Friday, October 18, 2013

Boracay : Food, Oh Food!

Unexpectedly, Boracay turns out to be a major food paradise too. Aside from their absolutely scenic view and beautiful beaches (click here to read previous post), there's aplenty of food places to chill and explore around the island even spending 6 days and 5 nights there wasn't sufficient to try them all out. There's too much food (some good, some not) on the island it definitely jeopardizes all of your bikini diets and just might make you look a little less hotter in your bikini after so much of food coma.

I believes in 'Eat and Be Happy' as diet can always come later. And I'm not the kind of girl who thinks anorexic is beautiful because it really is not, so I pretty much comatose myself with all of those good food on the White Beach.

Breakfast are included at Seawind and having breakfast included certainly saves us a heap of money as most of the restaurants around Boracay offers American style breakfast that we can get so readily at our hotel buffet. Every morning we had a happy mix of American and local spread to choose from. Seawind buffet breakfast is actually quite good and I love how they have pancakes, bacon, ham, chorizos and fresh mangoes among their daily selection. There are so much of mangoes around Boracay that I can understand why mango is Philippines national fruit.

My pancakes creation- the banana-mango and bacon-egg pancakes ♥
A mix of American, local and tropical fruits on my breakfast table daily except for diving days as too much of food (oily food in particular) before diving can worsen motion sickness
Gorgeous beach and sea view from our breakfast table

One thing that everybody loves having in Boracay are the seafood of course; barbecued, grilled or cook whatever way you please. There are many deluxe resort restaurants that offer seafood but the best way to enjoy seafood on Boracay is certainly not from those restaurants.
Most of the deluxe and beach front restaurants that offer seafood have their seafood display frozen on ice as customers browse and take their pick

Seriously, the best way to experience seafood on Boracay takes exploring beyond those beach front restaurants. It takes a little more effort, but certainly more fun and worthwhile doing. Accessible from the beach front, be sure to visit Boracay's largest wet market, the D' Talipapa to buy your very own seafood. Then bring them to any of the restaurants around the market place to have them cook with a cooking fee. That way, you not only get to choose your very own seafood fresh, it is also a much cheaper option as prices are actually open to negotiation, so the better you know your seafood price, the better you can bargain. Just don't be too generous to pay whatever that is written on display as those are usually marked up tourist prices. Aside from seafood, D' Talipapa also have raw meat, vegetables and fruits.
On our way to the D' Talipapa which is located at the end of D' Mall at Station Two
Red snappers, groupers and wrasse are among the fishes sold at the market. I was amazed by how huge those fishes are 
Giant red snappers and wrasse so humongous I'm sure it takes at least 10 adults to finish devouring one of it 
There are a whole lot more of seafood selections available at the market such as the greek lobsters, local lobsters, mantis, tiger prawns, crabs of all sizes, squids, mussels, oysters, scallops and many other shell seafood it was simply bedazzling even going through half of them. All of their seafood were still very much alive and were literally jumping off their water buckets when we picked them
Our medium size lobster. In total, we bought a local medium size lobster, a medium size crab and half a kilo of scallops all for only 2000 peso (about RM 150) ! 
We brought our seafood over to Plato D' Boracay restaurant which was recommended to us by our driver from Seawind earlier. The restaurant is located conveniently right in front of the fish section of the market
There are several cooking methods for each of the seafood with different charges for each method. We went for the basic grilled method for our lobster
Delicious grilled lobster. Om nom nom ♥
As for our crab, we had it cooked ala spicy in coconut cream which turned out to be not spicy but very fragrant indeed
Scallops extravaganza- superb fresh baked cheese scallops ♥

Even for two people who rarely visits the market place and hence, picking our seafood only on instinct and physical judgement, the seafood that we hand picked were all very fresh and juicy. And of course, Plato cooked them well too, making them really delicious. The buko juice (coconut) at Plato is also one of the cheapest on the island, available at 45 peso one whereas most other places on the island sells them at 50 peso. All in all, we paid about 2700 peso inclusive of the cooking fee for our seafood dinner and while it was not dirt cheap, it was sumptuous and reasonable. 

