If you’ve got some serious craving for fresh seafood but the beach is quite some distance away, your best bet is to go to your nearby dampa.
Originally, the word “Dampa” is a Filipino term for “hut,” reminiscent of the small houses that line the seaside where fishermen live and make their living.
Today, it is associated with a wet market attached to a restaurant. In this kind of eatery, diners can select the fresh seafood they want to eat and then choose from a menu of ways on how they want these to be cooked for an additional charge, hence term paluto.
As a Pasiguena, landlocked and situated far away from the seaside, I’m lucky that there’s a Dampa sa Libis located nearby.
As is typical with other dampa-style eateries, this one is geared towards catering to large groups in a very informal setting.
The place is suitable for boisterous gatherings of people who love to dine together over their favorite seafood dishes, with little to no concern about the restaurant’s decor or aesthetic. (So if you’re feeling particularly tita-ish, this might not be the place for you.)
However, if you’re game for fresh seafood, cooked upon order and served fresh from the kitchen, this just might be your foodie haven.
During a recent get-together with my in-laws, the extended fam feasted on:
Sinigang na Salmon sa Miso.
Fresh salmon prepared in a variant of the famous dish sinigang which also includes miso (soybean paste) among its ingredients.
Large prawns battered and deep-fried until golden-brown and served with a sweet soy-based dipping sauce.
Inihaw na Pusit.
A beachside favorite, this dish is made from a large squid stuffed with tomatoes and onions, then grilled for that smokey taste.
Sweet and Spicy Crab.
Fresh crabs cooked in tomato sauce, chilis and other spices with a bit of brown sugar for that irresistible interplay of spice and sweetness with every bite of succulent crab meat.
For those who have a more carnivorous bent (or those with kids who have not yet discovered a love for seafood), barbecued pork belly is always a delicious possibility.
The best way to cap a great meal is to linger over dessert, right? This Pinoy take on the creme caramel will do quite nicely as a post-meal sweet.
When dining at a dampa, it’s best to let your adventurous side out and to savor the good food along with the good company you’re having.
Dampa sa Libis is located at 107 E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Bgy Libis, Quezon City, open for dine-in and takeout on weekdays from 11am to 9pm and on weekends from 10am to 9pm.
For more information, follow Dampa sa Libis on Facebook or call +63 2 86373303 or +63 917 7071553.