THE spired structure towering over Cebu City is a familiar site. For twenty years now, it stands as a landmark. Two decades in the hospitality industry— and unsurpassed as the leading events and convention venue—Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino deserves a toast.
Within its vast halls, along the hotel’s Gourmet Walk, are two other “institutions” that amassed a following since its opening—Tin Gow and Mizu. Like tea and sake, the oriental restaurants have become staples in everyone’s meal choices in Cebu.
Tin Gow is dubbed as “the city’s premier and most elegant Chinese restaurant.” It specializes in a combination of Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine. From the menu, the regular diners have their favorites—and for good reason. The chef, Chinese Malaysian Chef Low Yuen Kong aka Jimmy Low who has been the resident chef since Tin Gow opened in 1999, has brilliantly put a twist to the favorite Chinese menu choices and turned it into Tin Gow’s own.
Although the dim sum in this joint is said to be the best in town, the a la carte dishes have made it to the top of the must-eat list for many. From the long list I was able to sample a couple of dishes highly recommended for a first time diner. It was addiction at first bite. Yes, it’s that lethal.
I’m talking about the Deep Fried Pork with Sweet and Sour Sauce and Deep Fried Squid with Salt and Pepper. For those who have tried this, they’d probably say it’s a good choice. Both were delightfully surprising, a crunchy version of its original recipe. The thinly-cut pork and the squid were cooked to a crisp and drizzled with the condiments. It was delicious!
Mizu, the Japanese restaurant is also a favorite among the locals. Just like Tin Gow, Japanese Chef Ken Imamura puts his inventive twists on Japanese favorites. Clean is how his food is described, perhaps the result of using only the finest Japanese ingredients. That’s pretty much staying true to the Japanese tradition of cooking.
A Japanese chef preparing dishes with Japanese ingredients, nothing can be more authentic than that.
The house bestsellers were recommended—Miso Soup, 5-Variety Sushi Mix, Gyoza, Ebi Tempura and the Yakiniku Teppan, one of the specialty dishes with the Mizu mark on the menu.
How was it? Let me say with the feast before three people there were no leftovers. And I had a heavy breakfast before that.
The two chefs have stayed in their posts since Day 1. Maybe this is why the Tin Gow and Mizu have become the favorites of many of the Cebuanos, and returning guests of Waterfront Cebu. The diners trust that the place can deliver consistency. Dishes that they fell in love with at first bite almost 20 years ago.
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