Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Golden Cowrie Native Restaurant in Cebu

We only had three whole days in Cebu and with all the meetings, trade checks and a grand cooking demo lined up, the only thing that kept all of us in high spirits was the thought of being able to eat good food for all three days. Of course, I made sure that my team won't go home disappointed so I did my research and had my list all ready.

Given our short visit, I wanted to give them a little bit of Cebu's best -- gastronomical-wise. We were able to try two of the best lechon brands in the city, had an amazing night cap while enjoying the best warm brownie cup in La Marea and of course, our celebration dinner just had to be in one of the best local Cebuano restaurants as recommended by fellow bloggers and the Lonely Planet.  This is none other than Golden Cowrie Native Restaurant.

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Golden Cowrie has been around since 1982 (we're of the same age!). They're known to offer really good local dishes which we luckily were able to try that evening. The ambiance exudes a very Filipino feel and the service rendered will definitely delight guests as it shows genuine Pinoy hospitality. Our server, despite having a bit of a difficulty in speaking Tagalog, obviously was trying his darnest to make our dining experience really good. He gave us recommendations, quickly attended to our needs and even asked us several times how we found their food so far. There's really nothing else we could ask for.

I took charge of ordering for the group with some requests thrown here and there. We had our dinner here after our big event so imagine how hungry everyone was. A tad too hungry that we sadly over-ordered and ended up with so much food! In effect, we had a little fiesta in Cebu. :)

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Baked Scallops (Php. 129)
Cebu is known for their juicy and succulent seafood thus I made sure to order a lot of baked scallops for starters. This was a hit with everyone. I personally loved the cheezy and buttery baked scallops that was so addicting. Definitely, one piece is not enough.

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Unbelibaboy Lechon (Php. 355 for half a kilo)
Just when you thought we all have exceeded our lechon quotas for the year, the team was so game to try them all! This one was Golden Cowrie's lechon version and it was quite mild yet the meat was pretty lean compared to CnT Lechon's version. Still, my heart belongs to CnT.

We ordered two types of soup to be shared by the group. I was only able to try the Sinigang Baby Prawns (Php. 178) which was okay. They were generous with the amount of prawns but I guess with all the food that we had that evening, I gave the least attention to the soup. Shucks. :-/ We also had the Chicken Tinola (Php. 189) which I think wasn't so good judging from the amount of soup left after the meal.

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J wanted some Bicol Express (Php. 79) which was pretty good only we all think it should be called "Gising Gising." Quite a bit of confusion there but this was so good especially with rice.

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Fried Tuna Fingers (Php. 198)
I read in one of the blogs that Golden Cowrie's Fried Tuna Fingers were pretty good and so I ordered this supposedly as a starter together with the Baked Scallops. Sadly, this one came a bit too late and joined the chaotic fiesta table scene together with all the other dishes. I'm glad though that it was good enough not to be ignored. I love how it was well coated with crunchy breadcrumbs and the filling was meaty. I enjoyed munching on this as I would dip the tuna fingers into the creamy sauce. One order is quite big as it'll give you 10 tuna fingers so for groups of 3-4, one order is enough.

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Crispy Pata (Php. 329)
I love dining in the provinces as everything is soooo cheap! Next to the lechon, this was already the most expensive dish that we had that evening and note that one order was good to feed all 11 of us. Our driver R even had a lot of leftover food that we later asked him to bring home. Pinoys are pork lovers so a feast is not complete without lechon (roast pork), crispy pata (deep fried pork leg) and all other pork dishes such as sisig, dinuguan, binagoongan baboy, pork bbq, liempo and bopis to name a few. Just imagine asking all Filipinos to abstain from pork! That would definitely be so hard to do. Well, I'm speaking for myself and I can't imagine going through a month or even a week without pork. What torture.

Anyway, Golden Cowrie's Crispy Pata was definitely very satisfying. We all enjoyed the tender meat underneath the crackling, crispy skin on top. I just noticed that Cebuanos are not so big on sauces and dips unlike us here in Metro Manila where almost every meal comes with an accompanying dip. We even had to ask for more crispy pata dipping sauce (a mix of vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and chili) for all 11 of us.
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Caldereta de Cabrito (Php. 260)
Kathe loves caldereta and so she requested that we order this. I'm glad she did as it was also another yummy dish and I happily poured some caldereta sauce over my rice. The goat meat was very tender and was free from any nasty odor or after taste.

Lastly, we had the Grilled Kitong (Php. 160) which was said to be from the same family as the famous Cebunao danggit. Looking at it, we hardly could believe their claim as the sizes of both fishes were so different and the Kitong tasted nothing like the Danggit. I would even think it's closely related to the Tilapia. Oh well, the meat was tender and nothing beats enjoying a perfectly grilled fresh fish.  

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Plain Rice was refillable allowing guests to have more rounds as all Filipino dishes goes so well with rice. As for me, I went for the Garlic Rice (Php. 38) and very satisfied with it too.

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Yummy Magazine's Pass the Place Cooking Demo team

What a meal! It has been a while since I've enjoyed a really good Filipino meal and this is coming from someone who isn't really a big fan of Filipino cuisine. I enjoyed eating from a banana leaf and perhaps on my next visit, I'll try to eat with my hands to complete the local dining experience. Has anyone tried doing this at Golden Cowrie? :)

On your next visit to Cebu, visit Golden Cowrie Native Restaurant at Salinas Drive, Lahug in Cebu City. They also have branches in Mactan Marina Mall, SM City Cebu, Ayala Terraces and Robinsons Cybergate. Golden Cowrie has also branched out to Cagayan de Oro, Bohol, Dumaguete City and Davao. Visit their website here.
I wonder if they'll ever come to Manila?


  1. i didn't enjoy our lunch here before, as their service was quite slow. the food is also not something i'll go back for, but i liked the tuna fish fingers, calamari and the crispy pata too.

  2. @mayums: shucks that's unfortunately! slow/bad service can really ruin the experience for you. :(

    @ro: sinabi mo pa! we got 3 orders and simot parin!!


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