Affordable Seafood Feast in Boracay – a step-by-step guide

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While there are hundreds of restaurants in Boracay, you’ll get the best seafood by buying it yourself at the local market and having it cooked for you.  This may seem a complicated option but it’s not.  The Boracay wet market (talipapa) is a convenient, well-oiled cooperation between the seafood vendors of the talipapa and the dozens of cooking services which surround it.   If you have not been to the Boracay talipapa, you may be put off by the idea of a cooking service.  These services do more than cook.  They are really conventional sit-down restaurants except that you bring your own seafood (or chicken or pork) to be cooked there.  The cooking service provides all the other ingredients and necessities for dining, including a menu of side dishes drinks and everything else you need for an enjoyable feast.  The main advantage is that you yourself will be able to pick out ultra-fresh seafood, have it cooked the way you want it and do all this at a fraction of the cost charged at a deluxe resort restaurant

Fresh grouper and other reef fish

Fresh grouper and other reef fish

But, first things first.  How to get to the talipapa?  The talipapa market adjoins D’Mall, Boracay’s main shopping area.  It can be reached via a footpath connecting the White Beach trail with the Boracay Main Road (the road leading to the jetty port).  From White Beach, watch for the D’Mall sign.  Walk through the “mall” and watch for the talipapa wet market.  From Boracay Main Road, watch for the talipapa sign.

Talipapa sign on Boracay Main Road

Talipapa sign on Boracay Main Road

Once you find the wet market, your job is to decide on what you want to eat and bargain with the vendors.  Generally you can bargain down the price by between 25% to 50%. You’ll see that the price of lapu lapu (grouper) on the sign above is P650 per kilogram.  After bargaining, we paid P350 per kilogram.

the wet market

The  Boracay talipapa wet market

 

June 2013 seafood prices. These are retail prices, very open to negotiation.

June 2013 seafood prices. These are retail prices, very open to negotiation.

June 2013 seafood prices. These are retail prices, very open to negotiation.

June 2013 seafood prices. These are retail prices, very open to negotiation.

Don’t forget that the market is not only for seafood.  You also buy chicken, pork, and beef as well as fruits and vegetables.  These can all be taken to the surrounding cooking service of your choice.  We bought fresh mangos for our dessert and our cooking service prepared and served them to us at no charge.  See photo below.

The next step is to choose your cooking service/restaurant.  Here is a  cooking service menu to give an idea of the ways that food can be cooked and the price for the service.  This particular cooking service charged extra for any extra ingredients needed for the cooking.  We wanted our grouper cooked as sinigang — a sour soup favored by Filipinos.  This soup requires tomatoes and kang kong, a green vegetable.  We decided to check other cooking services and selected another because they included the ingredients in the cooking service price.

Cooking service price list

Cooking service price list

Name

Natalia’s Kusina Cooking Service.  Note the sign in Russian, reflecting the growth of international tourism in Boracay.

Talipapa-9

Grouper sinigang. Al ingredients but the fish and shrimp were provided by the cooking service

Grilled grouper

Grilled grouper

kangkong2

We wanted to have a vegetable with our dinner.  This is kang kong (water spinach) stir fried with garlic.

mango2

As noted above. we had bought mangos at the talipapa market.  We gave them to the cooking service and they prepared them for us at no charge.  What a great dessert!  We were very happy with Natalia’s Kusina Cooking Service and don’t hesitate to recommend them.

Please also note that we were on a budget.  If you can afford it, you can feast on the more expensive items such as lobster, crab and shrimp.  Whatever it is that you order, it will be very fresh and nicely cooked.  We have one caution about butter.  It’s likely to be margarine, not butter.  We asked if they used real butter and the cooking service said it was.  It was not.  For many Filipinos, margarine is butter.  For that reason we’d advise avoiding seafood cooked in butter unless you can tolerate margarine.  For us, margarine spoils the flavor of the seafood.  And, don’t forget that, if you are on a budget you can have pork and chicken grilled.  It’s probably delicious!  Also see another excellent article on the Boracay Talipapa at Boracay Talipapa – more info from Anna

Another Boracay Restaurant Guide: http://boracaycompass.com/restaurant-guide/

Comments (2) Write a comment

  1. Great well laid out guide about D’Talipapa Bob! I always like to eat prawns there. They are not so expensive but still delicious.

    The restaurant that I usually bring my seafood to is Blue Jade Cafe. I like it because it’s a smaller and more peaceful restaurant then Plato. Plato is excellent as well though!

    Cheers

    Reply

  2. Pingback: Trip Report: Boracay Island, Philippines | My Philippine Life

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