i have been to the swankiest restaurant and places in the metro. on the other hand, my opinionated taste buds are not impressed with expensive interiors. after all, biting delicate china and chipping your tooth on silverware hardly counts as a gustatory experience.
if you want unpretentious, cheap, huge, delicious food then there are places in the metro that's waiting to be discovered. places that serve huge scallops by the plate topped with garlic and cheese, grilled over hot coals till the cheese melt. a joint that thrive on a single signature dish: the heart stopping, artery clogging lechon kawali dipped in pinakurat (pickled onion, chili and garlic in palm vinegar) with the soft fat melting in your mouth as you bite into the crunchy crispy crackling pork skin. grilled buttery soft tuna belly and panga (tuna head) specialties. the barbecue joint where rows and rows of stalls grill chicken, pork, fish and God knows what other meats that induce an aromatic fog that envelope the whole street. the list goes on.
picture: turo-turo, apurado interior
one of the places that i love to visit is Chicken Apurado Haus (see the contact details at the end of the post). chicken is the specialty (duh!), more specifically, fried chicken. the restaurant is what you call a turo-turo joint. turo-turo literally translates to "point-point" - that's precisely how you order, you point at the dish and they serve you a portion. lechon, adobo, tinola, pork barbecue, fried chicken, chicken inasal, bola-bola, guso / lato ensalada - these are the staple dishes. dishes of our childhood.
picture: chunky, sweet smoky pork barbecue
don't expect to get fancy-shmancy dishes. pasta is not on the list, the closest they have to salads would be utan bisaya (mix of vegetables in clear soup made thick by okra and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper). dessert is chocnut that can be bought from the sari-sari (mix-mix) store across the street or grab some fruits from the fruit stands that line the other side of the road.
for Php 175 pesos i would have already gotten the following: 2 crispy fried chicken thighs (i bet they use steroids, they are HUGE), 5 pieces puso (steamed rice wrapped in coconut leaves), nilat-an nga baka (beef in clear soup), about 5 sticks of chunky pork barbecue and softdrink.
that's even less the amount i spent in viena kaffehaus for a dish that made echoes in my tummy. i was soooo tempted to slip the silverware in my pocket - felt like i paid for that!
if you're a creature of comfort, apurado is not the place for you. but if you're a true connoisseur of gastronomic finds, i suggest you visit this little gem. don't worry, if you do get indigestions chong hua hospital is just across the road.
better yet, the doctors and nurses end up having their meals in apurado - that certainly accounts for something.
Apurado Chicken Haus
Add: Beside Chong Hua Hospital, Cebu City (click the picture for a bigger one)
One Dish Must Have: the friend chicken, duh. for the price, you can get the whole bucket-load.