Craving for some honest to goodness delectable Southeast Asian dishes like Phad Thai, Hainese Chicken Rice, Laksa, Tom Yam Chicken and those other savory and nakakatakam spice-laden dishes of our neighboring countries? You are in luck! We are in luck to be precise hehehe. Our latest food trip brought us to Chef Cyril and Mary Ann’s Oriental Spice Gourmet Restaurant in Basak, Lapu-Lapu City.
After our trip to Kuala Lumpur when we first tasted authentic Malaysian dishes, we’ve been asking ourselves where to go to eat Malaysian cuisine here in Cebu. Then we heard of Oriental Spice from some of our friends, research ensued.
Titus who lives near Tamiya have seen the restaurant but never checked it thinking that it is expensive since it serves regional dishes – Indonesian, Malay, Singaporean food etc. But last Monday, the three of us agreed to meet in Pueblo Verde in Tamiya Basak to finally visit this promising restaurant. Mannn, so glad we did! Oriental Spice could be one of Cebu’s best kept secret that soon will be uber popular among the locals.
Find Oriental Spice Gourmet along M.V. Patalinghug Avenue, a short distance from Jollibee Tamiya Basak
How to go there: If you are commuting just ride any Tamiya bound multicab, then from Tamiya terminal you can now walk. Exit Pueblo Verde, look to the left, you will see the Bee icon of Jollibee. Oriental Spice is a few meters from this fast food chain.
Oriental Spice Gourmet is owned and managed by a UK-trained Malaysian Chef, Cyril and his businesswoman wife, Mary Ann, a winning tandem! Their place is small, less than 15 tables if I counted right. Kitchen is spotless, stainless steel pans and pots, woks, bowl of spices near the working station ready for the chef to whip out his magic.
Inside the restaurant in Cebu that serves South East Asian food!
The chef at work!
Chef Cyril is also an artist with this wall paint ! =)
Our food was served fast and we gobbled it in record time. I for one usually only eat a few strands of touge just for show but this time at Oriental, I was digging into the Mee Goreng , a lightly spiced noddle dish with Chinese leaves, bean sprout, chicken, and red onion with much gusto! Recommended!
Mee Goreng for the win!
One of their bestsellers is Spicy Beef, their version of the famous Malaysian slow cooked spiced infused Beef Rendang. The beef was so tender and the sauce is a perfect mix of chilli paste and spices. This dish is a great complement to our spicy fried rice, Nasi Goreng Kampong.
Spicy Beef for you!
Nasi Goreng – Spicy fried rice with chicken strips, eggs, Chinese leaves, red onion and crispy anchovies
They’ve got two kinds of roti, the Singaporean and Malaysian. I love the Singaporean roti, it’s a bit oiler than the Malaysian roti but every tear and bite is soft and lami dyud.
The best part is that when we thought we could not take anymore food, Mary Ann served us a complimentary prawn cracker, it disappeared in a flash hehe
Crack the prawn cracker
BTW, our drinks were buko juice for Doi (P50), calamansi with honey for me (P50) and Coke in can for Titus (P35).
How much did this Cebu food trip cost? Only P685.
Divided by 3 pax, about 228 pesos per person. Sobrang sulit for a memorable food trip!
Nakakagutom to recall these food, tsk.
Now what makes this restaurant in Mactan unique?
Foremost are the engaging owners. We stayed almost two hours as Mary Ann shared stories upon stories. We are bloggers and we like stories especially travel stories, so we were a captured audience as Mary Ann recalled some trips across the globe among others. Chef Cyril doesn’t talk much but he smiles his gentle smile, nods occasionally as his wife chats with us.
Oriental spice doesn’t cut cost on ingredients. The couple makes twice a year trip to Malaysia, Singapore et al to buy the special ingredients and supplies. By the way, the restaurant is close when they are away. One week is for buying of herbs and spices, milk tea, condiments, all kitchen needs; the second week is slated for sight-seeing and rest and recreation. Then they transport all their purchases back to the Philippines. When supply runs out, they can’t serve you the dishes that need the out-of-stock ingredients. Mary Ann say’s that their supplies are fast dwindling and may not last for two months more. Waaaaaaa.