D' Talipapa Market,
Station 2,
Between Boracay Main Road and White Beach

Plato D' Boracay Restaurant,
Aklan D' Talipapa,
Boracay Island,
Malay, Philippines

Other than seafood, being in the Philippines, we obviously went for some local food as well. But surprisingly there are not many local restaurants around the island. In fact, there are more international restaurants and fast food chains such as Yellow Cab pizza (which is a huge crowd favourite), Shakey's pizza and McDonalds. 

We had our first lunch in Boracay at this French-Filipino restaurant known as Ti Braz along Station Two. We actually went there twice, the first for their Pinoy food, which despite a limited selection, turned out to be pretty good and subsequently for their crepes as they had 50% off their crepes on Tuesday and Thursday. You should just drop by Ti Braz for their crepes even if you do not fancy anything else from their menu. 
Home style kitchen restaurant with a mini hotel
Top left : Crispy sisig which is really a whole pan of deeply fried sizzling pork skin, lard and onion. I didn't know what a sisig was when I ordered it but I was relieved the sisig at Tibraz is a modify version as an original Filipino sisig is usually compose of pork's ear, jowl and shoulder! Even for a non fan of pork skin and lard, the sisig was so good with the pork skin fried so perfectly and the lard forgivable. But still, it's not something I would go for a second round (it's just me and my preference). I preferred the chicken adobo so much more and found it really flavorful and nice. The banana milkshake at Tibraz was really good too being thick and concentrated
Their crepes are also very good and certainly perfect for any time of the day. We tried both the savory and dessert crepe and I love them both. We had the savory Ala King crepe which consist of chicken, roasted peppers, bechamel sauce and emmenthal cheese
The really awesome bananafique dessert crepe that is made up of banana, hazelnut chocolate spread, grand marnier and top with vanilla ice cream. Such love having them crepes ♥

Ti Braz,
Beachfront, Boat Station 1/2,
White Beach,
Balabag, Boracay
Tel : 036-288 1667

Our all time favourite Filipino restaurant in Boracay is none other than Pamana, having a few other chains all over Philippines. Ti Braz is good but their selection for Pinoy food limited. Pamana, on the other hand has a wider selection of Pinoy food and all highly delectable. The staffs are very friendly too and their ambience welcoming and lovely. It felt so quaint being in the restaurant surrounded by it's purple theme and vintage pictures and mirrors filled walls. 
Boasts over 100 years of Filipino culinary passion passed on for three generations, Pamana certainly offers delicious dishes based on their family secret recipe
Dinner date at Pamana
It is one of the newest restaurant on the island but it is already fast gaining popularity
Crispy Pata! Which is pork knuckles that is simmered till tender then deep fried till golden brown. The pork knuckle is so huge but the whole thing is really tender, plump and perfect especially when eaten with the accompanying local sauce
The Three Way Adobo Ni Lola- a combination of 3 kinds of adobo; the adobo chicken, adobo flakes and adobo spareribs. While the chicken and spareribs are juicy, I find the flakes too salty, oily and dry
The Best Kare-kare, a family heirloom of Pamana. The thing with ordering food with all these foreign names is that, we do not really know what we are ordering at that point in time and looks can get so deceiving you might just inevitably end up with something you will not have eaten had you know what it is. More so if the waiter or waitress recommending the food has language barrier and translate those names some correctly, some not. Only after placing our order, I found out that kare kare is actually usually made from a base of stewed oxtail, calves feet, pig feet and beef stew meat and flavored with thick peanut sauce. I was super glad we went for the all veggies kare kare because at least, it is clear of any of those animal parts and possible offal. The kare kare is very thick, creamy and best eaten with plain rice
Our pot of vegetable sinigang, a local sour and flavorful Tamarind based soup which definitely opens up appetite
Chori burger
Sweet mince pork burger. Awesome
Mouth watering bibingka for dessert. Acclaimed to be made from a secret recipe passed down from the owner's great great grandmother, the rice cake is soft and spongy with a pinch of sweetness when eaten with the grated coconuts

We seriously love the place so much that we went there twice for dinner to savor their authentic Filipino cuisine. It was always pleasant dining there and my favourite by far is the crispy pata. You'll regret not trying that honestly. So, if you are looking for distinctive Pinoy cuisine at a cozy place to dine at, Pamana is surely the choice.

