interpret this eschew as a slam against my culture, but as a reminder of how palatable cuisine in one country can be viewed with the utmost disgust in another (whether actually ingested or not).

Even some Americans would balk at the offer of sampling a bowl (or plate) of genuine Cincinnati Chili.


Blogger RTS said...

We seem to have something else in common.I didn't care for the halo halo either and since Cathy doesn't like turkey we have manok for Thanksgiving.There's a market located 45 minutes from us that has Mexican mangoes that are almost as good as those in Philippines.

Friday, November 10, 2006 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Corey said...

Hello Bob...actually, I never even tried the halo halo, so I'm not being completely fair in my assessment. The one good opportunity I had was the night at South Seas when Marilyn had invited several friends to dinner. A few of them ordered it, but I simply "chickened out" when the offer came to try it. I have heard a few non-Filipinos say that it is quite tasty. However, I fell in love with the mangoes and the mango shakes.

Friday, November 10, 2006 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger RTS said...

Hi Corey, I guess I'm a bit braver when it comes to trying different types of food. I've even tried the balut. if you don't know what that is you can check ou this... balut

Saturday, November 11, 2006 8:34:00 PM  
Blogger Ed Abbey said...

I have eaten Halo Halo and to me, it tastes like a bowl of Fruity Pebbles cereal with icy milk poured over it. However, I only eat it at places with guaranteed filters in place as ice is the most common way of getting sick in a third world country such as the Philippines. I have eaten everything put before me, including stewed chicken feet, but I have yet to try balut. I don't know if I ever will get around to trying that.

Monday, November 13, 2006 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Dominique said...

Hi, Corey: Halo-halo is as varied in the Philippines as the stores that serve it. Each one has his or her own recipe. As they say, your mileage may vary. Generally, I'm fine as long as there's lots of cornflakes.

Some shops will actually allow you to mix your own halo-halo. There's a buffet restaurant in Cebu which lets you do just that.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 12:48:00 AM  
Blogger Dominique said...

Oh, and this might surprise, but: in Malaysia and Singapore (and I think Indonesia), they have a similar concoction. They call it ABC, and I think that stands for air-batu-cachang. It's also crushed ice, a little milk, and kacang beans. Not as varied as halo-halo, but similar enough.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 12:52:00 AM  
Blogger christine said...

Corey, the Philippine mango is in my top 5 list of food items I think one should try at least once in their lives! It's that amazing! I hope you give halo-halo a chance, it's pretty good. :)

Monday, November 27, 2006 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Corey said...

Thank you, Christine. I think I could have easily survived on the mango alone. In all honesty I had never before had a mango, so I had no clue how they tasted. Marilyn would cut them in such a way that they would slide out of the skin. I like tasty foods that are also convenient to eat ;)

Dominique...I have heard about the halo-halo mixing that can be done so you can customize it to your liking. That is probably the route I would go. I once saw a blog about Razon's in Pampanga, which serves a halo-halo resembling a nice, thick milkshake. It really looked delicious. In fact, they claim it is the best around...though I heard that declaration from other restaurants and cafes as well.

Monday, November 27, 2006 6:25:00 PM  

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