Timeless classics, modern twists, and regional favorites all come together in Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen, a proudly Cebuano food concept now open at S Maison, Conrad Manila. It's their first branch in Manila, while their other food concept, Hukad, has already opened in Manila too–Hukad is a more casual counterpart, while the new brand serves local fare in more upscale setting apt for celebrations and special occasions. At Golden Cowrie, Cebuano dishes and traditional fare are served in sharing portions, perfect for a Filipino feast with family and barkada. Loosen those belts and order your extra rice ahead, as here are seven of Golden Cowrie's ultimate best-sellers to whet your appetite!
1. Baked Bantayan Scallops (P240)
This appetizer was first introduced in the Hukad menu, and is a house specialty. Golden Cowrie uses fresh scallops from Bantayan Island located in Northern Cebu for this dish. While this cheesy seafood starter is meant to be a light appetizer to tease the palate, it's been frequently ordered alongside a serving of rice (totally cool, no judging).
2. Crispig's Ears (P185)
Also crossing over the menu of Golden Cowrie are top hits from Salinas Restaurant (located at Salinas Drive in Lahug, Cebu). Salinas, like Hukad and Golden Cowrie, focuses on Filipino cuisine, but their take on it veers on more refreshing and refined (they also offer vegetarian versions of Pinoy food). Pig's ears for this dish are thinly sliced and deep fried and dusted with a sweet and spicy seasoning. These chewy, addicting treats make for a great beer match.
3. Pocherong Katag (P685)
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Adding their own style to the classic bulalo, this soupy beef dish takes the best part –the bone marrow–and makes it extra special by baking it and serving it with a side of crostini and onion jam. The Pocherong Katag is also another Salinas favorite, and a great 2 for 1 deal of a dish. Add rice, and you're all set!
4. Baby Prawns Sinigang (P295)
If you're craving for a classic, this is the good stuff for you! Golden Cowrie actually allows customers to choose their seafood or protein for the sinigang, and their recipe for the soup is simply of mouth-puckering sourness sinigang lovers will enjoy. It's comfort food in a bowl.
5. Fried Tadyang (P165)
Golden Cowrie brings over a Hukad favorite to the S Maison branch, and we're all the better for it — this row of crispy marinated beef ribs is simply screaming for more rice, and proves how deep fried meat will always be part of a love affair with Filipino food.
6. Cebu's Lechon Belly (P310 for 1/4 kilo)
Don't make the mistake of visiting Golden Cowrie without sinking your teeth into some lechon belly. Thin and thundering crisp skin, luscious fat, and tender meat altogether in one big bite. Definitely order some rice to chase each forkful of this rich number. It would be a mortal sin to skip the rice with this one.
7. Chilled Taho (P135, Plain or Chocolate)
With many unctuous and flavor loaded starters and mains, keep it simple and old school with a glass of chilled taho, velvety smooth, and available in plain and chocolate. Plus points for presentation, as each order comes in an ice-filled bucket, with the syrup on the side so you can sweeten it to your liking.
Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen is now open at the second level of S Maison at Conrad Manila; the restaurant seats up to 150 guests and a function room for 48 persons is available. Call (02) 8057649, visit www.alwaysafeast.ph, like on Facebook (/hukadgoldencowrie) and follow on Instagram (@alwaysafeast).