Hello. Time places fast. I thought I might as well post this at real time– while waiting for our Bulljack’s order: 3 bowls talaba, one Ilonggo bangus (head for sabaw, the rest, sugba), 1/4 pasayan, and 2 orders liempo sugba. Bulljack’s is your simple talaba shack turned success story.
Don’t worry. The kids are happy. It didn’t take long for our orders to arrive. The firstborn is just in character mode.
From a casual chat with the owner, I learned that Bulljack’s many years back was just a talaba stand along the coastal road that junctions into the Metropolis subdivision. This, along with a few neighboring shacks, was a to-go place of truck drivers and salesmen wanting some food break. This is similar to the success story of Piad’s at the Coastal road at Dumangas.
Nowadays, Bulljack’s caters to families, friends and officemates, who travel to this “out-of-the-way” place just to eat good Ilonggo food in an unpretentious place– THAT– is truly characteristic of who we are as Ilonggos.
Talaba… That’s how Bulljack’s began.
Bulljack’s menu is very basic, consisting of fish (bangus and pisogo) cooked as sabaw, sugba or in combination. We had the bangus head as sabaw and the rest, as sugba. Next to the fish, a bestseller is their garlicky shrimps. I don’t recall an Ilonggo resto in the city cooking pasayan this way, with a sweet butter (or is it margarine?) -garlic overload. Then there’s Pork liempo, sugba.
So you see, it’s nothing fancy. Even the presentation is not food porn material. Just ol’ plain but fresh, namit Ilonggo food. No complex seasonings or spice mix; just salt for the Ilonggo bangus sugba. For the liempo, just salt, some patis (toyo), calamansi, and garlic. The fish tinola or sinabawan is also basic. Only the garlic shrimps is upscale. (Oh yes, I should write on why our Ilonggo bangus is exceptional compared to Luzon bangus).
This is our friendly but shy server. We came in past 7 pm, when all the waitresses must have been tired by then, but she, as well as the others are still in an amiable mood. (I wish other restos were the same).
We ate at the second floor by climbing an 80 degree narrow staircase (part of the thrill and rugged ambiance of Bulljack’s.
More on the Ilonggo way: we generally don’t like fancy places. We’d rather eat in rustic spots with familiar tastes of home. We don’t want to be confined in stuffy and dark environments. It speaks of our warm and gregarious nature.
Busog na si Roly Poly Olie.
P.S. 1. Wasn’t able to post real time. I was too full to type on my pad.
2. Bulljack is the nickname of the owner’s young son.