Puerto Princesa, Palawan 2012: Of crocodiles, shipworms, and yes, food (Kinabuch’s Grill and Bar)

You know those times when you expect nothing out of doing something and then you get totally blown away when you finally get do it?

I’m talking about those events that make you go “Homaygulay, I didn’t see that one coming, but I’m glad it did!“. Think “blindsided” in Survivor parlance, well except in a good way. I believe the last time that happened to me was when I watched the movie Battleship. Haha! (Remember, to each his own. Be nice. :-P)

Kite and I had that moment when we dined at Kinabuch’s Grill and Bar on our second night at PPP. To be honest, we went there just for one thing: the world-famous tamilok.  I can tell you right now the night turned out to be more than that. Hint: Second best dinner of this vacation. (Third was the seafood platter we had at Royal Oberoi, the top on a later post.)

Surpassed all expectations. Ozom place, I tell you.

A huuuge part of it landing on our top three was the vibe the place had. My lack of night photography skills is to be blamed for the missing visuals, but the chill environment at Kinabuch’s that night was just that: chill.

Clear January night skies, a gentle calming breeze, a wide-open space that didn’t feel crowded even though it was full (The lady who served us seemed flustered because of the number of patrons, but she fortunately, remained pleasant.) and a screen that had a pro-tennis game projected to it. Bakit nga ba hindi kami nag-beer nun? :-P Kite thought that foreigners who are used to pubs and sports bars would find a place like Kinabuch’s appealing. I’m no foreigner but I can’t help but agree. Blown away score: 1.

Now on to the food, and by food I mean that gleaming blob of soft, almost translucent things that occupied this plate. Yes, this was what we came here for. Shipworms. Tamilok.

Oh hello there. We finally meet.

Doesn’t it remind you of the word “esophagus“? O baka ako lang yun? Hahaha! My goal is not to turn you off, or scare you any further ah. I mean I don’t really need to, right? Just look at it. Now turn away for a while. Then look at it again. Di ba di ba? :-P Blown away score: 2.

I’m sure you’ve already heard or read about it not being really a worm, but rather a species of mollusk normally harvested among rotten wood (appetizing, I know), that it tastes like a cross between uni, oyster (for me, it’s more this than anything, even the texture) and mussels, and how that tiny bowl of vinegar dip is supposed to make it more palatable. What they don’t tell you is that any attempt to cut a long one by biting into it is futile.

I swear. You’re better off using a knife OR downing a ginormous one in one go. I did the former. It was a challenge though since it has a tendency to stick to the back of one’s throat. Have a drink by your side just in case. I had green mango shake, which was refreshing by the way.

Man vs. Bizarre Food. Man: 1. Bizarre Food: 0.

Now normally, tales of eating a plate of reptilian meat would make one go “Woah, you ate crocodile?!?” but after the earlier tamilok, this was a piece of chicken. Figuratively and literally. No really, the croc adobado tasted like chicken cooked in a light, spicy, coconut milk sauce which reminded me a bit of a slightly watered down Bicol express.  We also ordered a reasonably meaty, soy sauce-marinated crispy pata and rice as a safety measure for Kite. We finally capped our meal with a ripe mango-topped frozen yogurt that was too quick to melt but cleaned our palates just fine.

Croc adobado: more croc than adobo. Or perhaps this was puting adobo? Hmmm…

Nothing quite like a deep-fried pig trotter as a safety blanket. :-P

How ironic is it that we close the meal with a very Western dessert? :-P

It’s a known fact that I’m not queasy when it comes to non-conventional eats so me having the bivalve delicacy is a no-brainer.  As for Kite? Well, I’m just happy someone was brave enough to gulp the smallest piece we found in the plate. Blown away score: 3. :-D Even if for that alone, that night at Kinabuch’s was one for the books. 

***

Kinabuchs Grill & Bar
Rizal Ave., Puerto Princesa City
Palawan, Philippines

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