*This article was originally published on ABS-CBNNews.comon January 11, 2015.
A scene from Cebu's Sinulog. Photo by Jon Andrew Cabiles
CEBU CITY -- Drums beating in an ecstatic cheer. The roads filled with excited locals. Even weeks after the holiday season has passed, Cebuanos continue with their festive mood. Yes, Sinulog fever has taken over.
For Cebuanos, Sinulog season is the only time they can join in on the fun their neighbors take pride in. Even a four-kilometer hike won’t dampen their spirits as they take part in the celebration full of dancing, cheering and drinking.
When all the festivity has died down and it’s time to eat, a good food trip is always a memorable adventure. With all the usual local options available (barbecue at Larsian, fresh seafood at STK, back ribs at Casa Verde and pochero at Abuhan), finding a place to dine may be a struggle for those who come from out of town.
With this, here are some of the newest restaurants in Cebu City that you should visit during Sinulog season:
The interiors of Orange Karenderia. Photo by the author
Think of Orange Karenderia as a hip and slightly more upscale version of the carinderias lined up outside Cebu’s IT Park. The air-conditioned carinderia is always jampacked with diners so be prepared to be seated next to a stranger. Best for groups, some dishes are good to share and enjoy with friends. Among the bestsellers from this restaurant are the Kusog (tuna tendons), Grilled Pork Belly, and the delicious Betsy’s Garlic Chicken. Their dishes are affordable, delicious and perfect for those who are adventurous enough to try their exotic Crispy Tuna Bihod (fish eggs).
2. Pizza Republic
The interiors of Pizza Republic. Photo from the restaurant's Facebook page
Right next to Orange Karenderia, a (fairly) new pizza place has opened to serve the local market. Make your way to the counter where an array of pizza toppings, cheeses, and sauces await your tastebuds. You can pick your own assortment of flavors and pray that the combination works to your liking. If you prefer to keep it safe, you can choose from one of their classic pizza dishes. Their pick and mix pizza option comes in a 10-inch size pizza with 60 toppings to add on top. When you’re done, the dish will be cooked in a brick oven on one side of their wall. As for the price? It’ll only cost you P245.
Truffled Shoestring Potatoes. Photo from the restaurant's Facebook page
If you’re looking for an intimate dining experience, a visit to Brique along Salinas Drive in Lahug will not disappoint you. Having opened just a few months ago, there’s a reason why Brique is always full of diners. The combination of the delicious food plus beautifully designed rustic interior makes the wait worth it. Must tries include their Drunken Angus, Truffled Shoestring Potatoes, and Fudged Smores.
Situated in one of the smaller streets in Mabolo, Café de Geneve is a hidden gem in Cebu City. If you’re fond of cheese, you need to try the Cheese Fondue or the Raclette Cheese. Manned by the husband-and-wife tandem of Sebastian and Windy Gygli, you’ll enjoy a feast of European dishes as they welcome you into their small home. The menu frequently changes but if you’re lucky, make sure you order their Zurich Chicken with Roesti. For dessert, grab a slice of the delicious Chocolate Truffle Cake and Lemon Tart to taste how exquisite French culinary could be.
Frontgate burger. Photo by the author
If you’re on the hunt for burgers, a trip to Frontgate in Baseline can help you get over your craving for delicious, quality burgers. You can choose to add other ingredients to your burger so you can get your fill of something unique and satisfactory to your taste. And if you’re missing McDonald’s Twister Fries, Frontgate’s Curly Fries can fill in those shoes.
6. La Lagrima Taqueria
For Mexican fare, a visit to La Lagrima Taqueria in Banilad can be an adventure all on its own. You can savor delicious Mexican dishes such as burritos, tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas and many more at a price you can easily get away with. Plus they offer a veggie and super veggie option for their burrito; which is sure to fill the appetite of vegetarians.
Yakski barbecue. Photo from the restaurant's Facebook page
Barbecue is a local favorite for Cebuanos. Smothered in a ketchup-based sauce, you’ll find a number of barbecue places throughout Cebu City. But if you’re looking for a taste of barbecue from back home, a visit to Yakski will surely be a treat for you. While they offer the usual barbecue parts from chicken or pork, their homemade and original sauce will be a treat you’ll want to come back for. Somewhat similar to Metro Manila’s Reyes Barbecue, they offer an option between the spicy or regular taste. You’ll surely enjoy their sauce, it’s a guarantee!
A visit to Cebu is never complete without lechon. If you’re looking for the best place to eat lechon belly, the name that you should remember is none other than Tatang’s. Their lechon belly is so delicious that you won’t even need a sauce to accompany the meat. All you need is to wrap your hands around your puso rice and enjoy every bite.
While some of these establishments are new, there are others that haven’t gained too much attention from the public. You can feel like a local and troop over to these restaurants instead of the usual options so you can taste the best of Cebu. But if you’re truly feeling adventurous, you can head over to J. Llorente Street and try one of the pungko-pungko stalls. Are you brave enough?