I went with family to Seaside dampa on Macapagal Avenue to celebrate a niece’s birthday. Not exactly a new Filipino cultural phenomenon, dampa paluto is still attracting waves of customers. Dampa translates to shack or kubo, so the whole experience is straightforward, nothing fancy, and is more authentic when you eat with your hands, like most Filipinos do.
Though we’d do something like buy seafood and look for someone who could cook the purchase for us here in Ilocos, it was my first time to experience going to a big dampa in Manila. I envisioned more seafood like clams, bamboo shells and scallops, so it was a bit of dismay to find a sea of squid and prawns.
Spotted some rock lobsters and crabs, but those can be really expensive as compared to prices in the province. Dampa prices run cheaper, though, than most restaurants in the metro.
My sister-in-law had it all figured out. We proceeded to G Squared Palutuan (among the rows of restaurants) after buying the important ingredients. We were seated among big groups of locals and balikbayans. Plastic gloves (the kind you see in hair color treatment kits) accompany crab and prawn dishes. It’s amusing that people tend to be so quiet when crustaceans are right in front of them.
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