As we look for a good restaurant on our way home from Bicol, we spotted this relaxing and cozy place in Quezon. The huts beside the sea attracted us and for sure, will attract more people passing through the highway of Gumaca. The breeze will allow you to eat with your hands, too. They keep their woody concept by placing artistic tables, chairs, bridge, swing, wishing well and boat made of the said material. Seeing their place and its ambiance, I immediately set my standards to high comparing it to Isdaan Floating Restaurant.
But when we finally saw their food, I was disappointed because the place doesn’t deserve carinderia foods. I mean, the place is wonderful but they keep their food in low class. I was expecting that their bulalo will somehow change my perspective but during the time we arrived, it wasn’t available. It’s sad that haven’t had a taste of their specialty. Do I still have to follow my high standards in reviewing Kamayan sa Dagat? Maybe, I’ll just write my intial thoughts on it and suggestions to improve.
Sinigang na Hipon
Their main specialty, Bulalo, wasn’t available. But here’s another specialty of theirs that will warm the customers from the sea breeze – sinigang na hipon! Although we frequently cook shrimp tamarind porridge at home, we still ordered it because it’s their specialty. And I must say that they proved it. Its perfect sour flavor is what I like about it. Maybe, the first step to improve their food is the dishes were they place them. Since they have a woody concept, I suggest that they place this on a wooden bowl instead.
And their ginataang gabi and other dishes should be placed in a more presentable platter, as well. Speaking of this course, their taro leaves in coconut milk is a must-try. But I guess, the people of the Southeast Luzon are really expert in cooking this because from the very first day of our tour in Bicol up to here on our way home, there is ginataang gabi on our dining table and they are all flavorful in their own ways. Honestly, I’m not fond of eating leaves but this one is an exception.
While they keep their bestsellers special, they maintain their remaining courses as plain as the home-cooked foods. Our house cook’s litson paksiw made with leftover roasted pig on fiestas and celebrations, is even better than this. Upon staring at Kamayan sa Dagat’s roasted pig cooked in vinegar, garlic and salt, I realized that leftover meat is better than newly prepared pork full of bones and fats. We’re not gonna order this again once we come back.
Why aren’t you generous, Kamayan sa Dagat? I was shouting this on my mind when their adobong pusit was set on our table. Well, you can see on the photo why I’m asking this, right? It’s just one scoop of ladle from their deep pan, I guess. To add on that, the price was huge for this little food. The serving is another thing that they should fix, perhaps. Thank God that squids of any ways are one of my favorites so I’ll still give it a thumbs up.
Our friends from the other table had fried tilapia and fried I-don’t-know-what’s-called fish. I haven’t had a chance to taste them but seeing them leads to a suggestion. Since kamayan, eating with hands and without the use of forks and spoons, is their theme, it would be better if they place their fried dishes, such as these fried fishes on leaves, banana leaves specifically. I perceived that there are many trees surrounding the place. It won’t be difficult for them to do that.
There are lots of seafood here, obviously because of the area, which is near the sea, or on the sea, rather, so their seafood must be freshly caught. But sadly, I can’t feel any freshness on their mussels. And as I said, the way they cooked it was just plain. I’ve already eaten ginisang tahong a hundred times at home so I memorized the savor already. And my comment? They should have some twist on the recipe or added a unique flavor onto it.
Edmar’s Special Homemade Tikoy
Finally, I distinguished something that they could be proud of. I wonder if Edmar is part of their family or he’s somewhere in Quezon who retails his products. However, his tikoy is delectable! It doesn’t taste exactly the same as the Chinese tikoy. In fact, it’s more appetizing, which makes it distinctive compared to the common tikoy. I can’t decide if it’s more of a caramel or a toffee but given that, the sweetness is blended well. We even took out for ourselves and for our friends as pasalubong. They liked it, too!
Kamayan sa Dagat Candies
I’m glad that Kamayan sa Dagat sells candies, which are locally made in Quezon. It’s a great way to promote candies made only in the Philippines especially that tourists pass along the highway where this restaurant stands. They offer no dessert and I think, these candies are pretty good substitute for that although their candies such as pastillas and ube candy are only in the satisfied level of my scale. Maybe, for the first-timers, they’ll want it more than I do.