Thursday, May 28, 2015

Flavors of Pangasinan: Matutina's Seafood Haus & Restaurant

They say the best part of any long road trip up north are the food stops. And on an epic road trip from Manila to Vigan, you'll find some pretty good stops for a leisurely lunch along the way.

Long known for its bangus, or milkfish, a food stop in Pangasinan is almost mandatory on any long road trip up north. In fact, missing it makes your road trip, well, just an ordinary road trip. One worthy stop is Matutina's Seafood Haus & Restaurant and their wide variety of bangus dishes. So trust your tummy and make that turn...

Located along MacArthur Highway after exiting the new Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway or TPLEX, it's not hard to spot Matutina's Seafood Haus & Restaurant. Once you see rows of cars parked in front and at the packed parking lot on the side, you've arrived at Matutina's Seafood Haus & Restaurant. 

Start with the refreshing Kilawen Bangus (P 150), a local ceviche version with milkfish belly marinated in vinegar, chili, and garlic. The creamy, and almost buttery milkfish belly almost melts in your mouth releasing its distinct richness, perfectly balanced by the tart and sharp vinegar and chili marinade.

The best part of the milkfish is once again used for Matutina's Seafood Haus & Restaurant's Fried Boneless Bangus Belly (P 180), a simple, rustic yet flavorful dish, pairing well with a local vinegar and fish paste sauce spiked with fiery chili. The milkfish belly is tender with a perfectly crisp outer layer for contrasting textures, and the crunchy garlic bits complete the flavors.

You've had it deep-fried, why not have it grilled too? Matutina's Seafood Haus & Restaurant's Inihaw na Bangus Belly (P 110) delivers a whole new flavor profile, with a subtle sweetness that complements the richness of the belly. The lightly charred outer layer adds a smoky crispness to the dish without overpowering the mild notes of the fish. Pure, clean, and fresh flavors.

But as with all seafood, no matter how much you indulge, your hunger comes back after just a few hours. And since we still have a long way to go to Vigan, might as well get some pork. And Matutina's Seafood Haus & Restaurant's Inihaw na Liempo (P 85) caps your food stop at Pangasinan. The first part of the epic road trip gets off on a flavorful start, with so many more local flavors to discover and experience. Stay tuned for more posts on my northern escapade...

 Matutina's Seafood Haus & Restaurant is located along MacArthur Highway, Urdaneta City, Pangasinan.

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