In the lobby of my apartelle I’d bumped into a recently arrived man a few times . Our short conversations got longer, so last night I took him on a walking tour of the three places nearby where one can get a cold San Miguel.
The first place is a hotel restaurant that caters to the backpacker dudes & dudettes. It’s patio resto bar (the local term for a restaurant bar combination) is a popular place to hang but after two meals there I had decided that the only reason to eat there again was because it’s a 60 second walk from my apartelle.
However, I decided I needed some food to accompany the more than usual amount of beer I’d had. Nothing on the appetizer list seemed like it would be anything other than generic calories until I saw the last entry: Green Mango with Shrimp Paste.
A restaurant review in the L.A. Times once described a Vietnamese sauce of pineapple and anchovy as “deeply weird”. Deeply weird fruit and fish combos are OK by me. This was a few years after I began eating pineapple, anchovy and jalapeno pizza. The toppings combination of came to me as I was taking part in a fireside discussion on the last night of a backpacking trip about what real food we were going to order when we reached the first town. Most of my fellow campers thought I was joking, but one joined me the next day and decided that was good pizza.
Green Mango with Shrimp Paste is pretty good. It was too weird for my partner in beer, he wouldn’t touch it.
The second place we stopped was a seafood grill. Beer and people watching were the only items on the agenda, but one can’t walk into the place without passing by the refrigerated case displaying the days offerings.
OMG they had Tuna Jaw! I’d seen this delicacy once before, but it was at a place that didn’t meet my food handling standards. Heard about it, had to try it. Was tempted to scoot back to the room to get my camera, but that would not have been very sociable.
Tuna jaw meat is to tuna body meat like those two half moons of meat on a chicken back is to the breast meat. (Anybody else remember the Miller Analogies Test?). The tuna flavor is much stronger and the flesh is juicy. It was excellent. My increasingly beered friend wouldn’t touch it, having deemed it too weird.
Last stop on the circuit was a bikini bar. My friend knew Cebu had these, but he had no idea there was one 150 yards from where he was staying. Nor had he ever been in one. He understood what was on the menu in such an establishment, but said before going in that he would only be enjoying the scenery and the beer, as it was also on his list of things too weird to touch.
An hour later he asked me where the nearest ATM was. Common sense prevailed and he left without anything from the takeout menu. I’m curious to see what happens when he is sober. I’m more curious when I’ll next see Tuna Jaw.