Now THAT’S a seafood spread! As soon as we got off the ferry in Bantayan, we rushed to our GM’s family home where a spectacular late breakfast/now lunch buffet was waiting for 15 hungry mainlanders. I had heard so much about the seafood on Bantayan island, and clearly this was a wonderful way to show off the local bounty. Having started our journey at 4 in the morning, you can imagine how famished this crew was (despite the McDonald’s and puto stops along the way)…
Tray upon tray of scallops.
Another shellfish (wasay-wasay) that is like a grey oyster. If these get larger, and have sand embedded in the nacre forming half pearls, my mom used to refer to them as “Osmeña pearls”… and if you are lucky when you eat these, you find a little pearl or two with the same grayish hue as the nacre. This was the first time I had ever seen or tasted these and they were delicious and almost sweet.
Shells (sicad-sicad) with their meats intact. Personally, I am not terribly fond of these. But when bigger, and chopped up, they are terrific in kind of a conch or shell chowder.
Steamed alimasag, and lots of them!
Almost sticky squid in thick ink or sauce. Utterly delicious. I often like my squid in ink a bit more saucy, but this version was amazingly flavorful and evil on the teeth and tongue visually.
Deep-fried large danggit or kitong. Kitong has that slightly gummy skin and tender sweet flesh that is so appealing, unless it is not cleaned properly has that bitter edge. These ones were fantastic. Can you see the bowls of vinegar and soy and chili sawsawan making it out to the tables??
Last but not least, some stir-fried shrimp. Add in LOTS of steamed rice, some pork adobo, some wonderful desserts (my hands were messy and I never made it to the sweets, let alone photograph them), and it was an incredible seafood lunch showcasing the best of Bantayan. And if that didn’t seem like enough food, I rushed another crab dish as our “contribution” to this already spectacular lunch! Thank you so much to the Carabio family for a wonderful lunch and their amazing hospitality!