We sampled two restaurants while we were in Ilagan. First was the SM Steak Hauz and Restaurant along Maharlika Road in Alibagu. Although the tavern-like place had budget meals ranging from 40-80 pesos, we went for the Thai house specialties. Both our orders were not what we envisioned. The mister commented that the tom yum was sinigang with lemongrass. I agree. Not to mention, the shrimps were like straight from the freezer. Another disappointment was the red curry pork, which was intensely sweet and heavy. I suspect they used cream for the sauce, making the taste and texture strange.
For dinner, I had to be sure, I asked Muy, our Ilagan insider, for good eats. He gave us three addresses, but we only had time to go to the HongKong Restaurant in Calamagui 2nd. A typical pretenseless Chinese resto with a Filipino cook. A lot of the menu entries were not available. Nevertheless, what they served us was consistently fine. Loved the hot and comforting hototay with fresh egg that’s meant to be broken. It had a smattering of snow peas, Chinese cabbage, carrots, squid and scallop-shaped artificial seafood morsels. The fragrant beef stew was so good with rice. They put a different twist on the camaron rebosado (deep-fried battered shrimps), adding bread crumbs on the batter, which was okay, but I was imagining old-fashioned camaron with egg in the batter. I didn’t like any of the two dips for the shrimps — ketchup and mayonnaise-ketchup. I would have preferred a Chinese-style sweet and sour sauce. I enjoyed the fried shrimps plain, though.
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