Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Of Kuliglig, Palaka and other Kapampangan Dishes at Oini

No. Im not reporting this restaurant for pest infestation. Far from it. 

Those are adobo crickets, a specialty of O'ini Kapampangan Restaurant. 

Yes they do  look like  the slimmer version of  my most-abhorred  insect in the universe - the cockroach. So you can imagine how  it really took a lot of   strength and will power on my part to overcome  my inner disgust, turmoil and fear and let my innate curiosity take control.  

The experience is akin to bungee jumping without the safety harness. Truly, it felt like I was going to die if I put that thing in my mouth. 

Talk about Fear Factor. Remember that TV program where contestants were made to face all their phobia  ie  eating living maggots, conquering claustrophobia, fear of snakes, etc.? You get the picture. Anyway that was how it felt for me.

I know a lot of you will phew phew the experience having eaten crickets possibly in Bangkok or in Pampanga. Congratulations to you ... or to us because I did it too! Yay!!

The crickets in all their marinated glory

How was the experience?

I threw all caution to the wind and popped one in my mouth. 

The first crunch was really the worst part. That sound reverberated all throughout my brain then to my mouth then back to the gray matter again. I almost puked truth be told.  But the flavor of the adobo  saved me.

I was bracing myself for the after taste or a slimy weird texture. Good thing none of that happened. Otherwise I would have lost whatever iota of control I had .

All of that happened in a space of a second, then bliss and relief when my thought process registered that the cricket was really savory  ...in fact delicious.

Ever ate a stuffed frog ?

After that cricket experience, I felt I can eat anything.

So when they served the frog I was like, yes I can do that...easy  haha.  Although frogs are also considered 'exotic'  the species is no stranger to the family having tasted adobong palaka from a relative who loves cooking the two legged amphibian

Re-plated the frogs in a white plate for photo purposes

At O'ini they call this dish BETUTE P405 .They serve  2  palaka stuffed with ground pork in a "kawali" or small wok garnished with atchara, tomato and cucumber for color . It tasted like your normal chicken embutido or chicken galantina. Those frog legs were like chicken wings except thinner and drier.

Yes they do serve classic and  well-loved dishes in O'ini. 

Although O'ini have  a few other exotic dishes in their menu apart from the crickets and frogs ie tapang kalabaw,  kalderetang kambing , the restaurant is actually well known for its traditional Kapampangan dishes.

Atching Marie the cook-owner , established O'ini in 2011 originally as a hole in the wall carinderia  in Xavierville.

The word O'ini literally means 'O eto na' in local parlance or "here it is.." in English.

O'ini's grilled items were so delicious, it gained quite a following. Soon it was featured in GMA 's Pop Talk, Sandy Daza's Inquirer column, Umagang Kay Ganda, Kabuhayang Swak na Swak,etc.

Five years ago,  O'ini  expanded its menu to include home-made Kapampangan classics and transformed from a carinderia to a  casual dining restaurant.

Last Wednesday, we enjoyed their sisig, bulalo, ginataang kambing, kare kare, crispy hito with buro, hipon sa bawang , tapang kalabaw all washed down with Kapampangan guinumis,  sago't gulaman, Kamias slush, mais slush, etc.

It was just a small restaurant with a Filipino theme that has a maximum capacity of  30 people on the second floor and 20 on the ground floor. They do catering on the side too


What a day!

When @eatsasmallworldph's Kevin  invited me to O'ini , I thought I was just going there for the "normal" Kapampangan" food.

Little did I know that it was going to be an Andrew Zimmern Bizarre Food  redux.

But it was really fun and unforgettable.

Check them out and do that cricket-frog combo. Would be interesting to know how it turns out for you.

Definitely returning with the piggery in tow perhaps for some baboy damo (wild boar) ....                                                                   

O'INI KAPAMPANGAN RESTAURANT is located at # 10 Unit East Xavierville Avenue corner Bocobo Street Loyola Heights Quezon City

O'ini Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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