Note to self: Dine again soon before supply runs out!
Dishes are affordable despite using mostly imported ingredients. This is because they don’t have rental expense for they own the building. They could if they so chooses pass on the rent opportunity cost to customers but they don’t want to do this, they want to keep their offers affordable to everyone.
Chef Cyril and Mary Ann serves with a smile!
Surprisingly, it is the expats, foreign students, MEPZ company’s executives that frequents this place since its inception almost five years ago. They got popular with these groups by word of mouth referrals. In the last year or two they see a constant stream of locals visiting their restaurant like us. Facebook has been abuzz too with good reviews of this restaurant in Mactan. When we came in Mary Ann asked us how we’ve heard of them. Friends, blogs and Facebook we said.
Oriental Spice Gourmet effortlessly begets loyalty, am not surprised. They serve dishes that are really good, not the usual fare that we were accustomed too plus they are affordable. Main dishes are P150** per serving be it noodles, fried rice, soup, fish, beef, chicken. Makes it easy for anyone to remember and compute the meal’s cost.
**Exception: Hainese Chicken Rice is P175, this dish is only available every Wednesday.
Wall of smiling, satisfied customers
(you might see your expat big bosses here hehe)
For first timers they will serve you the regular recipe, but they can adjust the spiciness based on your preference. Do you want the food hot, mild or crying hot? They listen to you. Say you don’t like onion in your food, they will take it out before cooking your order. All dishes are freshly cooked too!
If you don’t know what to order or is not familiar with Asian cuisine, let Mary Ann choose for you. She’s an expert in choosing food that you will most likely dig, it has something to do with knowing the taste preference based on nationality and instinct, and I guess combination of skill and experience too.
‘Can I help you choose from the menu?’ she asked, ‘Sure!’ we said.
She picked 3 dishes for the first-timers-us: Nasi Goreng Kampong, Mee Goreng, and Spicy Beef. That is enough for 3 persons, says she. Were the ordered dishes good? You bet! Clean bowls and plate after the fact! Food trip fulfilled!
When we ordered roti , she told us just order two servings, if you want more, you can order later. Unlike some restaurants who pushes you to order this and that, you can expect Mary Ann to tell you that you are ordering more than you can finish.
Roti Pratha for P50
More choices from the Oriental Spice menu:
- Spicy Dishes – Chicken Curry, Sambal Chicken, Seafood in Turmeric Sauce, Salted Fish Pork etc.
- Soup – Tom Yam Chicken/Fish, Chicken Vegetable Noodles
- Fried Rice Dishes – Char Pun, Seafood Fried Rice, Oriental Spicy Rice, Mee Char Pun etc
- Noodle Dishes – Pad Thai, Char Mee, Char Kway Teow, Laksa Curry etc
- Fish Dishes – Chili Fish, Tao Chio Fish, Sambal Fish etc
- Non-Spicy Dishes – Tao Yiu Pork, Potatoes Chicken, Broccoli with Baby Corn and Chicken etc
Important: The restaurant is usually very crowded during lunch time. It’s best to go there for early dinner instead unless you have prior reservation.
Top Notch Customer Service
It looks like they really know how to take care of their customers. We were talking for an hour already when a family arrived. She remembers faces, she remember customers. Before opening the door to these new customers, she said they haven’t been here for two months or so. True enough upon entry the mother said, it’s been awhile since we were here, we’ve been avoiding this road when road construction started and traffic became terrible but our kids were missing your food so much that we take time to come today. When they were seated, Mary Ann said, you want the usual? ‘Yes, the usual please’.
They deliver too! This is their reservation / order hotline: 238-4544 or 406-0814.
Oriental Spice opens at 10 AM and closes 8 PM Monday to Friday only. They are constructing a new, bigger restaurant about 3 minutes’ walk from its current location. When its finish they will be open on weekends. Hurray!
When are you going there? Food trip na!