Pamana Restaurant,
Station 1 (near to station 2), 
Boracay Island,
5808 Philippines

If you don't like searching too much for restaurants on the island, you can always conveniently hang around D' Mall and try the many many restaurants and cafes there. From morning till late night, there will always be somewhere at D Mall to satisfy your hungry stomach. The restaurants and cafes around D' Mall are constantly bustling with crowd, maybe because most of the people were just seriously too lazy to go scouting for good food anywhere else. We did try a few of the restaurants there too which we thought are pretty worthy of sharing.  
Smacked right in the middle of D' Mall is the eye or rather very nose-catching I Love Backyard BBQ as it's aromatic whiff always caught our attention even from afar. We went there during lunch time and the whole place was packed! We were lucky they got a corner table for the 2 for us and we didn't had to queue like some of the bigger groups. Waiting time was pretty long probably due to the massive crowd. We had the mustard spare ribs which was served with java rice, veggies and eggs on a sizzling plate and fried chicken drummets. The spare ribs was tender but a tad too dry imho. The chicken drummets on the other hand, tasted much better 
Humorous wall captions to light up your day

With so much attention this restaurant is getting, I had expected the food to wow me much but I suppose the dry spare ribs could not make the verdict. Price is ok, food wasn't too bad but couple it with the long waiting time, it makes me hesitant revisiting the restaurant again though.

I Love Backyard BBQ Grill Boracay,
D' Mall, D' Boracay Balabag,
Boracay Malay, Philippines

Located also in D'Mall, along a narrow alleyway is this top rated Greek restaurant known as Cyma. It is one of the most recommended restaurant on the island over the internet. I mean seriously, I had initially laughed off the idea of having Greek cuisine in Philippines. I'm really the kind of person who prefers to sample local cuisine when I'm traveling. However, seeing that it was always bustling with people and the fact that it is one of the most recommended restaurant in Boracay, it intrigued me to try the place out.

The restaurant is pretty small, such that it contributed to it being filled up so soon and customers having to sit close by each other and along the alleywall without any scenic view. But undeniably, the throng of people who visited the restaurant is always endless and reservations are certainly advocated. You don't necessarily have to call to reserve, you can try your luck by walking in and if they are full at that time, just make a quick reservation for the next hour or something like that. 

Our Cyma Original Flaming Cheese- the most interesting part of this dish is not the sizzling hot plate of mozzarella, parmesan and extra virgin olive oil nor is it the bread, but the serving of the dish itself. Be ready to be surprise or even shock when your plate of flaming cheese arrive as the staff flamed it up while calling out 'Opa' so loudly it actually gave me a jolt
I had a craving for shrimps that night so we went for the shrimp spaghetti. Those 6 oven roasted plump shrimps and tomatoes were definitely not enough to satisfy my craving but succulent enough to add flavors to those otherwise pretty plain spaghetti 
Our last dish of the night - the chicken gyro which is really chicken, tomatoes, white onions and tzatziki wrapped in a pita. This was pretty good
Cyma Greek Tavern

Overall, food at Cyma was pretty enjoyable but I think they tasted more Mediterranean than purely Greek (having tried the local Greek food when I visited Greece some years back). Well, as long as you don't mind being possibly seated along a narrow alleyway which disrupts it's whole scenic view (especially for groups of two or four), small portion, expensive food and the constant feeling of having to hurry through your meal because someone else is waiting for your table, then do try out this Greek tavern as their food itself are still pretty decent.

Cyma Greek Taverna,
D' Mall, Boracay
Aklan City
Tel : +63 36- 288 4283

For something light and refreshing in between meals, do check out Halowich. The place is vibrant and trendy with it's cool red and white theme. But what's even cooler are their ice refreshments which certainly came with more than just plain ice and flying saucer shape sandwiches. 
We went for the mango ice which turned up to be a rewarding cup of nata de coco, cornflakes, crushed ice, mango syrup, fruits assortment consisted of mangoes, strawberries and bananas, chocolate chips and a huge topping of mango ice cream drizzled with chocolate syrup on top! Now, that's certainly the most interesting cup of 'ice' I ever had. It's so yummy digging into those goodies that every layer uncovered sent burst of new happiness ♥
Feeling a little gluttony, we cannot resist their pocket sandwich which came looking like a flying saucer. The sandwich was filled with delicious tuna and vegetables of our choice

Certainly sounds like a very interesting place, no? Besides, if you are in a big group (4 and above), do try out their Family Size Halowich Special which is a huge huge bowl of halo halo goodiness. The table beside us had that and we were 'wowed' by it. Definitely one of my favorite place on the island. 

