Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Extra Rice Please, at Hukad

Hukad Sa Golden Cowrie, the chain restaurant that specializes in Filipino cuisine, could not be named more appropriately. The word "hukad" is a Cebuano term that describes specifically to the act of serving rice from the cooking pot to the dining table. In the restaurant, the grain that is the Filipino staple, is served everytime a patron asks for  a refill of it on the plate since Hukad serves unlimited rice.

Hukad has its Cagayan de Oro branch in Centrio Mall. I was able to eat there recently when I went along with a few of my graduate school classmates for a late dinner after an evening class. We ordered some dishes one would consider to be traditional Filipino fare. I'm going to go through them one by one.

Pork Sinigang
First up we have our starters. The soup of choice was Pork Sinigang, which was done quite capably. The savory sour flavor of the soup helped perk our appetites. It could have used more greens though.

Baked Scallops
The Baked Scallops were a delight. Although there wasn't much scallop meat left on the shells, the melted cheese and garlic is one of my favorite food combinations. If it wasn't for the cheese, this appetizer would have looked bare indeed.

Laing, the dish made of taro leaves and a Bicolano staple is one of my favorites; but the way they prepared this one, it doesn't seem appetizing. There was hardly any taro leaves, which I suspect was pureed. There was some taro pieces  but that doesn't make it deserving to be called laing. This dish was a disappointment.

Their Sisig was actually good. The pork head meat chopped finely and cooked with a lot of onions. I believed we ordered another one after the first one was all but wiped out immediately after being served from the kitchen.

Crispy Pata
Crispy Pata was the main course. It was undeniably crisp and the meat wasn't too dry. It wasn't too bad, probably one of the better crispy patas that I've had.

Overall, it wasn't a bad experience dining at Hukad; it was actually pretty good. Their dishes didn't veer too far off from the classic recipes; their food was easily recognizable as Filipino cuisine. Well, except for their laing which was an aberration from all the dishes we had. The unlimited rice was also a draw, as it seem it has become de rigueur among native themed restaurants to have it (Mang Inasal comes to mind, which probably started the trend). It's a nice place to bring family over for lunch or dinner after Mass on Sundays. Just don't ever order their laing.

Nothing screams native cuisine louder
than a banana leaf for a plate. 

With a few of my grad school classmates.