Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Destination Food: Day 1 of Cebu Food Crawl 2016

The weather was fine when the plane took off Tacloban's Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport. Prior to that, I only ate 3 pieces of pandesal and drank a cup of brewed coffee to fuel my brain for work. In less than 20 minutes, we landed at Mactan-Cebu International Airport and I am hoping that I'd still be able to catch up with the food crawl. I was sulking because I missed a lot during the first day of food crawl due to work. #Priorities.

As I hailed a cab, I only wish to have a good food experience despite mingling with people whom I barely know. The introvert in me is challenged but you can't say no to good food, especially in Cebu.

Cafe Jasmin

First stop was Cafe Jasmin. I was glad to see familiar faces, so mingling around with some of the participants wasn't hard. Located at Cabahug Street, Cafe Jasmin is a quintessential pastry shop - dainty, comfortable, and relaxing. The strong aroma of coffee hit me really hard as I entered the shop and I was craving for a second cup of caffeine. Here are some of the dishes we tried:

Penne chicken carbonara


Japanese curry with rice. LAMI.

Latte and flat white. Mmmmm coffee.

M&Ms and Blueberry Cheesecakes

Their lasagna tastes great as well as their Japanese curry. The latter doesn't taste like your typical Filipino curry. Lami kaayo!

Ran Vitanova (who by the way reminds me of a typical American-Asian dad from any American TV series), told us that their coffee is one of the cafe's bestsellers. I was so excited to try their latte and it was really delicious. Unlike any other lattes, Cafe Jasmin's didn't taste bitter yet you can feel the caffeine kicking inside you minutes after your first sip. He even shared that their coffee beans are imported from South America and Africa.

If you're into coffee and arts, Cafe Jasmin is your one stop shop for it.

The Degustation Challenge at Shangri-La

The traffic going to Mactan Island was really bad that despite consuming two cups of strong coffee earlier, I fell asleep inside the van. Good thing, Shangri-La Mactan surprised us through degustation with a twist - all participants were asked to put on their individual blindfolds and taste some of their dishes. This particular experience was new to me. One of my senses wasn't functioning, thus the remaining available senses, particularly the olfactory, were on turbo mode. LOL. These are the dishes that we tried during the blindfold challenge:

Foie Gras "Cuba Libre". An appetizer composed of cola, lemon granite, brioche, and rocket.

Beetroot Gazpacho. Composed of Fine de Claire oyster, raddish, and garden herbs.

Beetroot Gazpacho without the beetroot.

Strawberry Ice Cream with carrot cake and salad.

This is the dish that we tried sans our blindfolds, THANK GOD.

New Zealand Lamb Rack

Surprisingly, the lamb meat was tender and it didn't smell funny.

To cap off our Shangri-La experience, we were rewarded with one glass of chocolate martini.

Dinner time at District on 53rd

Strategically located at IT Park, District 53rd offers fusion dishes. The place is instagrammable and has this 'rustic' feels which I really liked. The first dish we tried was the District Sungka. You have homemade chips and turmeric bread with four different thick sauces placed in a sungka board, a classic Filipino game. Next one was the Crispy Noodles with Seafood. To enjoy this dish, you need to pour the hot curry soup from the teapot. The curry soup tastes really great and it didn't have this strong distinct smell of curry spice. This is my personal favorite.

District Sungka

Black Bun

Crispy Noodles with Seafood.

Porcini Fondue

Pistachio Lamb Shish Kebab

Cheese lovers will definitely love District 53rd as they offer Porcini Fondue - melted cheese fondue and bread. We also sampled their Black Bun (charcoal bread + slow cooked ox tongue + chickpea salad + romaine) but it didn't catch my attention. The pistachio lamb shish kebab, however was the bomb!

Gibbs' Hot Wings

My Cebu gastronomic experience would not be complete without visiting Gibbs' Hot Wings. This restaurant at Streetscape also participated in last year's Cebu Food Crawl. After almost a year, I finally devoured two to three level 5 hot wings. It goes well with two to three cups of white rice (kababuyan!). If you're into spicy wings, Gibbs' Hot Wings is the place to be.


My first day in Cebu Food Crawl 2016 was indeed a blast. Stay tuned as we discover more of Cebu's food landscape.

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