Most hotels and resorts that I know of, usually serve the usual Filipino and American dishes. Expect to see burgers, crispy pata, pansit,, fries, spaghetti and the likes, food that is just present wherever you go. But the first time I had lunch at this resort, I got curious with the dishes that were served.
Except for the fried tilapia and lechong kawali, the rest of the dishes were rather unfamiliar, ones that the owner, a true blue Buhi native, grew up with. These were locally available ingredients: sinarapan from Lake Buhi, taro leaves from the backyard, gata from coconuts growing across the fence, root crops from the neighbor. In short, most of the ingredients, the vegetables, the fruits, were fresh and readily available around the lake. And credit to the delicious home cooked meals too.
I got curious, I was asking questions, I was photographing, and taking notes, trying to see what ingredients were included. Once I tasted these, I wasn’t disappointed. These were new to my palate yet imbued with that authentic Bicolano flavors: fire from chilies, creaminess from the gata (coconut milk) and the distinct earthly taste of laing, taro leaves.
It was the first time I have eaten pinalupsi, a mishmash of saba bananas and various root crops cooked in gata with a little salt. There’s a hint of sweetness from the banana but pair this with the spicy tineouteou na balao, a Buhi version of Bicol Express that uses small shrimps and you got a wonderful play of flavors and textures.
Or how about the ginisang sinarapan, pair it with steaming rice and add ninatkan ra karabasa and you got a simple yet memorable meal. Or even the simplicity of having sinapot for a snack? The more these dishes were served, the more I looked forward to what I will have for lunch and dinner.
And I guess, resorts and hotels should also highlight local cuisine or making it an option as what Saylo Cuisine in Kalibo is also doing. Let tourists and travelers experience local food and let them know further the richness of the place. That’s what I discovered and it made my stay in Lake Buhi memorable.