Kuse: Around the Philippines in 80 plates
Jennifer Ong (The Philippine Star) - December 6, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - What took me by surprise was a humble-looking kinilaw, chunks of fresh raw tuna typically cooked in vinegar along with thin slices of ginger and onion.  The result is mind-blowing: the fish is almost cooked on the outside while it stays raw in the middle. At Kuse, kinilaw bathes in a sumptuous mixture of vinegar and coconut milk. It makes for just the most refreshing starter, served with a bunch of fern or paco and slices of tomato and onion. At Kuse, this is known as kinilaw Ilonggo style.

Kuse is far from your typical Filipino restaurant although it never fails to deliver comfort food indulgence. Here, the client dines on a symphony of local dishes that highlight the country’s regional heritage. It can be said that dining here is just like dining all over the country.

Indulge in the fine cooking of Pampanga with Kuse’s pork sisig Kapampangan served on a sizzling platter with fine slices of green chili. From the Visayas, treat yourself to Kuse’s platter of mini crispy ukoy, made with taro, shrimp, and vegetables. Meanwhile, from Pateros, you can try Kuse’s adobong balot de Pateros. And from Bicol comes the pinangat na laing Bicolandia.

Noodle dishes from Lucban have always been legendary and the same can be said of the pansit lechon de Lucban with irresistble slices of lechon kawali. Meanwhile, there is also the pansit sotanghon ng Zamboanga.

If soup is a must — Kuse has lined up some super soup dishes to warm you any time of the day. There’s the seafood Visayan tinola, Batangas bulalo soup, beef ribs sinigang sa sampalok, sinigang  na bangus sa bayabas, and pesang dalag. There’s plenty to go around with a single order of any of these as they are big enough to be shared by four to five persons.

For a really hearty meal, try the very special Kuse lechong baka made with very thin and melt-in-the-mouth slices of beef belly and served with a gravy full of whole cloves of garlic. There are also the bistek tagalog with fried eggplant and tomato, bbq beef ribs adobado, pork crispy pata, sinugba pork liempo, Vigan bagnet, goat meat dry adobo, kare-kareng tagalog, and much more.

For seafood lovers, the mouthwatering options include the baked sea bream from Quezon, grilled prawns in Davao durian sauce, fried pla pla with burong mustasa, Binondo-style steamed lapu-lapu, and salmon head and belly paksiw. Pairing well with any of these are Kuse’s rice dishes, including garlic dulong rice, pandan rice, adobo rice, and Valenciana rice.

For a sweet and unforgettable ending, try Kuse’s sapin-sapin creme brulee, an indulgent interplay of custard and our beloved ube. There is also the banana langka in filo that is served with a decadent caramel sauce.

Dine at Kuse and discover local cuisine like you’ve never had!

* * *

Kuse has branches at the Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill; Lucky Chinatown Mall, Binondo; and Eton Centris, Quezon City.

E-mail author at ravin.facts@yahoo.com.

0PT AT KUSE BINONDO ETON CENTRIS FROM THE VISAYAS KUSE LEFT MARGIN
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