Puerto Princesa, Palawan [Philippines]
I'm headed to the Philippines in a month, including 3 1/2 days in Puerto Princesa. I have to see the underground river, doncha know!
Does anyone have any firsthand experience eating in Puerto Princesa? We're looking primarily for seafood, but will eat anything, including non-Filipino food (if it's good). I've done some googling already, and have found suggestions for KaLui, Badjao Seafood Restaurant, Kinabuchs, Balinsasayaw ... But if anyone has any suggestions for undiscovered eateries, I'd love to hear about them!
I'm also very interested in bakeries! I'd love to include some Puerto Princesa ensaimada in my taste tests :-)
And breakfast places! I love breakfast, and our hotel rate does not include breakfast, so we will need to find sustenance elsewhere.
And any suggestions for food-related souvenirs that are specialties of the area?
Oh, we're staying at Hotel Centro, so nearby recs are appreciated, but we will travel for food. I should also mention that my traveling companion is a serious germaphobe, so dive-like restaurants need not apply.
In case anyone else goes to Puerto Princesa, the only strong recommendation I have is not to bother was KaLui, at least not if you're interested in food. We ordered the set (appetizer, soup, three seafood dishes, dessert for two) and almost everything we had was flavourless, and the grilled (on a cast iron pan--not on a real grill) fish steak was so dry I couldn't eat more than a couple of bites. After our dinner, we spoke with some locals and they told us KaLui is known for not using a lot of flavourings in order to focus on the natural flavours of the foods. I think that's a fine philosophy, but a little salt, at the very least, would have been appreciated.
Aside from that, we really only ate at Hotel Centro. Breakfast buffet was pretty great--different main dishes every day (the first day had bacon, sausage, and something else I don't remember; second day was eggplant parmigiana, hungarian sausage, and something else I don't remember; third day was some other sausage, tocino, and dried fish), plus fruit, breads, and a congee or soup. Eggs were also cooked to order. Dinners were a little pricier (as with most hotels), but their version of bagnet was pretty incredible. Not too fatty, but the skin was very light and airy. Not a traditional bagnet, but very tasty nonetheless. I noticed some other guests had ordered burgers, and they looked like really good burgers--topped with huge onion rings, large patties, and substantial-looking buns that did not melt under the weight of the meat. More than P400 each, though.
Lunches were included in the tours we did (Underground River, Island Hopping), so I don't remember many details about them.
I would recommend Puerto Princesa for a few days, at least to see the Underground River (which was interesting, but not necessarily the most spectacular bit of nature you'll ever see). But keep your expectations regarding food in check.