D' Mall Station 2 (near Budget Mart),
Aklan, Philippines

If you are a lemon fanatic, you must not miss the multiple award winning Lemon i Cafe. They roll out a comprehensive list of inspirations from the lemon family, all homemade to delight you lemon lovers. The best seller item here is their classic lemon muffins which sells out really fast. I'm not kidding when I say their lemon muffins will be all sold out usually by 3 to 4 pm (they open from 7 am).
We managed to secure the very last lemon muffin before it was wiped off the shelve. The muffin is soft with a fragrant lemon taste while the slab of lemon custard like thing on top adds on to it's delightful sweet and sour taste
New on their menu is the lemon meringue. The meringue is fluffy, sweet and sour with a strong lemon taste while the tart crust is flaky and light
It cannot get any more lemony than to complete the meal with a glass of fresh concentrated lemonade

I don't know how well you can take your lemons, but for us, we surely had more than enough dose of lemons that day. You know the saying of 'When life gives you lemons, made lemonade'? Well, at Lemon i Cafe, you certainly made more than just lemonade, but turn your lemons into delicious muffins, tarts, meringues, cheesecakes and pies as well. Aside from the lemon family, they do have a lists of other Western food and desserts too.

Lemon i Cafe and Restaurant,
D' Mall Square, D' Mall D' Boracay,
Boracay Island,
Malay, Aklan,
Phillipines 5608
Tel : +63 36 288 6781/ 288 6782

If you are a fan of chocolate, then the Mati Chocolate Sin of Boracay is a definite must-not-miss. It is acclaimed to be the best chocolate lava cake on the island. Hence, you can imagine how much I had looked forward to tasting it since chocolate lava cake is one of my soft spot and how much disappointment I felt when I saw that Zuzuni, where this renowned Mati Chocolate Sin was sold is currently close! Yes, Zuzuni is no longer open for business now. Whether it is a permanent thing or just a temporary measure, I do not know as they do not have any sign about that and not many on the island knew too. 

But, they can't just scraped the island naked from something so heavenly like that, can they? So, they had brought this hallmark dessert of Zuzuni to the Fishbar, Boracay! Yes, both the restaurants belong to the same company thus keeping the Mati Chocolate Sin alive. Words can't describe how joyful I was on finding out that they had not so heartlessly buried this dessert away for good.

Ta-da! The much talk about Mati Chocolate Sin of Boracay. Certainly quite to die for. Just look at those thick, yummy chocolate flowing from the cake like lava flowing from volcanoes  The sweet vanilla ice cream definitely completes the dessert
Mine, all mine! Not for sharing, thank you. :)

The Fishbar is located only a few steps from Cyma and you can't miss the distinguished fish logo. Although there were only two other customers at that time when we were there, our dessert took forever to come. Fortunately, the chocolate lava cake is superb, hence making up for the long waiting time. It will only be available for a limited time at the Fishbar, but I'm glad they had not totally buried it away, hence allowing the island favourite chocolate lava cake legend to lives on. 

Fishbar Boracay,
D' Mall, Station 2,
Boracay Island, 
Aklan, Malay, 

So, if you are the type that loves exploring a little more around the island for other good food available (aside from at D' Mall) and is looking for a local breakfast place that is also said to serve one of the best calamansi (kalamansi) muffin on the island, then head over the The Real Coffee and Tea Cafe that is pretty hidden. Before you go calamansi what, know that the calamansi is actually a lime like citrus fruit that's ubiquitous in the Philippines. t's not located directly on the beach front, so unless you keep a look out for it's signboard, you can actually quite miss the place.

Since our hotel provided us with daily breakfast, we only hopped by there to try none other than their calamansi muffin, coffee and hot chocolate. The cafe is very homely, with nipa roof, wooden structures and open air concept. Even their food are all prepared in a very homely method. The muffins were all freshly baked and we got one just straight out from the oven. 

