KITCHEN STORIES by Aissa Arambulo-Dela Cruz
The Maribago Coast curves inwards where The Cove – the Live Seafood Restaurant of the Bluewater Resorts Group, a wholly Filipino-owned chain of resorts showcasing the best of our culture with the distinct approach to hospitality, the Cebuano Amuma or caring, is tucked in.
The Cove serves only the live catch and bounty of the local waters and prepared the minimalist way to ensure its freshness and natural flavors.
Ilocano Executive Chef Stephen del Amen introduced local condiments he uses when he and his team prepare the catch of the sea the traditional way.
Lobster Thermidor welcomed us on our table overlooking the blue waters. Our gracious host was VP – Sales & Mktg. Margie Munsayac in one of her visits to the resort.
Margie Munsayac and Aissa Arambulo-Dela Cruz
The fresh seafood fare was presented by Chef Stephen. Tinap-anan na Pugita (smoked octopus) was cooked with the “palapa” a sweet spicy condiment consisting of thinly sliced scallions, pounded ginger, siling labuyo with toasted grated coconut – an important cultural symbol of the Maranao people from Lanao del Sur. This is an ubiquitous condiment that accompanies every meal in the region.
Tinap-anan na Pugita
The popular Cebuano Sutukil (acronym for Sugba, Tula, Kilaw) using the Managat fish (mangrove jack) cooked in three ways. The fish was white and fleshy. The Kinilaw na Tanguigue has a tart and tangy marinade using kaffir lime and “tabon tabon” a tropical fruit with brown hard shell, the bitterness of which results in a bitter sour sweetness that improves the flavors of Kinilaw.
There was also the island conch and Saang – univalve shells we enjoyed simply boiled. The steamed crab was classic with Alavar sauce. And to wash away the taste of the sea, Pastry Chef Edgar Daclan created a delicious Citrus Tart and The Cove Trio Ice Cream on a Tuille made of black and white sesame seeds.
The Cove Trio of Ice Cream
What a delicious experience in The Cove!