If you have been following my previous posts, you might have already figured out that Doc Chard loves good food and as promised, I took him around more for a unique culinary tour. Leaving the hustle and bustle of Lacson Street, I took him north of Bacólod City, still within Metropolitan Bacólod, to the heritage Silay City. Last November, I was able to go on a tour with fellow bloggers around the city and was fascinated by the unique wonders the city offers.
It was my time now to share what I learned from Silay to my very noteworthy guest. Since we were up for lunch, I decided to take Doc Chard to Brgy. Balaring which is famous for it’s wide mangrove forest and the seafood restaurants that line the muddy shore. Knowing this would be one full meal, we were up for the challenge. There are a lot of seaside restaurants in Balaring to choose from. We decided to go for Mel-Ken’s Seafood House for the meal.
We were not wrong in choosing Mel-Ken’s Seafood House since the place commanded a great view of the sea’s wide expanse with the tidal marsh littered with fish pens and talaba poles where talaba and oysters grow. Even the restaurant was on top of water and soon enough, the rose to reveal fishes swimming on the waters under the restaurant. The fresh sea breeze was so soothing which makes going here worth even with distance from the poblacion.
As much as we want to appreciate the view, we came here really hungry so we asked for the menu. I love seafood and so does Doc Chard too which became a problem for us since we wanted to savor everything on the menu yet we have our limited spaces in our stomachs. We decided that I order the must tries and Doc Chard orders the rest on what he finds good. I ordered a hearty bowl of soup, appetizers, grilled seafood and of course, oysters or talaba.
The stomachs started to annoyingly churn in my stomach as we waited for our food. Food here is cooked fresh and we waited for a time to get our first batch of orders. First to arrive was ebi fry tempura or simply battered shrimps arrived first for our appetizers. At home, shrimps are a no-no since Dad and my younger brother is allergic to them but now I have my freedom. What is good is that I can really taste shrimp since the batter was just enough for coating.
We barely even started with the ebi fry tempura when our order of talaba or oysters arrived. Oysters got excited since I have not savored some for a very long time. My dismay though is that contents are not as big since oysters were not in season but I enjoyed some and finished everything up dipped in spiced vinegar or sinamak. One reminder though is that be ready to have fishy smells on your hand but I assure you, it’s worth the effort and the clean-up.
The tula nga tangigue or Spanish mackerel in soured soup got me excited since it’s one of my favorite seafood soup dishes and what excited me more is that this one uses batwan. The tula we usually cook in Manila is the one that uses tamarind as a souring agent but every Negrénse knows that batwan does it better. Generous servings of vegetables made the dish more delectable. Being Doctor, Doc Chard was health conscious and green veggies is a must.
Doc got his bowlful of servings to check this one out and true enough, he agreed that batwan really does the job better. He asked me where one could buy batwan and I told him from the markets but batwaan is rare to none in the markets of Metro Manila. Usually, those batwan that can be found in the grocery if chance has it on you is already puréed and bottled. As for the fish, it wasn’t too soft but chewy enough which is what tula or soured fish soup must.
The grilled squid was a pleasure too but it was not just grilled, but stuffed with diced tomatoes, onion and garlic before being grilled which added a rich flavor to what would have been a relatively bland squid. Squid is quite expensive in the markets of Metro Manila but here, it was eat all I can. Just as I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish everything, there was no scrap or morsel left. I guess this takes care of my seafood cravings and it was worth all the effort.
After resting a bit, we paid for the bill and walked around to burn some calories gained from our heart lunch. On our way, we found a proverbial “kanding nga may bangs” which got me laughing hard but have to explain to Doc what it means, with humor and all. If you’re planning to havegood lunch after you land in Bacólod-Silay International Airport located in the same city, why not drop by? Enjoy fresh air and tasty seafood lunch here at Brgy. Balaring.