It was a very early day for me. I had dropped off my son at school and arrived in Choobi Choobi while they were still fixing up the place for the blogger event. No worries. I brought work! The Choobi Choobi staff were so nice. They even offered a heaping plate of breakfast for me but I declined because I knew we were in for a lauriat-style lunch and I wanted to reserve stomach space for all of it. Hahaha…
The table setting was unique, with our utensils wrapped in what looked like plastic, transparent kitchen globes. When I asked about the gloves, the staff answered that it could be used by those who would rather not eat with their hands. Not me! I will go kamayan anytime! I think it is one of the best ways to whet one’s appetite and really dive into a unique seafood gastronomic experience.
Choobi Choobi owner Stan Tanchan told us the story of the restaurant. Their family started out with a shrimp farm in Cebu which they operated for over 20 years until they decided to branch out into other related ventures. He first began exporting his shrimps to restaurants worldwide. But Stan had a passion for cooking and there began his creation of different dishes for Choobi Choobi, where shrimp was a specialty. Today, Choobi Choobi does not just offer shrimp dishes. They offer other delectable seafood dishes and meat-based dishes as well.
Our first dish was Cha Tao Miao – crunchy and tasty stir-fried snow pea sprouts. I found it quite unusual to start off our appetizers with a vegetable dish but surprisingly, it was a refreshing and light way to start our lunch.
Seafood Barkada Bag came next – a mix of imported shrimps, mussels, corn on the cob, and Cebu longganisa. The whole lot was cooked in and generously served up with Choobi Choobi’s cajun sauce. I focused my appetite on the shrimps (these stood out for me because they looked so different from local shrimps – they had much bigger heads but smaller bodies) and mussels, which are always a favorite choice. I left my tablemates to finish the corn and longganisa. The best way to eat this is really with one’s bare hands, soaking them in the cajun sauce before popping them into your mouth.
Choobi Choobi, while specializing in seafood, is not all seafood. They have meat dishes. One that is a must-not-miss is their Choobi Pata — crispy on the outside, juicy soft on the inside. And that is no exaggeration. Although all their tables were packed full of bloggers at the event, they managed to serve this dish up with the skin remaining crispy for a long time! I must confess…I have not been eating crispy pata for a long time already for health purposes but I did not regret trying this one.
Back to seafood, our next dish was Shrimp in a Bag. A whole pound of shrimps — that goes into the Shrimp in a Bag. Also, it can be cooked in various ways. The one served us was a Singaporean style of cooking with salted egg shrimp but you can also opt for the shrimps to be cooked in butter garlic, sauteed in garlic spicy gata, or cajun sauce.
My favorite dish of all was Stan’s Fried Black Pepper Shrimp, a pound of crispy shrimp cooked in the owner Stan’s special black pepper sauce. This is a personal recommendation from me if you plan to dine at Choobi Choobi. The shrimps are so crispy that you could almost eat the entire shrimp, head and shell included. I kept drizzling the sauce onto the shrimps so they would really soak in when I ate them.
By the time the Flying Pla Pla came, I was almost full and since I eat a lot of fish at home, I ate sparingly. Still, it’s good to know you have this option if you want to order seafood that is not shrimp-based.
Two more meat dishes were served up. Choobi Choobi‘s signature dish Lola Pepang’s Chicken — a chicken recipe handed down 4 generations of the family, and Pork Barbecue. The chicken was very tender and the barbecue was juicy. But maybe because I splurged my appetite on the shrimps, I could not take in too much of both anymore. We have chicken a lot at home and I hardly eat beef and pork anymore.
Choobi Choobi doesn’t miss out on a dessert menu. We were served their Choco Molten Kiss (PhP 175) — decadent brownie topped with vanilla ice cream. Yum!!! Their menu has other dessert items so take your pick when you dine there.
Choobi Choobi can be found here: Capitol, Mabolo, Mactan Newton, SM NRA, SM Seaside, SM Manila, Panay Avenue Quezon City, SM Iloilo, SM Bacolod, SM Lanang Davao, Limketkai CDO and Centrio Ayala Mall.
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