Back to Home Cooking!
Dr. Nestor Alonso ll (The Freeman) - October 5, 2017 - 4:00pm

CEBU, Philippines — These past few months, as food write I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to taste some of the world’s best cuisines like Italian, Spanish, American, Japanese, French, Thailand, Portuguese Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indian and more, without ever having to leave Cebu.  However, after a while, our palates often crave for something familiar, something that we have been accustomed to since birth, and no matter where we go, we always go back to the basics – back to home cooking.

The only question is, where is home and where did one come from. I have found the answer in the book, “Life in Old Parian” by Concepcion G. Briones (1983), which accounts all the prominent families of Cebu in the late 1800s and their ethnic backgrounds. Some of the prominent family names and their ethnic classification are Duterte and Atillo (mestizo Español), Osmeña and del Mar (mestizo Sangley), Chiong Veloso (Chino Cristiano), Carratala and Royo (Español peninsular), Logarta and Neis of Mandaue (Cebuano) and our family, Alonso (Tagalog immigrant to Cebu). This evidence supports The Freeman’s Clarence Paul Oaminal article… that the Alonso family is related to Teodora Alonso, mother of Jose Rizal!

Back to home cooking, there is a new food establishment, the Stan’s Tinolahan + Grill, that offers authentic Cebuano “lutong balay.” It is located at 777 Jasmin St. Capitol Site, near Dynasty Inn. The Tanchan family, which also operates the Choobi-Choobi chain of restaurants through Stan Tanchan, recently launched the maiden ‘lutong balay” branch with a Business and Prayer of Dedication assisted by members of the Christ’s Commission Fellowship.

Founder and co-owner Stan gave the opening remarks citing a dilemma in finding affordable food prepared under sanitary conditions and home-cooked dishes that are readily available with fast service. Stan’s Tinolahan + Grill presented the solution, and food served there can be grouped in various categories: Soup and Stews (Pochero, Bola-bola, Linarang and Tinolang Tangigue/Tasik and Tinolang Native na Manok etc.); Fried (Soy Garlic Chicken, Crispy Fried Chicken etc.); Kinilaw (Kinilaw na Isda ug Guso and Lato); Grilled (Tuna Panga, Pork BBQ and others); and Noodles (Pancit Canton & Bam-i). My favorites are Linarang Tangigue, Tinolang Native na Manok, Pochero and Soy Garlic Chicken.

Years ago, when home-cooked meals were only available in our house in Parian, I went to the house of my classmate, Jose Castro Jr., one time to eat there. The food that they regularly served was what we would consider as “fiesta dishes.”  Applying the law of attraction, many were drawn to the Castro residence into becoming, excuse me, adopted sons and daughters of Mr. Jose Castro Sr. That stage in my life set my personal standards of what is supposed to be good food.

When new food destinations eventually opened, it’s the customers – like you and me – who benefit since more food choices are available, cooking and dining facilities are upgraded, and prices are to the satisfaction of an ever-discriminating Cebuano public. (FREEMAN)

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