Monday, December 8, 2008

D' Original Dawel Restaurant

Dagupan, Pangasinan

We parked at the side of a bridge and entered a dank, dimly lit tunnel. It felt like some subterreanean hideaway. At 8:45 PM, the place was empty, except for an old woman watching TV sitted on an antiquated chair. These are bad signs if you're looking for good eats. But we remembered that we were in rural territories and on that easter sunday, the locals are already home ready to retire. That's why we ended up here in the first place, because every other place in town was close.

They served us a each a heaping plate of rice and I gasped at just how much rice each person gets. At the end of the meal, those plates were empty. Rice shortage, notwithstanding, we put all that to good use to accompany the flavorpacked dishes. We started with sinigang na malaga, the malaga so tender, practically melting in our mouths, going perfectly well with the fish bagoong (balayan style) and calamansi. Of course, we had to have the requisite inihaw na bangus. My husband admired how the fish was cooked completely, no raw flesh, no blood, yet still very juicy. I silently thanked God that I was going to have all that succulent bangus belly. No, I wasn't being selfish. On the top 10 list of things I love about my husband, somewhere in between sexy sense of humor and his Don Bosco training on everything mechanical, is the fact that he does not eat bangus belly. It's bangus belly that makes you close your eyes, forget your name and the fact that fat is a bad word. But the dinner's pièce de résistance is the adobong talaba. While blanched on the shell still remains my favorite way to have oysters, this adobo style comes a very close second. We wish we could say we could say we wiped all our plates clean, but there was enough for another person.

No desserts. But it was sweet to pay only P510 pesos for all that. The only negative thing was the presence of stray cats traipsing around the resto. That cost them a star.