The calamansi muffin which a little sweet and a lot of sour combine. It certainly opens up appetite but became too sour towards the end we couldn't quite finished it

Their coffee and hot chocolate really tasted just like those we made at home, so if you are craving for something homely while on vacation, then do drop by this cafe for a quick unique muffin treat and home tasting coffee. 

The Real Coffee and Tea Cafe,
Station 2 Balabag Boracay,
Aklan Philippines

I never quite thought I would go for Mexican food in Boracay but as I had mentioned earlier, the international cuisine in Boracay are actually more recommended than their local cuisine. And so, on one of our diving days, we head to Manana, a cute sounding Mexican restaurant which is located only a few shops away from our dive center (Free Willy Diving) for lunch.
We didn't want to over stuff ourselves before diving so we had the burritos platter which was actually good enough for sharing for two. The platter came with two large tortillas stuffed with chicken, top with their zesty Mexican sauce and cheddar cheese and served with Mexican rice, sour cream, refried beans and sweet corn. A filling and lovely lunch indeed

Manana Mexican Cuisine,
Station One, Front Beach,
Balabag, Boracay Malay, 
Aklan, Philippines
Tel : +63 36288 5405
Open from 10 am to 11 pm

This is a definite must try and my ultimate favourite milkshake place in Boracay. Seriously, Jonah's milkshakes are like the holy grail of all milkshakes I had ever had. Regardless of the weather and the time of the day, come rain or shine or day and night, it always felt good hanging out at Jonah's while enjoying beautiful sea view with a glass of heavenly milkshake.
I'm so so glad that I had found probably the best milkshakes in the world. So so good I can easily had two glasses to myself anytime
My top recommendation is definitely the avocado banana milkshake or just pure avocado if you are not a fan of bananas. We had that on our first time there and it got me so addicted that we actually went back there a few times just for that. Look at those unique creamy yet smooth texture of their milkshakes. Pure indulgence bliss ♥
Cheers to life, milkshakes and gorgeous beach
Takeaways come in water bottles which I personally felt make the milkshakes taste not as good as they were in glasses. Or perhaps it was due to our milkshake choices. We also tried the chocolate banana and mango milkshakes which were good but I still prefer the avocado milkshakes over them
Thumbs up for their heavenly milkshakes! Plenty of love for them ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

There are a whole lists of other shakes and even snacks to choose from I wish I could try them all. Their milkshakes are also not expensive, with their price ranging between 95 to 110 peso. They are definitely a well worth investment on the island.

Jonah's Fruit Shakes and Snack Bar,
Station 1, Balabag Beach,
Boracay Malay,
Aklan Philippines

On one of the last few nights on the island, we decided to visit Epic, a swanky, modern looking beach front Italian restaurant for dinner. You can choose to either sit inside with the air condition or on the beach front. We, of course choose to be on the beach front with the natural sea breeze.
An epic night out (pun intended)
Of so many things they had on their menu, we somehow subconsciously decided to have something Spanish which was the Epic Paella at 820 peso. The paella was supposed to come with shrimps, mussels, squids, clams, bacon, chicken, chorizo and pork but guess what? When the paella came, I had thought it looked a little too scarce and plain but it wasn't until we started digging into it then we soon realized, our paella was MISSING of clams, squids, bacon and chicken! And the rice wasn't even properly toasted, it had too much water content to our liking. The Epic paella could not had gone anymore epic than that
Banoffee Trifle that promised layers of fresh bananas wtih crushed Grahams chocolates but turned up to have more cream than any fresh bananas

To be honest, it was a very disappointing experience dining at Epic. Our paella was such a huge let down and even the dessert could not save the day. We spoke to the manager in charge regarding our paella and at least he deserved some credit for being tolerant and polite. While he did not free us our paella nor gave us a 50% (come on 50% of the ingredients were missing), he did offered a 10% discount on our total bill which although still could not compensate our disappointment, was better than nothing I supposed. I guess it was just a very wrong choice going for something Spanish in an Italian restaurant. Or just go for anything from their grill menu as the table beside us had the grilled spare ribs and they smelled absolutely aromatic and appetizing as much opposed to our dull looking paella. 

