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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)


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)…


….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!]


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.


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!


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