Sunday, April 11, 2010

Where Fish Swim

On several occasions going north I would always notice Isdaan along Gerona, Tarlac with all the giant fish and monkeys beckoning travelers to stop. It looks like a theme park along the highway. I finally got the chance to try it out on our way to Pangasinan.We were welcomed by the “resident guard” reading a newspaper.He also has a partner who was sleeping on the job.Admittedly, it was not the most comfortable stopover. Isdaan is an open air restaurant and under the scorching summer heat, I was thinking, stopping here for lunch is not exactly the best idea. Yes, they have electric fans inside the cottages but still the heat was a bit unbearable.We were immediately welcomed with a harana, a trditional Filipino serenade.Then during lunchtime there’s a cultural show.We ordered Inihaw na Liempo which was pre-cooked adobo style then grilled until tender. The meat really melts in your mouth. I was just bothered by the sweetish undertones of the marinate. I was expecting something garlicky, salty and vinegary. Maybe it’s just me, but everyone enjoyed this dish.The Grilled Pla Pla came with three big fish, but there was nothing really special about this dish considering it was freshly caught.The Vegetable Tacsyapo looked interesting on the menu and when we asked the waiter about it, he told us that it was a house specialty so we had that. There's no other way to describe this dish except it looked so “kawawa”. The steamed vegetables looked like they’ve seen better days and the serving was really small. It had about six leaves of kangkong, four slices of eggplant, one okra, a few cucumber, singkamas and one, yes one, cherry tomato. I guess vegetables must be expensive along these parts. The sauce though, was a winner. It was made with fish bagoong plus some spices and chilies, lots of chilies.Rice is a bit expensive. I forgot the actual price but one serving is more than fifty pesos! This rice in a kaldero is more than 100 pesos. The Tacsyapo area where you can vent out every violent emotion you have by throwing plates, cups even a whole TV set against the wall looked fun, but I didn’t have the chance to try it out.All in all, Isdaan is an experience in itself, something the kids would really enjoy. But there was nothing really special about the food, the ones I had anyway.

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