Gone are the names such as New Life, Golden City, Golden Star, Southeast Asia, but the legacy of Sy Kau Teng lives on. The late Kau Teng was a native of China who came to the Philippines to work as a cook at the People’s Lumber, met and married Felicidad Guevarra, an Ilocano, and set up his own Oriental Restaurant in downtown Laoag decades ago. Melody Co is one of the two children of Kau Teng who inherited their father’s cooking expertise and moved on to establish panciterias of their own.
To this day and age, no other restaurant in Ilocos can ever come close to Oriental Kitchenette’s lomi, chami, and kimlo. The recipes have been tweaked a little to suit the modern palate, like I couldn’t find anymore the authentic homemade kikiam and camaron, and innards, yet still basically the same legit Chinese style that keeps patrons go back again and again. The addition of ground pork rind (from traditional Ilocos chicharon aka bagnet) is the cherry on top in the enhanced or hybrid recipes. The chami I had was moist and piping hot, the noodles were chewy, the veggies obviously fresh and the toppings, plenteous.
Nana Melody’s Oriental Kitchenette in Laoag just moved to a new address on the corner of Gen. Luna and Zulueta Streets.
– Nana Melody and her daughter Asuncion or Maan, who cooks just as well.
Besides old-time noodle favorites, habitues go to the Oriental Kitchenette for their super budget meals. At 30 pesos, one can have rice plus two viands (one meat and one vegetable) of their choice from the daily turo-turo counter.
– Ilocos Norte mayors frequent the restaurant to chat while eating lomi, their bestseller.
Long Live Pancit! Long Live Oriental!
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013