One of the popular local restaurants where Cebuanos congregate is called Chika-an. This is a restaurant that features Cebu’s cuisine and lets people have their lunch or dinner in the ambiance of an old-style Filipino home.
Chika-an sa Cebu built a tradition of great-tasting Pinoy dishes that it perfected in the decades since it started serving Cebuano families. One of the standout dishes at Chika-an is its utan Bisaya (native vegetable) soup. Malaya Business Insight reported that on the second leg of their nationwide food trip in 2012, the Sooo Pinoy team (led by Unilever Food Solutions) came to Cebu, and the members were impressed by the full-bodied flavor of the soup, which has malunggay (Moringa oleifera), squash, green beans, mild pepper, tomato, and onions in it. Sooo Pinoy is a group that aims to further appreciation for local food by promoting national and regional dishes that are proudly and uniquely Filipino, so it is on a mission to reveal the Philippines’ valuable culinary heritage and help Pinoys become much better acquainted with our own cuisine.
Another typically Bisaya soup at Chika-an is made from munggos (Vigna radiata beans). The menu at Chika-an sa Cebu covers various soups, salads, appetizers, entrées, desserts, and drinks. If you like the soup called sinigang, then you might be interested to know that you can have sinigang four different ways at Chika-an, which serves sinigang made with bangus, tanguigue, shrimp, and pork. Chika-an’s tinola can be made with either tanguigue or chicken.
For the entrée, a diner can choose from beef, pork, goat, chicken, seafood (crab, scallop and squid in particular), and vegetables. Other possible entrées you can choose are Chika-an’s various noodles and sizzling dishes. The sizzling marlin, bangus (milkfish), tanguigue (mackerel), or squid may be served a la pobre (with a sauce that includes crispy fried garlic bits), with gravy or with Chika-an’s popular coco cream.
At Chika-an sa Cebu, you can have crab cooked the way you want it, and you pay for it per 100 grams. The cooking options for crab dishes are the following: (1) with garlic, (2) with coco cream, (3) with salt and pepper, (4) with chili, (5) fried then served with garlic vinegar, and (6) steamed.
From the menu at Chika-an, you can already get to learn a few Bisaya words, if you’re someone who’s not familiar with the dialect spoken in Cebu. For example, sugba ug kilaw is actually pork that has been grilled (sugba) and paired with a seviche (kilaw) of raw fish fillet in vinegar dressing. Maybe you would prefer to eat fried buwad (dried fish) with kamatis (tomato).
Did you know that a child who’s less than four feet tall can get a free serving of rice at Chika-an sa Cebu? That’s another indication that this restaurant is a family-oriented establishment.
If you take a look at foodspotting.com (a Web site that shows a visual menu where people can find and recommend dishes, not just restaurants), the Chika-an dishes with the most number of sightings there are the crispy pata (deep-fried pork knuckles) and the baked scallops. As for its desserts, Chika-an’s frozen Brazo de Mercedes is recommended by people on that Web site. Chika-an serves typically Pinoy sweets. These include biko, banana and jackfruit turon with latik, fresh mango, halo-halo, Pinipig Delight, leche flan, and sylvanas.
Meanwhile, some tips that can be found on foursquare.com indicate that Chika-an’s crispy pata, munggos soup, pinakbet, and baked scallops are the most popular with the users of that Web site. Biko is the Chika-an dessert that the foursquare users most often liked.
In the year 2005, Chika-an was acquired by the Creative Cuisine Gourmet Group, whose other companies include Big Mao and Kaffee Alde. The group is owned and managed by a team of siblings who happen to be recognized professionals in the Philippines’ culinary industry, particularly in the province of Cebu. For their continuing growth strategy, this group of restaurateurs strengthened Chika-an’s status as a restaurant where people can enjoy native Filipino dishes in an atmosphere of straightforward dining, as though they were in the comfort of their home.
You can find Chika-an sa Cebu at the following locations:
A. Salinas Drive, Lahug
Tel. No.: (032)233-0350
Tel. No.: (032)420-9221
C. SM City Cebu, 2/F Northwing
Tel. No.: (032)412-2029
In May 2012, Chika-an announced that by June, a new branch would open in SM City Consolacion. Chika-an also opened a branch located in Abreeza Mall in Davao.
You can go to http://www.creativecuisinegourmetgroup.com/chikaan/ to find out more on this Cebuano restaurant and to view its full range of meals from the menu. The restaurant also has an FB page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chikaan-sa-Cebu/178518178887741