A good food trip doesn't always have to mean that the food was expensive or that you dined at a 1-star Michelin restaurant. Sometimes, it's the simplest of things that can lead to a good food trip-- the delicious taste of the food that makes you crave for it once more, an enjoyable dining experience, and the comfort of being with friends that truly matter.
I was reminded of these things recently when my friends took me to a local hole-in-the-wall establishment at the back of Cebu Doctors' Hospital in Fuente. It was a quiet Saturday night-- there wasn't much activity in the street; far from the usual crowd the road brings in on a regular work day as hordes of students, nurses, and other people would gather around the vicinity and go about with their daily routines. Although the road was one and the same, the void of the familiar throng of pedestrians, motorcycles, and cars felt anew to me. My friends, however, insisted I try the food. And thankfully, I did.
Vibe's Chicken Gourmet isn't exactly what you'd call a new establishment. It's one of those carinderias or hole-in-the-wall places where locals know of but never garnered enough attention to be buzzworthy. Students from nearby schools frequent it, as did med reps who were passing the time before they rushed off to meet with their doctors. For this Ilongga however, Vibe's was exactly the kind of establishment I needed to be aware of.
There's no extravagance to Vibe's interior. It's an open-air dining establishment that even lacked its own signage. You'll only know when you're there once you see its name written on Manila paper and plastered behind a woman who would take your order. What they miss for in ambiance and interior, they gain with their delicious dishes. But at the very least, the place was clean and maintained well.
It's no secret that the Cebuanos are known for their barbecue-- skewered meat grilled and lathered afterwards with a Banana Ketchup sauce. This is what makes Vibe's different from other barbecue stalls in the city. Instead of the usual sauce, Vibe's offers various options for their marinade--Herbs and Spices, Cajun, Lemon Pepper, Teriyaki, and many more.
So far, I've visited Vibe's three times-- one during lunch, the other times at night. I was informed that during lunchtime, they only serve the usual turo-turo fare or if you'd like to get the chicken, you could get either the Teriyaki or the Lemon Pepper fried. While the fried Lemon Pepper chicken was good, I'd really recommend visiting during dinner so you can enjoy it grilled, along with other flavors.
Cajun (P90 with rice)
Chicken Teriyaki (P90 with rice)
Lemon Pepper (P90 with rice)
Herbs & Spicy (P90 with rice)
It's no secret my favorite option among these was the Lemon Pepper. I do plan to try other flavors next time though. It's also good to pair your chicken dish with their fresh fruit shake. My favorite was the Green Mango Shake!
Banana Shake (P55)
Dining at Vibe's reminds me of what a good food trip truly is. It's delicious, affordable (I spent only P150) and memorable. And for that brief moment, I felt like I was already a native Bisaya; or at least I was in on their secret.
What does a good food trip mean for you? Let me know in the comments below :)
Vibe's Chicken Gourmet
Gov. M. Roa St., Capitol, Cebu City
Landmarks: Behind Cebu Doctor's Hospital, beside 7-Eleven
*Note: Be careful where you park since this area is known for clamping/towing