SEAFOOD lovers, rejoice! Choobi Choobi, the concept restaurant that originates from Cebu is now all over Metro Manila and its suburbs, and it is teeming with seafood items on its menu. What makes it a real cause of celebration is that the seafood is as fresh as it can get, it is cooked into a wide range of simple but extremely delicious and flavorful dishes, it is offered in generous family-style servings, and it is priced reasonably, too.
When Choobi Choobi opened its first store in Metro Manila, its owners, led by Stan Tanchan, basically wanted to bring delicious Cebuano food to Manila for everyone to enjoy. Choobi Choobi is primarily a seafood restaurant not only because Cebuano cuisine is heavy on seafood dishes but also because Tanchan happens to own one of the best shrimp farms in Cebu, and it is equipped with a blast freezer. So, the restaurant is able to bring the freshest shrimps and seafood from seafood to Manila on a regular basis.
Choobi Choobi combines Cebu’s seafood bounty (such as shrimps, fish, squid and clams) with imported seafood (including baby lobsters, lobster fish, giant bamboo clams and Chilean mussels). It specializes in seafood in one-pound bags, which diners keep coming back for. Consider these choices—Shrimps in a Bag, Scampi “Baby Lobsters” in a Bag, Chilean Mussels in a Bag, and the ultimate Seafood Barkada Bag (combination of shrimps, scampi, and Chilean mussels with corn).
Shrimps in a Bag (Php225 for half-pound bag, Php395 for one-pound bag) gives diners the choice of having the shrimps cooked in either of four ways—Butter Garlic, Sautéed in Garlic, Spicy Gata (coconut milk and spices), or Whole Choobang (Cajun sauce). You can add sweet corn for an additional Php45.
Another shrimps in a bag offering of Choobi Choobi that has become a crowd favorite is Singapore Style Salted Egg Shrimps (Php440 for a one-pound bag). It fits perfectly into the salted egg craze, which has been sweeping the world since last year. It began in Singapore and is definitely making quite a big impact in the Philippines. This dish of Choobi Choobi has a lovely salted egg sauce bathing the fresh shrimps. Diners can have sweet corn added for a minimal fee of Php45.
Also not to be missed is Stan’s Fried Black Pepper Shrimps (Php440), which is a one-pound platter of crunchy shrimps that are so crunchy you can even eat the shell, especially since it is coated with Stan Tanchan’s special black pepper sauce. This is one of the restaurant’s signature dishes.
For the imported seafood in a bag offerings of Choobi Choobi, there is Scampi “Baby Lobsters” in a Bag (Php580 for a one-pound bag) as well as Chilean Mussels in a Bag (Php325). The latter can be had in four flavors—Tao Si Sauce (black bean sauce), Spicy Gata (coconut milk and spices), Steamed Garlic, and Whole Choobang (Cajun sauce). Also available, although not in one-pound bags, are Giant Bamboo Clams (Php140 per piece) and Lobster Fish (Php110 per 100 grams).
The ultimate and most frequently ordered seafood in a bag variant is the Seafood Barkada Bag (Php645 for a one-pound bag). It is a combination of shrimps, scampi, Chilean mussels and sweet corn).
Aside from the one-pound bags, Choobi Choobi serves a wide range of a la carte dishes, ranging from appetizers, soups and salads to main dishes, desserts and drinks. A lot of it is seafood, including boneless bangus, scallops, gambas, tiger prawns, scallops, squid, pompano, halaan (clams) and pla-pla; but the restaurant also carries quite a number of chicken, pork and vegetable dishes.
Grilled Pompano (Php90 per 100 grams). It’s a whole fresh pompano fish that’s grilled to perfection. The fish is definitely fresh and naturally flavorful.
Lola Pepang’s Fried Manok (php345). A signature dish like Stan’s Fried Black Pepper Shrimps, this is a whole chicken prepared following a family recipe that has been passed on for four generations.
Choobi Pata (Php465). It’s a whole pork knuckle that has been fried to a golden crisp. It is tender and juicy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.
Cha Tao Miao (Php190). This dish is listed on the appetizer menu. You would not think a simple vegetable dish like this could taste so good.
Pork Barbecue (Php30 per stick). Juicy pork barbecue that has been glazed with a lovely sauce!
From the fish and seafood to the meat and poultry, all the way to the vegetables, everything is fresh and finger-licking good.
Speaking of finger-licking good, Choobi Choobi actually encourages diners to eat with their hands because every table is provided with a Post-Shrimp Kit, which includes a box of tissue paper, wet wipes, alcohol, candies and mints. Here, you can really let your hair down, relax and enjoy your food.
To wash it down, diners have a healthier option than softdrinks, as the restaurant’s extensive beverage menu includes fresh fruit and vegetable options, such as Fresh Pineapple Organic Wheatgrass, Fresh Pineapple Organic Kale, Mango Basil Shake, Lychee Kale, Banana Shake, Mango Banana Shake, Watermelon Shake, Grape Juice, and Fresh Apple Carrot Juice, at Php130 per glass.
(Choobi Choobi’s Cebu branches are located at Parkmall, SM City Cebu North Reclamation, SM Seaside Cebu, Robinsons Galleria Cebu, and Pueblo Verde-Lapu Lapu City. In Metro Manila, it can be found at 102 Panay Ave., Quezon City, as well as SM Manila, SM Sta. Rosa, SM Southmall, Ayala Mall Legaspi, SM Baliwag and SM Dasmariñas. It has also set up stores at SM City Iloilo, SM City Bacolod, Limketkai Mall Cagayan de Oro, Centrio Ayala Mall Cagayan de Oro, SM Lanang Davao, SM City General Santos, and Dipolog.)