Taste Cavite - A Gastronomic Adventure at Island Cove Philippines

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A small banca signifying our culinary journey of Cavite, a rich food haven located an hour or so away at the outskirts, south of Manila.

I think I've been here, perhaps when I was a kid. Though I couldn't remember specifically when so in a nutshell this is a trip down south that I've been raring to go to because I've been hearing a lot about Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park the past few months. Photos alone had me wondering, why haven't I gone there when it looked so good on photos, and people I know who go there actually had so much fun. The place is picturesque, have stunning views of the Cavite coastline. It's situated along Covelandia Road in Kawit, Cavite and can be accessed through the new line along the Cavite Expressway (CavitEx). You can drive and get there in an hour or so from Manila, perhaps ride to SM Bacoor and ride another van to Island Cove if you want to commute there. All along, I thought Island Cove was a membership only resort as it had some similarities to Fontana in Pampanga. I was wrong, because they're very much open to the public. 

Anyway, we were there for good reason. It's about the FOOD. The people at Island Cove find it a little unnerving why they haven't really featured much of the community to the people going there. They've got a mix of locals, foreigners, balik bayans and just about everyone who enjoys food go to their spot called the Fishing Village to have a meal with family and friends, but never solely to showcase what Cavite cooking is all about. Well, they've done the legwork for you and researched the dishes, even had recipes exhumed from long gone restaurants and use it to demystify what Cavite cooking is all about. Chef Vill Purificacion had us sample dishes of this place he calls home, let's just say I didn't know Cavite ever tasted this good! 

Lawlaw is a crispy, deep fried local fish dredged in flour/light batter mostly found in Cavite City.

Tahong Chips is originally from Bacoor. It's now one of the city's best exports. They also served it with local spiced vinegar, perfect for groups or beer pairing.

This is the Mutya ng Cavite Soup by Sabater. A thick creamy soup with a huge serving of local sea mollusks, crabs, shrimp, clams caught locally. The original restaurant closed down but they were able to get the recipe from the family. This was a hit among the crowd.

They call this Calandracas. It's got the ingredients of summer, a bit refreshing, but has chorizo so you get those bits of smoky pork flavor in each slice.

This is Bacalao, but they use Labahita fish as the former is a little too expensive. It's salted fish, and is perhaps a good thing to have with just hot, steamed white rice.

This is Adobong Imus which hails from the town of the same name. It's made of the usual, but use annatto oil in lieu of soy sauce. Surprisingly, it was good!

This one's called Valenciana. This version is from General Trias and uses coconut milk as base so it's quite different from the one I'm used to at home (the Bacolod version). It's different, I like how it's become a bit Asian rather than Spanish inspired. I was staying away from rice but this one got me skip a day for that rule. 

This is their Pansit Pusit. It reminds me of Black Ink Pasta dishes but they use local rice noodles, seasonal vegetables, seafood and strips of green mangoes, scallions and garlic. I thought it wouldn't work but it did. It tastes like the sea, in a good way. Something totally off beat from the usual Pansit, but would be really good for seafood lovers.

Hot weather calls for Fresh Buco! It was sweet and refreshing!

This one is Afritadang Gulay na may Baboy. Which I think is the usual afritada ingredients but uses pork for the meat. It's soft, would be good for hot white rice. I love anything with tomato sauce on it!

This is the Pansit with Puso ng Saging. It's a little tangy, much like that banana heart dish Mom used to make but made into a rice noodle dish. Don't laugh but I could imagine people eating this with rice too, with this as a viand. 

This is their Pansit Malabon. For those who don't know, parts of Cavite was actually called Malabon in Spanish times even before the actual Malabon in Metro Manila was established. This wreaks of shrimp goodness as it probably was made of shrimp head sauce, quite lovely with those bits of pork crackling, egg, spring onions, squid, and more pork.

For dessert, we had Kutsinta from nearby towns. They actually buy these rice cakes from locals the morning before they serve it.

This is the Kalamay, similar to the ones I get from Bacolod but this is flattened and served in individual plastic sheets. A bit modernized I think! This tastes like coconut spread, with coconut strips on it.

This is their Sapin Sapin which literally means layers in English. With different rice cakes, mixed with coconut milk, purple yam, it was totally something to look forward to in a trip to Cavite! Oh wait there's more!

My personal favorite among the things served that day was this! This is called Tamales. Made of corn meal, rice, pork fat, pork meat, paprika (I think because it was a bit smoky) and chili powder (as it felt a little spicy). I could have this for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It's a bit heavy, as it was designed to be a one dish meal that farmers would usually have after tolling the fields back in the days. I would totally go back for this!

If you haven't had enough of your cheese dreams come true, they've got a platter of Kesong Puti probably from cow's milk. I would love to have this with bread or on top of pizza. Or just about anything during breakfast.
To get you a little excited about what to expect at Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park, I made a short video of our trip that afternoon and uploaded it on Youtube. If you haven't seen it yet, please subscribe to my channel or just check this one below. Check out our interview with the Chef and Gilbert Remulla who handles the property.

TIP: You can get a spot overlooking the shore for Php 4,500 consumable (3 hours, like a private cottage) which I think is good for 30 persons (although if you invite that much people chances are you're gonna need to spend a bit more for your birthdays/occasions). You may call them at 8107878 or 8105351 or email them at inquiry@islandcovephil.com if you want to have it arranged, if you expect guests coming to the Philippines or just about any reason to go there. They also have fishing areas, perfect for Father and Son bonding moments, aside from the good food of course!

The “Taste Cavite” menu featured on this article is now available at the Fishing Village on Fridays, Saturday and Sunday. starting November 18 and will be served daily starting December 22, 2016. I hope to get to see you there when I come and visit!

Just thank me later!


For more information about their food:
Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park
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