Lunch @ Dampa, Farmer's Market

It’s graduation time once again. Time to celebrate the students accomplishments and applaud all their hard work. If you are looking for a place to hold your graduation party, why not consider the Dampa at Farmer’s Market?

crabs in oyster sauce

The food is great! From classic Filipino dishes to Japanese food, there’s something that will satisfy everyone’s taste buds.
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Fish Fingers Recipe

Do fish have fingers? No, they don’t! But for some reason, this is what my sister calls this dish. When I stayed with her in Melbourne, she listed off the dishes she wants me to cook — dishes she personally loves and dishes the kids would want to eat. She asked me to try to make fish fingers — fish fillet seasoned and deep fried.

Fish Fingers

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Lobster and Coconut Crab in Batanes

Batanes cuisine is very simple. Its remote location meant that most of the ingredients must be sources from within the islands, or it’s going to be really expensive. A trip to the market was rather uninteresting. There was only a small selection of vegestable, and an even smaller, though more exotic selection of fishes. Pork and beef are available, while chicken is near scarce and expensive — Php 190 per kilo!

However, eating out in Batanes can be quite exciting: lobsters are cheap and coconut crabs are available!


Frustrated by our failed attempts to dine on lobsters during our trip to Coron, Palawan, Gail and the rest of the group are hankering for lobster. Hearing that lobsters go as low as Php 300 per kilo, we know we just have to have lobsters in Batanes! The odds were in our favor, and we were rewarded with a very generous helping of lobster. With help from Tita Remy, our housekeeper at Novita House, she sourced out three kilos of lobster for our dinner on our first night in the island. Cooked simply by steaming, the lobsters were juicy and very meaty.

Next to the lobster, we were also looking forward to trying the tatus, the local parlance for coconut crab. Again, through Tita Remy’s help, we were able to arrange for a lunch picnic at Sabtang’s white beach. For Php 250, we dined on fried fish, steamed sigarilyas and the highlight of the meal: coconut crabs.

Yummy coconut crab

The tatus is unlike any other crustacean I have ever seen. Rather than being err, wide like other crabs, the coconut crab has a longer body, with a sac at the rear end housing the aligue that is reminiscent of a spider’s. The crab was meaty, with a distinct flavor. Though it was only steamed, the meat has the faint taste of coconut milk, the effect of its penchant for coconut. It is said that coconut crabs can climb coconut trees to get the coconuts, and using its large pincers, it tears off the coconut husk and uses the smaller pincers to pull out the coconut’s flesh. Apart from coconuts, the tatus also feeds on fruits and organic materials.

Priced at Php 600 per kilo, the coconut crab is a rather expensive treat. But never mind the cost; the delectable taste of this crab is worth every peso.

RCJ’s Food Hut
Romy Cielo – Manager
Sabtang Island, Batanes
Email :
Mobile Phone : 0916-854-8285 / 0921-715-4919 / 0916-674-2344

Thanks for sharing the contact info, Melo!

Do you know how to Shabu Shabu?

The invite for the Healty Shabu Shabu event intrigued me. Not only was it unique (the invite was a mini poster posted on a bamboo mat along with a pair of chopstick), it also asks, “have you been doing it wrong?” How the heck can you go wrong with shabu shabu?

Healthy Shabu Shabu

As it turns out, I AM wrong. Shabu Shabu is not just about putting everything in boiling stock and fishing it out when it’s done. I learned that you don’t just dump everything inside the hotpot. First, we were serve individual condiments. There was an egg, chopped garlic, chilis and spring onion, a scoop of sate, and a bowl of sauce. Contrary to what I thought we’d do (dump everything inside the pot), we were asked to put the garlic, chilis and spring onion into the barbeque sauce. Next, we put in half of the sate. After that, we were asked to seperate the egg yolk and the egg white. I was definitely not expecting that! The yolk went into the barbeque sauce, while the egg white became a meat tenderizer for the beef.

Healthy Shabu Shabu

Once the sauce was prepared, we were told of the order by which the ingredients should go into the hotpot. First to go are the slice of taro and corn (because it takes long too cook them). Then, we were asked to put the shrimp inside. Of course, shrimps only take a short time to cook, but putting them in first means you’re mixing their flavor into the stock.

No rice was served, but there were two kinds of noodles: vermicelli and egg noodles. Vermicelli cooks in under a minute, so if you’re hungry, it’s best to put it ahead then scoop them out after a minute to quell your hunger. The egg noodles, on the other hand, takes longer to cook, so put them in early and just scoop them out later on.

Healthy Shabu Shabu

Healthy Shabu Shabu has generous servings, and despite not having rice with the meal, we were all stuffed. Most of us ordered the combination set, which has meat (your choice of chicken, lamb, pork or beef [angus beef or tenderlion], assorted seafood (shrimp, squid, sea cucumber, fish fillet, and some sort of mollusk), and big platter of veggies (green leafy vegestables, carrot, mushroom) along with noodles (vermicelli and egg noodles), fish cake, squid balls and crab stick.

Healthy Shabu Shabu

And the sauce? You dip everything you fish out of the hot pot into the barbeque sauce. I was a bit hesitant about the sauce because it had raw egg in it, but I forgot all about it when I tasted how good the sauce was. The soup stock was also really good. Whereas most meals feature the soup first, in Shabu Shabu, the soup is best served last. Why? Because once you’ve cooked all the meat, seafood and veggies in it, the soup now has all the flavors of all the ingredients. Definitely yummy, and a perfect meal for rainy days!

A big thanks goes out to Candy Hwang for teaching us the way of the Shabu Shabu!

Healthy Shabu Shabu is a fun, safe, healthy and interactive way of dining that utilizes state-of-the dining facilities and equipment. Healthy Shabu Shabu has branches at Powerplant Mall (Tel. No 898.3979/895.6300., The Podium (Tel. Nos. 914.1028-29), SM Mall of Asia (Tel. Nos. 556.0354-55), Robinsons Galleria (Tel. Nos. 633.1979/632.1634), SM North The Block (Tel. Nos. 442.0036-37), Alabang Town Center (Tel Nos. 850.6633/850.6976), Robinsons Midtown (Tel. Nos. 526.2981/529.3983) and Shangri La Plaza Mall (Tel Nos. 910.3272/632.7532).