Bacoor takes pride of its sea produce, the tahong, or the green mussel, that spawns around the coastal waters of Manila Bay all year round.
For a long time the fishermen of Bacoor has depended much of their livelihood on the cultivation and harvest of the tahong and talaba (oysters), and dishes such as tinolang tahong and baked tahong on cheese became popular staples in dampa-style restaurants. It took however an enterprising housewife to glorify this humble seafood into the gourmet spotlight.
Belinda Sanchez Antonio, owner of R. Antonio’s Restaurant located at Rubio Street near Bacoor Church, relishes the early success of her restaurant, not long after it first opened its doors in 2014. An HRD graduate who worked in SM Department Store, Max’s Restaurant and Hotel Sheraton, she has the knack for reinventing the popular Filipino dishes by making tahong the main ingredient. With the support of her loving husband Ronaldo Antonio, they turned their 30-year old embroidery warehouse in Brgy. Digman into a bohemian-style restaurant.
Though she admits that the restaurant was able to attract more customers because of its location beside the very famous original Digman halo-halo, she says her own customers are now bringing in their friends and relatives to try out her tahong dishes such as adobong tahong, lumpiang tahong, tahong sisig, tortang tahong, tahong burger patty and even pancit palabok topped with tahong. It also helped that her tahong suppliers are just a block away from the restaurant, ensuring that they get the freshest catch of tahong everyday.
In addition to her tahong dishes as the main attraction, R. Antonio’s Restaurant also serves other delicious delicacies, desserts and icy beverages. She is now experimenting with more reinventions of famous dishes such as pasta and salads with tahong.
R. Antonio’s Restaurant is located at Digman St, 4102 Bacoor, Cavite
1 kilo of tahong (green mussels)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp iodized salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup cooking oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp iodized salt
1/2 tsp group pepper
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp cornstarch
Crispy Tahong Cooking Procedures:
- Boil or steam tahong until shells open.
- Remove the mussel meat and let it freeze overnight.
- Pre-mix a coating of bread crumbs, cornstarch, salt and pepper.
- Mix the milk with the beaten eggs. Dip the tahong in egg, then roll in the breadcrumb mix.
- Fry in oil until golden brown.
- Serve with the dip.
Dip Cooking Procedures:
- Mix all dip ingredients in a saucepan until cornstarch is completely dissolved.
- Cook over low flame until it is slightly thick, then serve it as dip for crispy tahong.
(BY: JOEL ALDOR / PHOTOS: R. ANTONIO’S RESTAURANT)
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