Cebu Diary: A Very Cebu Experience
I’ve been staying in Cebu for coupe of months now. I’ve tried most of their delicacies, well-known restaurants, and go-to comfort foods that I’ve read online. But there is this one “only in Cebu” dining that I haven’t experienced yet. I’ve always wanted to try since I got here but I got busy. Now is just the perfect time to try.
Say hello to “Pungko-Pungko”, a cheap, communal dining. It got it’s name from the Bisaya term “pungko” which means bend, squat, or crouch down. Few years back when chairs weren’t readily available, patrons would put plastics over their hands, take the food from the table, and squat or crouch while eating in the street. Now, pungko-pungko have evolved as stalls now have benches, plastic chairs, and tables. People can now comfortably eat their food.
You can usually spot a pungko-pungko stall near churches, outside school campuses, hospitals, or along busy streets. This one is located in front of Apple Tree Suites in 22 J. Llorente St. As you can see, dining in pungko-pungko requires you to sit in a tiny wooden bench, and eat around a small, rectangular table with a bunch of strangers. Talk about “rubbing elbows” LITERALLY.
A basket of fried goodies is placed in the middle of the table. You will be given a plastic wrapper that you can use as a glove and a cup of vinegar with garlic, onions, and chili where you could dip your foods into. Now all you have to do is grab the food that you want. . Your conscience and your honesty will be tested here since the vendor won’t ask you to pay upfront every time you grab a dish. You need to be the one to keep count of which food you ate and how many. Mountain Dew and Pepsi are common thirst quenchers. And of course, hanging rice or puso.
Inside this treasure box of fried goodies are Ginabot, Lumpia, Longganisa, Ngohiong, and Fried Chicken.
Bonus: neatly wrapped hand in cellophane of your co-diners!
Well you guys are already familiar with longganisa and fried chicken, so I’ll just talk about the other food. Ginabot is deep-fried pork intestine similar to Chicharon Bulaklak. Lumpia is spring roll stuffed with mung bean sprouts. Ngohiong is the local kin of spring roll. This one is stuffed with meat and julienned turnip or heart of palm (ubod).
Just a heads up, eating ginabot should not be taken lightly as it is very high in cholesterol.
My companion (hmmm.. I should give this mysterious person a name next time) and I had our bellies filled with:
8 hanging rice or puso
2 Fried Chicken
2 Mountain Dew
…or around that price. I totally forgot the exact price. That is already a meal for two!
The food may not be the healthiest, or most sanitary to begin with, but it is undeniable that this little eatery brings Cebuanos from all walk of life together. Probably it’s because of the affordability. It is great for students who are on a budget and even for busy people who just wants to have a quick meal. This street communal dining is a must try for Cebu visitors and foreign tourist who wants to try the local street food. As what the title of this blogpost says, this is definitely “A VERY CEBU EXPERIENCE”.
Now here’s a snapshot of my meal and…
Happy eating! 🙂
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