Will Kagat ever open a branch beside The Diabolical?
You’ve probably already heard of Kagat, the controversial Halimaw-themed restaurant — raves and rumors have been flying around, so we sent writer and singer cum baker Waya Gallardo to sift tale from truth
Waya Gallardo will taste everything once. From kamaru (mole cricket) and kalabaw (carabao), to fried scorpions and sautéed silkworms, she will open her mouth and taste and then make up her mind. More often than not, she ends up liking it. But when Kagat (loosely translates to “bite” in English), the darkly themed halimaw (monster) restaurant opened last month, even she had to think twice before finally agreeing to try their specialty: Black Adobo.
At first glance, Black Adobo doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary. It isn’t even a main course, but an appetizer dish of three small birds braised in vinegar, an extraordinary amount of garlic, and fresh green peppercorns. But you can only order this dish once in one night. No one can call back to the kitchen for more.
For these small birds, served whole, head, beak, claws and all, are the fabled Black Chicks, allegedly harvested from the throats of real manananggals [a vampiric creature in Filipino folklore whose upper half sprouts wings, and separates from its lower one when it hunts for human blood].
A particularly macabre gastronomic gimik, or just another fanciful recipe on a menu that features Tinolang Adarna and Kapreng Kape (tobacco leaves are brewed along with the coffee beans)? Maybe. But how to explain the stories circulating, of Black Adobo inducing mild euphoria, of diners experiencing a common craving for cooked offal. And the wings—how do you explain them?
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By Waya Gallardo (Interview by Luis Katigbak), originally appearing in UNO Magazine’s April ‘10 issue. Photography by Mitch Mauricio.