Guests at the Legend Palawan need not go far for a succulent meal, Philippine style. Just a few steps down the lobby is the Tanglaw Coffee Shop, which serves unexpectedly unique, five-star fare
We’re always a bit skeptical about enjoying hotel food. We sometimes can’t distinguish one hotel restaurant from the other in terms of menu, presentation and, sadly, flavor.
So when we stepped up to the lunch buffet of Tanglaw after a sightly delayed flight, we weren’t expecting to eat much.
My friends sampled a bit of every dish, but I checked out every dish first, before committing to a single one. The Blue Marlin. Definitely not typical hotel food. It tasted like something I’d have at home, only more scrumptious.
We wanted it to be an abbreviated lunch because we were supposed to go snorkeling shortly after. But if you try Tanglaw’s Blue Marlin, you won’t be able to resist a second helping. So I didn’t.
I decided to end the meal with some Green Mango Shake. I needed a tangy taste to help me forget the Blue Marlin for the meantime so I wouldn’t cramp while snorkeling. But then I noticed people, including my friends, kept going back to one dessert for some reason. What on earth were they eating? Mango Tapioca? I hadn’t had tapioca since it was my baby food!
So with some water to wash down the zing of the shake (that I had hoped would end my meal), I tried the most popular dessert that afternoon. If my baby food had tasted that creamy and flavorful, I’d have weighed a hundred pounds by the time I hit kindergarten!
Dinner at Tanglaw is even better than lunchtime; the main reason being the Seafood Kare-kare. It’s just the right side of sweet, just like my grandmother used to prepare (only she used beef, not seafood). Believe me, after what you intend to be your final bite, you’ll feel a longing for more. The next thing you’ll do is to try to mentally justify eating more since, hey, it’s SEAFOOD, which is only health food after all, right?
We were informed that Tanglaw’s Seafood Kare-kare is an asterisked entry on the ala carte menu since it’s the chef’s specialty. No wonder.
After a fourth serving of Tanglaw’s Seafood Kare-kare, we just had to congratulate the chef. Tanglaw chef Ed Fernandez just smiled quietly as we raved about his specialty. Pretty soon, he was describing all sorts of Palawan delicacies, which surprisingly made our mouth water despite an unbelievably delicious, and hefty, dinner.
Chef Ed singled out the Palawan Longaniza and Lamayo as must-tries. The latter is Palawan’s version of the famous Cebuano Danggit, which Chef Ed tells us is the same fish prepared differently.
Then the chef stood up to return to his kitchen, doubtless to think up more culinary possibilities to whip up with native delicacies. Before he left, he urged us to try his evening dessert, Avocado Medley.
Water is very useful for resting your taste buds, and we were glad we hadn’t asked for any other beverage (We prepared to truly savor Tanglaw’s dinner buffet!). After a brief pause, we tried the dessert.
Chef Ed sure knows how to combine heavy and light dishes in one sumptuous spread. His dessert blended perfectly with the heaviest dish of the evening, the Seafood Kare-kare—even after four servings! Much lighter than the Mango Tapioca and with a counterpoint of textures between avocado and gelatin, we couldn’t have asked for a better dessert to end dinner.
Back in Manila, we still can’t believe we got a sterling example of Pinoy home-cooked meals so far away from home. Tanglaw’s mouthwatering buffet is, perhaps, just as memorable as any experience you can have in Palawan.—MM
print ed: 06/08