Monday, December 5, 2016

Island Cove: A Taste of Cavite


A few weeks ago, we went down south to have a taste of Cavite all in one place - Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park!



Island Cove's "Taste Cavite" menu is a showcase of indigenous ingredients, history, and tradition. A one-stop Cavite food tour, if you will. Personally, I don't know a lot about Cavite and the types of dishes that hail from it, so this trip was more than a regular food adventure for me, it was an educational one as well.
Island Cove
"Being located at the mouth of Cavite, Island Cove should be the gateway of all things Cavite, " according to Managing Director Gilbert Remulla. "We'd like everyone to know how rich Cavite cuisine is. We are serving the food of our childhood. A lot of the restaurants that offered these specialty dishes are no longer around, but we want to bring the food back."
Island Cove
We headed to Island Cove's Fishing Village where we were greeted by a whole lot of smiles and songs.Island Cove
The Fishing Village is Island Cove's dining area where you eat in huts on stilts overlooking the Manila Bay.
Island Cove
Here, you can fish for your own food and have it cooked whichever way you want.
Island Cove
Or you can simply choose from their wide assortment of seafood and meat and have it grilled on the spot!
Island Cove
During our visit, we tried everything in their newest Taste Cavite menu which was created by Executive Chef Vill Purificacion and his team. We started the meal with the perfect drink for any island adventure - fresh buko juice!
Island Cove
The Tahong Chips was the first dish to be served. I've never had tahong chips before, so this deep-fried, crisp mussels chips opened my eyes to a whole new world! It's made of flour, spices, and salt, and best dipped in vinegar for that extra flavor :)
Island Cove
After that, we had the Fried Lawlaw. A tiny fried fish fillet that is no joke to make. I mean, how do you even begin to fillet a fish so small? I really enjoyed this with the special dipping sauce that's only available at Island Cove.
Island Cove
One by one, more dishes arrived, and we devoured every single one of them!
Island Cove
I'm so glad the huts come with washing areas so you can eat with your hands - the way a true Filipino does!
Island Cove
The Mutya ng Cavite is next on our list. It is a rich creamy soup that used to be a popular dish at the old 7 Sisters Restaurant owned by the Sabater family in Marulas, Kawit.
Island Cove
It is similar to clam chowder except it consists of fresh mussels, crab, clams, and shrimps. I absolutely loved its creamy base that I ended up getting two servings of this!
Island Cove
Another popular soup would be the Calandracas. It uses ham hock stock as a base and has carrots, potatoes, cabbage, chickpeas, chicken, gizzard, chorizo, and sotanghon then seasoned with patis Tanza.
Island Cove
It may sound like there's too much going on here, but it's a lot like sopas, which is one of my favorite soups ever.
Island Cove
Another uniquely Cavite dish is the Adobong Imus. Unlike regular adobo, this does not have soy sauce in it, instead, it is slow-cooked in vinegar, annatto oil, bay leaves, and salt and pepper. "This manner of cooking adobo has been a tradition, since the time of my lola," said Chef Vill.
Island Cove
How about some Bacalao? This Spanish-influenced dish was a huge hit during our visit to Island Cove. This consists of dry-salted labahita or surgeon fish (rather than bacalao, like the name suggests) cooked with vegetables, Spanish chorizo, garbanzo, and annatto oil.
Island Cove
From General Trias, we had the Valenciana, which is similar to Spanish paella with chorizo de Bilbao, chicken, and pork, but with one addition - coconut milk. Once I heard those two words, I immediately got excited. You see, I love anything with coconut milk, and the thought of paella with gata just blew my mind!
Island Cove
I extremely enjoyed this dish, and I can't see why others wouldn't.
Island Cove
The Pancit Pusit from Kawit features a squid ink base topped with squid rings, grated green mangoes, and scallions. I didn't think much of it at first since I recently had the same dish at a different restaurant, and it was mostly bland. This one wasn't though. In fact, it was full of flavor. Try to get some green mango in every bite, because that's really what makes this dish stand out for me.
Island CoveIsland Cove
The Afritadang Gulay na may Baboy is another dish from Kawit. It is stir-fried vegetables with sweet potatoes, pechay, bell peppers, and sautéed pork.
Island Cove
Island Cove
Another pancit specialty is the Pancit na may Puso ng Saging. This pancit combines bihon and miki bihon cooked in achuete with small slices of pork and thinly sliced green beans, carrots, and cabbage.
Island Cove
Instead of using calamansi as a souring agent, this one comes with thinly sliced puso ng saging (banana blossoms) cooked in generous amounts of vinegar.
Island Cove
Island Cove
Finally, we had the Pancit Malabon. I was surprised to know that this dish actually came from General Trias and not Malabon (like most of us know now). Apparently, General Trias used to be called San Francisco de Malabon, hence the name.
Island Cove
The Pancit Malabon is made of glass noodles, shrimps, smoked fish, and eggs mixed with shrimp sauce and topped with chicharon. If you've ever been to a traditional Filipino party or fiesta, this is one of those staple dishes that you can find in bilaos.
Island Cove
Just when we thought it was all over, Chef Vill served us the kakanin specialties from his hometown Imus.
Island Cove
It was an all-you-can-eat buffet of Kutsinta, Puto, Sapin-Sapin, and Kalamay! Island CoveIsland CoveIsland CoveIsland CoveIsland CoveIsland Cove
To end the wonderful lunch was Cavite City's Tamales. It is glutinous rice flour mixed with corn meal, chicken, pork, and salted egg wrapped in multiple layers of banana leaves.
Island Cove
Thank you so much to everyone at Island Cove for the warm welcome, especially Sir Gilbert Remulla, Chef Vill, and Nana Nadal!

Island Cove's Taste Cavite menu is currently available every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and will be served daily beginning December 22. It's definitely worth visiting Island Cove for. Take a swim and have a gastronomic tour of Cavite just a quick forty minute drive from Makati!
Island Cove
Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park is located in Binakayan, Kawit, Cavite.
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