Chomping on Churros con Chocolate
TEXT - Stacy Danika S. Alcantara () - November 22, 2011 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - My close friend, Met Ramos, and  I don’t often get to meet as  often as we did way back in college because of our busy schedules and although that does suck a little bit, it made us realize one thing: that if there’s something that brings us together it’s food—apart of course from our obvious obsession for anything that has something to do with art and creativity.

Food is amazing and no, it isn’t food that makes you fat or diabetic, or whatever. It’s the act of overeating that does. Food can bring people together and food can be a great conversation starter. The last time Met and I met (pun intended, Met. Haha), we agreed to put all that time meeting up and eating to good use so here’s something to look forward from us: blow by blow, face-off accounts on some favourite dishes from just about anywhere and just about everywhere.

While Met has been keen on sharing her gastronomic travails in the Queen City of the South with the recent launch of her blog, When Plates Face Off (you may check it out at whenplatesfaceoff.tumblr.com), here’s a per dish, per plate account you’ll only find on paper. Accept the verdict, or challenge it. It’s your call baby, and it’s all good. So here goes.

The Dish of the Hour

It’s crazy that not everyone has even heard of churros yet. I mean, churros are crazy good and I prefer churros to donuts any day. While donuts are plain soft enough to sink your teeth into almost effortlessly and smooth on the surface except for sprinklings of glittering sugar, churros are just a tad bit rough on the outside. 

Sometimes referred to as the “Spanish donut”, this fried dough pastry-based snack that’s usually caught elongated after having been squeezed out from a star-shaped nozzle is extremely popular in Latin America, Spain, Protugal, France, Morocco, and even in the Spanish-speaking Carribean. Churros have slowly gained a steady following in the Philippines, thanks to its more commercialized versions from joints like S&R which serves Bavarian-filled churros that are big enough to share.

Churros normally come with a nice chocolate dip and although its origins have been greatly disputed (some sources say that churros were brought by the Portuguese back to Europe all the way from Ming Dynasty China), churros come in a handful of variations depending on which isle you find your churros. In certain places, churros come in thicker and longer variants known as porras, which are later chopped into smaller pieces and served yes, of course, with the quintessential chocolate dip that’s usually made from a melted slab of chocolate, heated to sweet perfection.

The Contenders Oyster Bay Churros

Where to get them: Oyster Bay, Bridges Town Square

Rating: ????

Oyster Bay’s churros caught my eye the moment I saw a tray of this fave dessert-slash-snack served on a ceramic platter to the table beside where I was sitting. Oyster Bay’s churros are your classic long and thick churros—very reminiscent of porras that haven’t been cut—all served in loops but not knotted like the pretzel.

It’s a cross between the fluffy dough and the biscuit which gives this baby quite a crunch to the teeth. The best thing about it is that unlike most other restos and cafes that serve churros, Oyster’s churros are never cooked until their stiff enough to resemble bread sticks. 

Although Oyster’s churros cannot stand alone without the dip, with the dough on its own bordering a bit on the bland side, you can’t also rely on their chocolate dip for a chocolate boost. Oyster’s dip falls short on flavor and thickness, believe me. Throw in a blind fold and conduct your own taste test and you might come to think that maybe, just maybe, what you’re dipping your churros into is a shot glass of chocolate milk—something between Milo, Ovaltine, or Swiss Miss. 

Tablea Churros

Where to get them: Tablea at JY Square or at Robinson’s Cybergate at Fuente Circle

Rating: ?????

There is more to Tablea than its chocolate drinks, honey, and believe me, if you’ve been frequenting Tablea without ever trying their churros, it’s as good as saying you’ve never dropped by Tablea at all. It was Met who first told me about the churros at Tablea after she heard me rave about my first churros experience so at least, by the time I paid a visit, I had a point of comparison.

Tablea’s churros are served standing like thick crayons eased out from a star nozzle and made to stand on a white, octagon shot glass beside its dip. It’s definitely softer than the churros at Oyster Bay or Dulcinea—but not too soft so as to deviate from its authentic Hispanic roots. Served warm with just a hint of being fried at just the right tinge of golden brown without having been overdone, Tablea’s churros are just a tad sweet and flavourful enough to stand without the dip. Swirl it into Tablea’s thick, warm, chocolate dip, and you know you’ve already had a sweet escape. It’s really this combination that makes Tablea’s churros a winner—especially for those whose sweet tooth are quite difficult to satisfy.

The Verdict

1st Place: Tablea

2nd Place: Oyster Bay

Runners-up: Dulcinea and S&R

ALTHOUGH OYSTER BRIDGES TOWN SQUARE CHOCOLATE CHURROS CONTENDERS OYSTER BAY CHURROS DIP OYSTER OYSTER BAY TABLEA
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