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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

entry arrow9:58 PM | Wok-Fried Rice and Ice Cream

If there is anything about the pandemic I've come to "love," it is the fact that it has made Dumaguete a veritable food hub. I'm simply astonished by the rapid growth of the food scene here, with restaurants, cafes, patisseries, and pop-ups suddenly appearing out of the blue, most of them flourishing in what should be very challenging times. They cater to a wide variety of taste and culinary preferences — and most of them seem to have no lack for patrons. Every Sunday, we've been attempting for the past two years to try every new eating place, and until now we have not yet come to the end of our list. There are, of course, the high-end new restaurants like Beyond Plants, Unknwn Kitchen, Arbour, and the restaurants in The Henry Resort, among others — but the food phenomenon I love here is of the pop-up variety. They're mostly DIY operations, with humble kitchens and serving areas [some of them are food trucks!] -- but what they lack in polish and brick-and-mortar presence they make up in creative flair and incredible food that will leave you hungry for more. You want chicken curry Indian-style? Go to The 3 Idiots. You want sandwiches overladen with barbecued meat? Go to Pan-Q Dumaguete. You want meat and vegan smoked burgers? Go to Smokes. You want coffee after a morning run? Go to Joe’s Kapehan. There are so many, many more like them.

Tonight, we tried out Mang Kaloy Fried Rice and Tejeros Ice Cream House, both along Escaño Drive. They're basically housed in roadside bamboo-and-wood shacks, but I love the bohemian feel of both. Their down-to-earth looks are part of the appeal. For dinner, we went to Mang Kaloy [which opened January 2022] where we had the wok-fried rice of two varieties: pork and chicken — with two toppings: deep-fried pork belly and Taiwanese popcorn chicken. It was delicious: the kind of filling that leaves you sated. For dessert, we went next door to Tejeros [which opened September 2021 — although they've been selling ice cream on an order-only basis for the past ten years] where we had their regular fare of sugar cones generously laden with mango and vanilla-with-chocolate-chips ice cream.

It has been a night of such culinary delight. I hope these places last, and don't change. They've given us much joy during the pandemic, and I'd like to see them bustling still in the post-pandemic future.

The wok-fried rice plus toppings at Mang Kaloy's Fried Rice.

Mang Kaloy at the wok.

Getting the ice cream ready at Tejeros Ice Cream House.

Tejeros Ice Cream House along Escaño Drive.

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