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Su-Tu-Kil: The Ultimate Seafood Experience In Cebu, Philippines

Posted by on 4 May 2010

Su-Tu-Kil, pronounced as [soo-too-kil] and not to be confused with ‘shoot-to-kill’, is a cluster of seafood stalls and eateries in an area known as Mactan Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City (Cebu, Philippines) just minutes away by car or taxi from Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Su-Tu-Kil — arguably the ultimate seafood experience in Cebu — is actually an acronym for three popular ways of enjoying seafood in the Philippines:

1) SUgba (grilled)

sugba/sinugba/grilled fish

2) TUla (soup)

tula/tinola/fish soup

3) KILaw (raw fish soaked in vinegar mixed with tomatoes, ginger, onions and lemons, sometimes with radish; the vinegar’s acidity effectively ‘cooks’ the fish)

kilaw

What makes the Su-Tu-Kil experience unique is the fact that you first need to buy the seafood from one of the stalls in the area…

fresh seafood for sale

…then you pick out one of the nearby restaurants to cook them for you. [NB: This restaurant sold its own seafood but you’re under no obligation to buy from them.]

No Problem Restaurant

The choice of seafood is mind-boggling. Everything is so fresh, many of them are still alive. Everything smells like the sea; there’s no ‘fishy’ smell at all!

Take your pick from oysters and crabs…

crabs and oysters

…live lobsters…

live lobster in tank

…seaweed (the miniature grape-like things are a hoot to eat; the branchy stuff tends to be a bit more chewy)…

seaweed

….as well as clams, prawns, scallops, and all sorts of exotic fish.

The best part is, of course, deciding how you want to have your seafood. Do you want your prawns grilled or cooked with butter and garlic? Perhaps the fish head can be made into soup, most of its flesh going into kilaw, then its tail grilled (just as we did!)? Name it, they’d do it for you! For a price, of course, which often translates to about half of what the seafood would cost you.

The place is not posh and can be crowded at night, but it’s breezy and offers a view of the clear waters of a mangrove swamp.

mangrove swamp

You might even find yourself serenaded with a harp…

sutukil harana

…as you sink your teeth into all that scrumptious, deeeelicious, mouth-watering seafood.

We had our fill of dishes like scallops baked with cheese…

baked scallops

…fresh oysters with flesh so sweet, all I needed as condiment was the slightest squeeze of calamansi to go with it…

fresh oysters

…and squid cooked in its ink. [Trivia: Filipinos eat squid with its ink. Malaysians don’t!]

squid

The Su-Tu-Kil experience — it’s like dying and finding yourself in seafood heaven!

grilled prawns

Getting There:

As I said at the beginning of this post, find your way to this area called ‘Mactan Shrine’ in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.  The place doesn’t look like much from the outside. The police station (on the left) is the main landmark to look out for.

su-tu-kil

Walk past the police station and you’ll find yourself in a small alley with shops selling souvenirs, selling everything from keychains made from mother-of-pearl to wooden carvings to t-shirts to decorative items made of capiz shells.

su-tu-kil souvenir shops

The stalls selling seafood are just a few steps away from the souvenir stalls. The restaurants are on both sides of the alley. You won’t miss the place because the moment you step out of your vehicle, people will be scrambling to take you to the restaurants (that hired them as informal ‘promoters’). If you go there for lunch like we did, you might even find yourself escorted with an umbrella!

umbrella

13 Responses to Su-Tu-Kil: The Ultimate Seafood Experience In Cebu, Philippines

  1. Tony B.

    Squid ink is one of the best seafood sauces imaginable!!!

    By the way, have you ever heard about yummy-cebu.com? I hear they just started a new contest called Mama’s day out!

  2. witsandnuts

    I thought you just did a few hours stop over in Cebu; seemed like it was a worthwhile stay then considering the food feast alone. =)

    It’s good that I’ve just had lunch before I read this post, otherwise namatay na ako sa inggit at gutom. Hahaha!

  3. Jayme

    Ahhh!!! Baked scallops with cheese! That must have been so good. Just about to eat dinner and now you’ve got me craving. Must look for nearest seafood restaurant. Now. :D

  4. sheng

    Nagawa niyo pa yan on such short stopover? Haha, tumawag ka pa sa akin ah, i thought pasalubong lang nabili niyo. Haha, but I am glad that you went your way trying out the seafoods there. I have been there once, but since kids and hubby was not that fond of seafoods, we considered exploring Lapu-lapu Shrine and went back to the hotel for the food trip. I am missing Cebu now that you have featured this. sigh.

  5. al de cruz

    ahh.. kain muna ako!
    SuTukiL… papaluto ako nyan… hehe

  6. Mimi

    Sheng & WitsAndNuts: We were there for 4 hrs, I think. More than enough time for a sumptuous lunch ;)

    Jayme: The scallops were gooooood :D

    Al: Yup :)

  7. Eper

    Oh my, now I’m craving for seafood…I want to eat at dampa!

  8. francesca in france

    CEBU has nice weather too, all year through.

    I was thinking, sutukil is in Indonesia, haha.
    Love all those sumptous meals; naubos nyo yun?

  9. Mimi

    eper: so did u get to have some seafood? ;)

    francesca-in-france: oh my aunt bought far too much seafood that day. we ended up packing at least half of it!

  10. a-moms-diary

    I stayed at Shangri-La Mactan few years ago but didn’t know about Su-Tu-Kil. What a waste – the seafood looks so yummy.

  11. christine aparre

    hi gud day pila ag nyo dawat d bullet big og lukon,,pasayan og crab ky naa man gyd m dri s bohol pede b m mag deliver s nyo?

  12. christine aparre

    plz reply lng mo s akong email add f interesado m makig bussines,,,,or u cal call mao n aq no.09494876739 .tnx

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