Cebu will not be accorded the nickname “Queen of the South” without good reason. A favourite among both local travellers and foreign tourists, Cebu is a tourism mecca and continues to captivate every wanderer with its undeniable charm and seemingly infinite leisure offerings.
But more than its magnificent scenery, pristine beaches and the welcoming warmth of Cebuanos, Cebu remains a magnet for tourists because of its delectable food. A culinary melting pot, Cebu offers hundreds of delicious ways to make a visit memorable, from the popular sinugba (grilled foods) to the world-famous Cebu lechon.
Luckily for foodies looking for a one of kind gastronomic adventure in the Queen City of the South, there’s a place in Cebu where they can find all the best and delectable Cebuano flavors all in one place – Mactan Alfresco.
Nestled at Megaworld’s sprawling Mactan Newtown township in Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan Alfesco is a covered dining strip patterned after Singapore’s famed hawker centers. The 350-seater food strip is designed to showcase the best authentic Cebuano cooking and cuisine—from the a delicious variety of sinugba to Filipino favorites like skewered chicken, fish, shrimp, Cebu’s famous chorizo and the freshest seafood.
One of the unique features of Mactan Alfresco is the large communal outdoor grill or ihawan, which is the perfect way to cook Cebu’s bounty of land and sea. Guests can choose from an array of freshly cooked food choices “turo-turo” style or choose fresh meat and seafood and have it cooked according to their preference. Each viand is partnered with “puso” or rice wrapped in triangular buri leaves which one eats with their bare hands.
And no trip to Cebu will be complete without sinking teeth to its culinary pride – the lechon. At Mactan Alfresco, diners can enjoy ‘the world’s best pig’ (as Anthony Bourdain puts it) in the most delectable and freshest of ways with its ‘Lechon Pit’. Six Lechon Pits are on hand to thrill guests who can now experience lechon roasting on the premises and enjoy the freshest lechon!
Foodies and diners will have their hands full choosing from 11 of Cebu’s finest dining establishments. Among the dining establishments worth exploring is Choobi Choobi, where diners can delight in its specialty the Shrimp in a Bag, one pound of fresh shrimp which comes with corn on the bob and sauce options like Butter Garlic, Cajun, Sauteed in Garlic and Spicy Gata. Other house specialties include Choobi Pata, Lola Pepang’s Fried Manok and even a Fried Herbed Spring Duck, a free range duck fried with secret herbs and spices.
A menu filled with delicious sizzling dishes awaits guests at Mama Linda Inato BBQ Haus. From Sizzling Gambas, Beef, Pork, Squid, Seafood and even Chicken Feet, diners can easily satisfy their cravings for grilled food and fresh seafood. They also have Crab ala King in Chili Sauce, Garlic Shrimp and Garlic Crab, Sweet & Spicy Sugpo, Steamed Lapu-Lapu and Crispy Pata.
Those who want a bit more of Filipino flavors can visit Manang Sayong and indulge in authentic Pinoy gastronomy such as Pochero, Sinuglaw (a delicious combination of grilled meat and ceviche), along with a variety of seafood, pork, beef and chicken dishes.
Cebuano favorites and equally delectable exotic dishes abound at Orange Karenderia, a Mandaue-based eatery known for its bestsellers Betsy’s Garlic Chicken, their crispy Tuna Buntot or Pork Barbecue.
Oyster Bay Seafood Restaurant, one of Mandaue’s finest dining destinations known for its wide selection of live and fresh fish, crabs and lobster dishes, offers a perfect stop for seafood-lovers. Dishes such as the Halaan Soup and their Oysterbay Crab are easy favorites, and then there are Filipino and Chinese favorites like lechon kawali, bicol express, Pata tim and more to try. For first-timers, they can pick from any of delectable set menus that can easily fit their budgets.
Another perfect stop for hungry travellers is Muvanz Pocherohan and Seafoods, where they can discover the distinct taste of the gastronomy of the Island of Bantayan. Aside from a great grilled seafood selection, diners can surely delight in their Pochero (beef marrow stew), their rich Scallops (saltwater clam cooked with cream and butter) and sizzling squid.
Homegrown Cebuano brand Conching’s is also worth taking a visit as they are among the few places that offer a taste of native Cebu chicken or “Manok Bisaya”, which is best enjoyed grilled.
And what’s a trip to Cebu without lechon? At Mactan Alfresco, one will never run out of choices. They can get their lechon fix from Cebu’s no.1 lechon-maker Cebu Ayer Lechon, or try lechon belly, which comes in spicy and regular flavour from Cebu’s Original Lechon Belly, or have delicious lechon paksiw and dinuguan at Anna’s Lechon.
Aside from Cebuano staples, visitors at Mactan Alfresco can also enjoy the flavors of Mexico at Meximama, which offers Mexican favorites such as Taco Carnitas, the Costillas de Cerdo or Pork Ribs and for a sweet finish, their Churros con Chocolate.
Aside from offering the best of Cebu’s gastronomy, Mactan Alfresco is also the best place to experience a slice of the famed Filipino culture. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of February from 6:30PM – 8:30PM, guests at Mactan Alfresco can witness colourful performanceshowcasing the best of Filipino culture and tradition by performing different dances of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao such as Ritwal, Banga, Tinikling, Sinulog, Singkil, Subli and Fire Dance.
Mactan Alfresco is conveniently placed near the main entrance of Mactan Newtown, the country’s first “Live-Work-Play-Learn” lifestyle township with its own beachfront located in Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan.
Bringing to life the “Play” aspect of Mactan Newtown is the Plaza Magellan, a Megaworld Lifestyle Mall that will face the historical Mactan Shrine. Aside from housing the finest shopping, dining and entertainment choices, the planned three level retail and commercial hub will feature a Spanish galleon flanked by Spanish steps and arches – reminiscent of the Spanish era in the Philippines.