Ghetto Grub: Caruz EateryMarch 20, 2019
- Nico GocoWords
From food carts, to hole-in-the wall joints, we try out meals that literally test your intestinal fortitude. There may be flies on the counter, and the dishes aren’t always clean, but that big, hot bowl of what’s presumably food just looks so good. Yes, these are the places your mom warned you about. But it’s okay, we won’t tell if you won’t. Welcome to Ghetto Grub.
Back when I was a kid, my dad used to take the whole family out to Sunday lunch every week. We’d go to a nice kubo-kubo restaurant by Laguna Lake where we could have our fill of local seafood dishes. I remember feasting on bowls upon bowls of ginataang kuhol (snails cooked in coconut milk) with my sister. It was the highlight of our weekends.
Sadly, like the tragic decline of that once beautiful lake, the years have not been kind to ginataang kuhol. The dish appears to have fallen out of favor with most local restaurants, save, perhaps, for those specializing in traditional Filipino cuisine. When I was told of a karinderya that is reputed to serve a mean ginataang kuhol, I just knew I had to try it out.
The dishes looked pretty much like how mom (or lola) would’ve wanted them to look.
Caruz Eatery has been around for more than twenty-five years. When I stepped inside to look at what they offered, it wasn’t hard to see why they’ve lasted for so long. The choices were not only extensive, but all dishes looked pretty much like how your mom (or lola) would have cooked them. They were actually just bringing in a new batch of freshly made caldereta as I was taking pictures, and for a moment, I seriously considered ordering it along with the kuhol.
Thankfully, I regained my senses (to the everlasting gratitude of my expanding gut) and settled for a compromise. I ordered a bowl of kuhol and asked the waitress to put caldereta sauce on my rice. All the smugness I felt with having avoided calories, however, disappeared when I had to order another cup of rice just to mop up the leftover sauce from the ginataang kuhol. It would’ve been criminal to let it go to waste.
For PHP 65, you get a very generous bowl of kuhol.
For PHP 65, you get a very generous bowl of kuhol. It’s packed with fat snails in shells filled with coconut milk. Caruz Eatery also uses just the right amount of coconut cream, putting in just enough to make you want more with your rice without letting you hit that dreaded wall of umay from all the fat. After my meal, I felt so full that I spent a good five minutes just sitting there with a look of contentment on my face.
A word of warning though, especially for those with significant others, it may be best to tell them of your plans to dine here beforehand. While Caruz is a very decent place (Hillsong was on loop on the stereo when I ate there), don’t be surprised to receive a call from your wife asking what you’re doing in the area. It is, after all, right across the motel strip in Pasig, and replying with “kumakain lang ako dito” may result in an even bigger fight.
Is Caruz Eatery a place for you? Let’s take a look.
Ghetto Factor: 4.5/10
It is a decent place, and quite clean inside, Solely for the fact that it’s a stone’s throw away from five love motels, though, I have to give it extra ghetto points.
Health Hazard: 1/10
Again, it looks pretty clean. No flies, and all the interiors look spic and span. No worries here.
Their facebook page proudly displays the photos of several celebrities that have had their meals here. There’s also a separate, air-conditioned area where diners can escape the heat. I’d say your conyo friend would be pretty comfortable here.