I used to live in Iloilo when I was a child. Back then, all I could remember about the city were the following:
One, there was a Shakey's there! After school mom would take me and my brother to get mini pizzas, always Hawaiian Delight. And always, we ate at the counter. I loved Shakey's! And that sparked my love affair with thin crust pizzas that burns strong to this very day.
Two, there was A LOT of grilled squid. Every night (it felt that way, I'm not sure if this is factual) we scoured the streets for grilled squid. My mom was pregnant with my baby brother at that time and that was all she always wanted to eat. At night, the city seemed to come alive with squid grilling stands. The world was dark except for the shiny red coals that grilled the stinky squids. Those imposed trips never made me a grilled squid fan. I found it too gummy and burnt tasting.
And third but not least, there was a noodle soup dish called batchoy there. I was about five and was confronted with this dish that had animal innards! As any child would, I found the surprise elements too yucky to eat. Picky eater that I was, I had trouble eating normal-looking food and much more so the livers and intestines. My parents were really into it though, so I obliged a sip. Holy broth! It tasted great! It was salty with a touch of sweet, full of texture (noodles, chicharon, spring onions), and just all around satisfying. I see my dad adding a lot of pepper and soy sauce to his, so I follow suit. And the flavors explode! Needless to say, I loved it!
We used to eat at the original Ted's Old Timer at the La Paz market. So I was really excited to find that Ted's Old Timer has expanded to Cebu. They have branches in AM/PM Mall, near Cebu Doctor's Hospital and Mandaue Centro. The taste was still quite good. The broth was a little too sweet when I tried it but after peppering it generously it seemed to have helped balanced back. The puto was just as good as I remembered. I found myself there on a cold and overcast day, making it just the perfect thing to have.
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