Thursday, March 18, 2010

THREAT, TREAT, THREE


Threat

Warning: Reading this article causes profuse salivation and surging urge to gorge. Too much calories, kills!

Treat, Three

Being a food addict gets one sort of inevitably connected to where good food is. Your ears become trained to hear even the slightest buzzes from avid food hunters about their new discoveries; your eyes, alert to read on new food blogs; your nose, highly sensitive to what's cookin' in the nearby shop or restaurant; your legs and feet are quick to head out to where the smell comes from, and your hands are ready to empty your pocket from even the last centavo just to get a bite on what's hot and new.






I have had the recent fulfillment of eating in 3 ("three") famed Liempo shops in Cebu. My sources? Friends! Visited all three in less than a month.

Kusina ni Nasing is situated at V. Rama near the Security and Exchange Comission office. A friend of mine told me about the place and I had to travel to unfamiliar territory just to find it. My landmark--SEC. I knew which jeepney to ride but I didn’t know where my exact stop is. I mustered my courage just to find the store – got lost a couple of times but finally got there. The smoke diffused from its rotisserie smelled so good. It was a very simple store and it is no wonder why it is named as such because the actual kitchen is right where the dining area is. To some, it can be quite uncomfortable – the smoke from the roasting spot gets into your nostrils as it passes through the screened door of the dining room. Adding to its temperature, are the hot pans in the kitchen in the same room. To me, it was fun experiencing all that, although, you definitely gotta do it after work. You don’t want to blend in a crowd smelling like liempo and roasted chicken.  When the order was served, man, you just know you have to get a bite of that big slab of roasted pork. I did. And I chewed it together with some of my friends to the last chunk. My favorite part has always been the skin and fat layer. When the skin is roasted to perfect crisp and the salty fat juice oozes, that, at lunch, is uber-temptation (super temptation). They said this is one of the oldest running liempo shops in Cebu. Its name is still BIG to liempo lovers, but the shop hasn’t really branched out yet.

A rather new liempo shop is also gradually taking ground and is slowly saturating Cebu Province. Its name, Balamban Liempo, is said to have taken its origin from a shop in Balamban, Cebu. They say, the popularity of the liempo in Balamban cannot be contended, but since the original owners who are now really old and very well settled in that small town didn’t risk in branching to other places, an entrepreneur decided to bring the name instead and establish his own shops in different locations in Cebu rendering his own liempo version. You will know it is Balamban Liempo because it is sliced elongated as compared to other shops which sell it in big square slabs. Like the other two liempos in this blog, it is packed with lots of herbs. The only difference, they say, and as observed, is that the herbs are grounded or chopped thinly. Powdered pepper is quite distinguishable too. The only obstacle we encountered at first is that it doesn’t provide customers with a dining area, like the branch in Talamban. Internet, however, redeems it by informing customers that there are branches which have dining rooms like those in Mabolo and Capitol. There are plenty of information you can get from the web advertising this shop since its marketing also tapped online resources like Facebook, Multiply and Google.

The last of the three, is Porky Belly, Atbp. As of this time, the only shop I know they have is situated fronting the entrance of the Sto. Nino Village, a subdivision you find when you are on your way to Talamban, just right after getting past the overpass. Set-up and infrastructure-wise, I think it is better compared to the other two. It has an air-conditioned and spacious dining room separate from its smoking rotisserie outside. Location-wise, it can be disadvantageous. It doesn’t provide enough parking spaces and since it is right alongside the highway, short-stops are discouraged. The sound of its name,  Porky Belly, makes my taste sense tell my brain it is a grilled belly brushed with sweet barbecue sauce. I would admit that conditioning your mind with that thought will be quite frustrating. Proper mind setting should be Kusina ni Nasing cooking. When I tasted its liempo, my memory quickly fetches the taste of Nasing’s. After overhearing my friend talking to the part-owner of the shop, my hunches were confirmed. The store was established by multiple shareholders. Part of which is Nasing herself whose major contribution is on the recipe. The taste and the big pork slabs are very Nasing. The only difference, I was told was that their product is more consistent in terms of taste. The ingredients and its measurement are standardized and documented. Nasing’s cooking on the other hand is mostly due to her own handling and experience. (I quite agree especially because after two visits I made to Nasing’s shop, I did notice a difference in terms of saltiness.) What’s good about this shop’s entrepreneurs is their open-mindedness to venture into a franchising business. Soon, they say, they too will spread across Cebu.

All three are great places to visit in Cebu. They cater mostly to everyone whose palate favors herb-packed recipes. They creatively combine plenty of herbs to come up with a distinct taste which you continue to savor even after eating the meal. The tasty meat juice trickles down meeting the sweet flavor of the cooked herbs keenly inserted between the pork layers as the rotisserie turns it at consistent intervals over the burning coals. It is simply irresistible.

Price per slab of liempo is between P150 to P170 and good for up to 3 persons. Reservations and delivery is catered by these shops, too.

When your feet brings you to Cebu, defy the Threat, and never miss the Treat from all Three.

6 comments:

  1. You beat me to this post Mike. :)
    Anyway, watch out for my rebuttal soon.

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  2. Haha! I'm sure yours will be better. :)

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  3. hahay!!!!!...kalami bisan pag unsaon pagluto!!!!
    Thanks mike for inspiring me not to go on with my diet...Food Rocks!hehe

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  4. oh yes, it does!! and it makes you FAT too.. either way, enjoy what's on the PLATE (and the calories you get from it.. besides there is no escaping it!) Just work the FAaaatt ouutttTT!

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  5. bought for lunch... it was too salty!!!!!!!(liempo from kusina ni nasing)

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  6. Hi Anonymous! Thanks for leaving a comment. I concede with your observation. I guess it is because the said shop does not standardize its salt measurement. When my friend, who was so into it offered to bring me there for the second time, I hesitated because of that first observation. Nevertheless, I tasted it for the second time. Surprisingly, I would say, the shop redeemed itself on that particular visit.

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