By Anna Valmero
CAGAYAN DE ORO, MISAMIS ORIENTAL—A gastronomical journey in this city is never complete without going to Tita Fannies.
Restaurant supervisor Rosemarie Largo recommends the lechon manok (roasted chicken), chicken inato (barbeque) and grilled pork liempo.
Tita Fannies started when husband and wife Nilda and Ernesto Onque opened up a nipa hut restaurant, selling ten whole chicken and 20 pork liempo slices on November 1999 in Iligan City.
The restaurant was named after the beloved aunt of the Onque children. The three-year-old branch along Corrales Street (near Don Apolinar Velez Street) in Cagayan De Oro is one of three in the region, following the main branch in Zamora and Aguinaldo, both in Iligan City.
Despite being new, the Cagayan De Oro branch is frequented by locals and tourists alike. There are days when up to 200 customers come in for lunch and dinner, says Rosemarie.
The restaurant’s homey ambience with bamboo accents adds to the native dining experience. Instead of the typical plastic ware used in dining joints, each meal here is served on banana leaf, which add to the aroma of the new off-the-grill pork or chicken and steamed rice.
For first-timers, Rosemarie recommends ordering the chicken barbeque and grilled liempo. The grilled chicken and pork liempo meal costs P160, a whole roasted chicken is P150 and pork liempo costs P140.
After one bite, the grilled chicken was my choice over pork liempo. I recommend try the spicy chicken, which has a hint of nutty, herb flavor.
The secret to the juicy and delicious meat is in the herbs and spices used for the marinade, says Rosemarie, adding they “inject” the marinade into the chicken meat” so that there is flavor in every bite. What exactly these herbs and spices are is close guarded family secret.
Rosemarie humbly says what made Tita Fannies a huge success and a household name is consistent food quality and prompt service from its staff.
She says they try to serve customers their food no more than 15 minutes after ordering. “The good thing about local businesses is that they promote delicacies and gives jobs to locals,” adds Rosemarie.
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