Our tummies sent an sms to our brain telling us that we need to eat. Now. The problem was, we were already on a tricycle, en route to General Santos City’s airport. We came all the way from Sarangani, visiting two of its beaches, Sellona Beach and Gumasa Beach. And travel time from there up to Gensan took more than two hours. Our tummies’ need was very much justified.
We asked our driver if he knew of a place where we can have a late lunch. What we wanted was a steaming hot bowl of balbacua, a beef broth similar to nilaga. We heard it’s one of Gensan’s specialty dish which we, unfortunately, haven’t had a chance to try yet. And here we were, ready to take off from the city.
|JHABY’S SIMPLE SET UP ~ PHOTO BY BLISSFULGURO.COM|
The place our driver set us off, Jhaby’s Gotohan, didn’t have that dish though. What it has, however, was tuna; something the city is very known for. That seemed alright with us. What made it better though was how they cook their tuna, they serve it tapa style.
|BEEF BATCHOY ~ PHP30.00|
We immediately asked for two plates of their tunasilog, replacing the traditional tapa (beef jerky) with tuna chunks, served with fried eggs and fried rice. The meal is already set with free iced tea and a small cup of soup but we felt we needed something more. From their menu, we spied their beef batchoy. That would shut up our tummies, for sure.
Jhaby’s Gotohan is set right beside the highway leading to the airport. The main dining area is a fan-cooled room with a few seats outside for those wanting to dine al fresco. We saw a lot of diners wearing hijab, so we assumed that this is a halal restaurant. We decided to sit outside, Gensan’s afternoon heat, notwithstanding, and were soon being served with our meal.
|TUNASILOG MEAL ~ PHP45.00|
The tuna indeed resembled something like a globular version of beef tapa. We tried it without any dip first to find its core flavor. Indeed, it also tasted like beef tapa with a slightly fishy tang to it. The texture was very different though, softer and fishy, but firm. Well, of course, this is fish after all.
Next, we tried it with our usual vinegar dip with a bit of patis (fish sauce) and crushed chilis. It was perfect.
Their beef batchoy, on the other hand, was pretty average. Actually, it tastes more like beef mami than batchoy.
Jhaby’s owner proudly told us that this is the first restaurant, or carinderia for that matter, to serve tuna tapa in the city, a thing they thought of to make tuna more interesting—not that it needed to be—but we also thought that it was remarkable enough to pass up having our first balbacua for a tunasilog. Now off to the airport!