Chicken meets red rice-A A +A
Friday, August 16, 2013
THERE'S this unassuming place along V. Rama Ave. where people flock to get the day’s meal of grilled food and red rice. By its name, diners know they are getting something good, with the flavor of home cooking. It is called Cucina ni Nacing after the owner Marilyn Chua’s mother, Ignacia “Nacing” Abadijos.
The place, recalls Marilyn, started as a liempo grill place in 2006, a makeshift affair with no place for eating in. At that time, she was into ice distribution but business was slow and her friends who tried her liempo encouraged her to make a business out of it.
She did, and along with liempo, she also had roast quail. The latter she had to give up as she had no regular source for the quail. Her business grew and soon, people insisted on eating in, even if they had to eat using tinfoil as plates as she had no plates, no spoons or forks.
Everything in the place is grilled. She now has roast chicken, boneless lechon, ribs, tuna panga, boneless bangus, grilled dory and chorizos. On the side, she also sells achara. If a diner eats in, the rice she serves is red rice “to make a difference” from all the other eateries serving white rice.
The tent that sheltered her grill was later replaced by galvanized roofing and the mud floor, replaced with cement even much later. Her place has become so popular so that she had to branch out to A.S. Fortuna, also a small place (about 30 square meters), this time ”presentable.” But it was at the original location along V. Rama that she wanted SunStar to see and to savor the food: boneless lechon that has a bit of spicy kick in it; delicately flavored roast chicken; and tuna panga served with red rice.
On the side was a small saucer with the makings of the Filipino’s favorite dip: diced onions and pepper, ready to be mixed with soy and vinegar. It was a meal that was so truly delicious it deserved, in the opinion of photographer Arnie Aclao, to be eaten with bare hands!
Marilyn says she does not use a marinade. There’s a hint of lemongrass and garlic in her cooking. Everything is put on the meat or fish before it is cooked, except for the lechon, which is pre-boiled and the chicken, which she injects with “the (secret) sauce.”
Marilyn looks back and says she never thought her initial investment of P6,000 would come to this, during which time her five children had also grown: all of them are now working, including one who is a partner with her in Cucina in Nacing, or that she would be cited by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry as a “creative small medium entrepreneur.”
Satisfied as she is with the outcome of her venture, she is still looking for other products she can possibly offer to her customers. She still hopes to be able to offer quail again and perhaps native chicken and even duck, if only to be ahead of the competition!
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 17, 2013.