She had me at UNLIMITED RICE.
While Rice-all-you-can promos are nothing new, the standards and the servings of the restaurants offering this promo have noticeably deteriorated over time. Either the chicken portions have become smaller, not to mention so dry and burnt, or the servings of the ulam are so small, it could barely get you through your first cup of rice.
So imagine my delight when I learned that Hukad sa Golden Cowrie is serving unli rice!
I already tried the resto last year while attending one of those launch events, but they were serving their merienda dishes so I wasnt able to really sample their best sellers.
Last week, Hukad did a relaunch of sorts with their new endorser, Gerard Anderson, and I finally got to try more of their dishes.
Hukad’s heritage of delicious comfort food began in 1982 with the opening of the first Golden Cowrie restaurant in Lahug, Cebu City. Serving native dishes in a relaxed and homey atmosphere, the restaurant was a hit with locals and tourists and soon became an iconic Cebu dining destination.
When the company decided to franchise in 2009, the name Hukad (which in Bisaya means “to serve up food on one’s plate” if used as a verb, and “ladle” if taken as a noun) was developed for the more casual-dining, mall-based branches. Retaining Golden Cowrie’s signature menu and hospitality, but updating its look with beautiful native craft-styled interiors by renowned Cebu designer Hannah Lim, Hukad restaurants are literal feasts for the senses.
A feast of flavors
With over a hundred items on the menu, and almost all good for sharing, Hukad lives up to its tagline “Always a Feast!” Highlighting the Filipino tradition of “salu-salo” or coming together over good food, Hukad is the perfect place for families and friends to celebrate festive get-togethers or to bond over favorite meals.
Here are 5 dishes that go best with their unli rice!
1. Crispy Pata: A pinoy fave, its no surprise that its also one of Hukad’s showstoppers. Their crispy pata won People’s Choice in the Sun Star Best of Cebu Awards for its juicy meat and oh so crispy skin. Two cups of rice is just the beginning.
2. Lechon Belly de Cebu: You should never visit Cebu without trying their lechon. If their Crispy Pata is award winning, their Lechon Belly is equally a crowd-pleaser with tender meat and sinfully crunchy skin oven-roasted daily in savory seasonings and herbs. You can order them in different sizes, ranging from good for 2-3 to good for the whole angkan. Three cups or more?
3. Baked Bantayan Scallops: Another must order dish, and as its name suggests, the Baked Bantayan Scallops, are flown in fresh from Bantayan Island near Cebu and topped with buttery cheese and garlic.
Baked Bantayan Scallops
4. Seafood Specialties: When it comes to seafood, for which Cebu is famous for, Hukad doesn’t disappoint. So I’ll be cheating on this one as they have several dishes you really have to order if you love seafood. Try their Escabecheng Tanigue, Grilled Bangus, Grilled Tuna Panga and Tuna Belly to Stuffed Squid and Garlic Chili Shrimps.
5. Kare-kare– and friends: Okay, I said only five but if you are going to choose a beef dish you could never go wrong with Hukad’s Kare Kare or maybe Sinigang, and Bulalo. For the more adventurous palate you can try regional specialties like Caldereta de Cabrito,Crispy Dinuguan, and Oxtail Humba.
Extra servings: For appetizers and dishes on the side, there’s savory Baked Tahong, Seafood Pancit Habhab with shrimp and squid, and Ngohiong, which is Cebu’s version of lumpiang shanghai.
Lastly, desserts and drinks include unique Filipino delicacies like Budbud Turon, Biko Tsokolate, Ube Halaya Crisp Ala Mode, and Agua Fresca pitchers in Pineapple Cucumber and Green Mango Cucumber.
To complement the abundance of dishes, Hukad also innovated by offering unlimited freshly-cooked rice to all its patrons. Whenever a customer’s plate is low on rice, a Hukad girl with a rice pail will approach and ask “Hukad some more?”. Many diners have become quite friendly with the Hukad girl and gone on to have second, third, or even more helpings of rice, leaving them truly sated and satisfied.
Even in today’s competitive dining landscape, the people behind Hukad and Golden Cowrie are very confident that Filipinos’ love for native flavors will remain strong, as evidenced by Hukad’s rapid expansion into new markets, robust franchising efforts, and big marketing push.
“Like Gerald Anderson, many world-savvy Filipinos may try out different cuisines and international concepts, but there will always be a place in their hearts for the homegrown Filipino comfort food that they grew up on,” says Kenneth Kokseng. “Offer delightful flavors, great hospitality, and amazing value, and the love will always be there.”
For Gerald, that love that is even better when it’s shared. “When I eat Hukad dishes, I would always remember how mom took care of me when I was young. So it’s always nakakabusog ng tiyan at ng puso when it’s my turn to treat my mom at Hukad, because it brings us closer as a family.”
Asked if he had any shoutouts to his fans and fellow Filipino food lovers, Gerald invited them in Bisaya to dine at Hukad and discover why “It’s Always a Feast.”
“Ari na! Ug bisita na ta sa Hukad, Kaon ta bai!”