“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” - George Bernard Shaw
The love affair of Cebuanos for food is quite obvious with the numerous ways Cebuanos prepare their food. This can’t be more obvious at the SuTuKil stalls right beside the Mactan Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City. SuTuKil or STK is an acronym for the three ways of cooking seafood, Sugba or to grill on charcoal, Tuwa or stewing food with spices, and Kilaw or immersing raw food with white vinegar mixed with ginger and aromatics.
The SuTuKil area is located to the left of the Mactan Shrine, past the souvenir shops and police precinct. The area actually has a number of restaurants where visitors can dine in after visiting the Mactan Shrine. It is also a good stopover place for first-time visitors of Cebu. The restaurants offer different types of seafood, including fish, shrimps, clams, crabs, scallops, squid and even lobsters.
Among the more famous restaurants are Manna SuTuKil and Fredz SuTuKil. These two restaurants are said to be among the pioneers in the providing the freshest catch of the day. The weight of the seafood determines the price of the food. Aside from the well-known SuTuKil method of cooking, the restaurants can also prepare the seafood using other methods, such as baked scallops, sautéed crabs, and fried calamares. These cooking methods can be done upon request.
When the STK restaurants started out a number of years ago, the prices were quite affordable for locals. But, with the increase in the number of foreign tourists, prices were adjusted to cater to the budgets of these international visitors. The lack of new offerings was also emphasized by some return customers, who said it may be necessary for the STK restaurants to innovate and offer something new to its clients. In response to these comments, government officials are mapping out plans in addressing the issues affecting the area.
Despite these issues, the popularity of SuTuKil continues to grow. It can be seen with the opening of a number of STK restaurants in Cebu City. Similar to Larsians, eating fresh seafood is not the only reason for people to visit the SuTuKil restaurants at the Mactan Shrine since it is also about experiencing the love affair of Cebuanos with good food in one of the most famous dining places in Cebu.
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