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To BE or not to BE, there is no question

The posh Bohol resort makes its case as a dining destination

It certainly isn’t everyday that one gets to sample and rate an absolutely luscious array of food, from appetizers to main courses to desserts. Mind you, this was not a lavish buffet offering a gamut of culinary treats, but rather an intimate food tasting event presenting dishes designed to spruce up the menu of BE Grand Resort in Bohol.

While I have partaken of hundreds of buffets, food fests, wine-and-dine events, and cocktail spreads in my (burp) 25 years as a writer, BE provided a series of firsts for me– first time to write down actual food scores, first time to attend such an event outside Cebu, and first time in a new (but heavenly!) venue.

Our BE Grand Bohol hosts were no other than Pearl Yang, the resort manager; and Karen Ello, the assistant communications manager. They both proved to be very lively and amiable, relating their amusing experiences in their job. They also introduced the chefs, Chef Clifford Lee from China, and Chef Mike Mandigma, the executive chef.

The scores

BE’s food tasting event was set at BE’s The Boathouse, where a total of 10 dishes (four appetizers, four main courses, one soup, and one dessert) were presented for our sense to feast on.

Among the four appetizers, the Mango Kani merited my highest score, with all of its garden greens, fresh mango cubes, shredded crabstick and shrimp, with roasted sesame in Japanese mayo dressing, combining for a tasty kickoff to my gastronomic journey.

Another appetizer was a novel form of Ngohiong Roll (marinated pork slathered in five spices, wrapped with bean curd sheets, and deep fried to perfection), which I thought to myself tasted a lot like the local street fare kikiam.

There were also three varieties of Buffalo Wings; blue cheese, spicy barbecue, and creamy mustard sauce, plus the King Prawn with chili-mango salsa consisting of crispy wonton cups topped with herbed spices. All of which were a definite four out of five stars.

The soup Chicken Binakol in coconut was a surprisingly delightful ginger-sautéed chicken stewed in fresh coconut water, coconut meat, and lemongrass with papaya and native chili leaves. Though I definitely am no chef, I was pleasantly surprised that coconut water and meat went so well with such unlikely ingredients!

Going to the main courses, the Paella Cubana earned my lowest score due to a seeming lack of flavor of its ingredients. On the contrary, the Spicy Beef Hofan was a winner in my book. The dish was made of beef tenderloin strips stir-fried with garlic, ginger, kutchay leaves, sesame seeds, egg and chili bean paste.

The other main dishes were the Spicy Arrabiatta Pasta—Italian pasta in arrabiatta sauce from garlic, tomatoes, and dried chili peppers in olive oil, plus the Bohol Seafood Bouillabaisse with sautéed squid, shrimp and crab in peanut butter, topped with vegetable garden and homemade shrimp paste. The latter is locally known as “bagoong,” and may just be the best I have sampled in my life.

Dessert was the all-time favorite DIY Halo-halo, with 10 assorted preserved fruits topped with caramel and ube (purple yam) stuffed in a BE branded coconut.

All of the dishes’ servings were just enough for one person, plated and served expertly by the kitchen crew. At the end of the hearty meal, I came up with no other conclusion that while BE Grand Resort in Bohol may be renowned for the luxurious resort lifestyle it affords, when it comes to offering a quality dining experience in Bohol, the resort is the place to BE.

 

By RICHARD RAMOS

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