Epic Boracay branch,
Beachfront, Phase 4,
D' Mall,
Barabag, Boracay Island, Malay,
Aklan, Philippines
Tel : +63 36 288 1466/ 288 1477
Open from11 am to 4 am

Being such food adventurers, our food hunt went beyond D' Mall of course. We decided to explore the island a little for a more authentic and well known Spanish restaurant, the Dos Mestizos. The restaurant is not easy to locate as it is not at the beachfront, but as it is located right beside the police station at Station 3, all you have to do is look out for the police station and voila, you'll find this hiding charm.
So glad we found it. And even gladder to know the place had ample siting area and we can enjoy our meal in peace and quiet without the noise and crowd from most of those other restaurants around D' Mall
Warm bread with olive oil and vinegar to start off the meal. That was a whole basket of bread for just two of us
We decided to have some tapas and as recommended, we went for the beef tenderloin cubes in garlic marinade. Ever since my Guangzhou beef incident, I had kinda develop a certain phobia towards beef but these beef tenderloin cubes were absolutely amazing. They are not only tender and juicy, they were done so perfectly and the rich garlic marinade made every mouthful an euphoric one
Being utterly disappointed and dissatisfied with our epic experience the night before, we went for the another round of paella at Dos Mestizos. We took the seafood and mixed meat paella and look, how different they appeal. The paella here was so much better, it restored my faith in the paella once more. The seafood were fresh, the meat chunky and the rice just nice. The small one is also price at 820 peso but this was certainly worth paying for 
HT had a big appetite for food that day and ordering like a king, he went on to ordered this baked fish fillet in herb sauce which turned out to be fresh and succulent as well

It was definitely a very delightful lunch at the award winning Dos Mestizos, more so when we could enjoy our meal in much peace and silent. The food are excellent, the service is good and the staff helpful. And belief it anot, the waiter who served us actually told us that we were his first Malaysian customers in his 7 years of service at the restaurant. How awesome is that!

Dos Mestizos Boracay,
Remedios Street,
Sitlo Manggayad,
Boracay Island,
Malay, Aklan
(next to Boracay police station at station 3)
Tel : +63 36 288 5786
Open from 10 am to 11 pm

Last but not least, your food adventure around the island will not be complete without having at least one Filipino barbecued stick. Tempted by it's whiff as we walked the White Beach everyday, we finally decided to try out the pork sausage and chicken barbecued stick at this local stall name Frank's that is located nearby Jonah's milkshake. I realized the Filipinos do like inert pretty much as among their barbecued choices, they actually have a whole list of inert more than anything else. The barbecued sticks are like 20% cheaper at those humble stalls along the White Beach as compared to those selling nearer to the D' Mall area.
They glazed our barbecued sticks with some honey-like-secret-sauce of theirs that makes them very flavorful and zesty. Makes them such great snacks

Frank's Longa, Chori Burger and B-B Cue,
Somewhere near Jonah's Milkshake,
Station One
Boracay Island
Taking the bangka back from Boracay pier
Bidding the beautiful island a final goodbye at the Godofredo P. Ramos, Caticlan airport. Pardon those tiny eyes, still sleepy from having to be up early to catch the morning flight. The Cebu T shirt was bought at Cebu airport during our transit from Singapore to Boracay

Besides enjoying their picturesque view and immersing ourselves in the beauty of the island, we certainly love indulging in all their good food too. They have so many delightful and pleasant place to dine at, one will surely be spoil for choice. 

My advice? Just be mentally prepared to put on some weight besides a good tan after your Boracay island holiday. Sounds scary? Haha! Honestly, there's no need to deprive yourself from all those yummy food in exchange for your bikini body, imho just make sure you walk and swim a lot on the island and that should burn off those extra calories, no? Well, we certainly did not deprived ourselves from savoring all those goodies on the island and I just wish we had more time to try out the rest as well. 

Boracay is definitely one of my best island holiday so far. Aside from a great company, those crystal clear beach you-can't-bear-to-part-with and their never ending activities that will keep you spirited at any time of the day, they also make an alluring food paradise. Missing the island and all of it's awesomeness already. Wish I had a portal to transport myself back there again right now. ♥ :)

PS This is not an advertorial or paid review. All reviews are based on yours truly POV only, hence yours truly is not responsible in any discrepancy in taste or opinion. :)

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