If you happen by Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, don’t miss out on a famous landmark: a dining establishment called KaLui that exclusively serves seafood and veggie menu all year round.
I never thought that the humble bahay kubo could be such a crowd drawer!
The carved wooden signage at the entrance and the details on the posts welcome diners into a landscaped front courtyard. Palawanderer, Outdoor Lover is prominently displayed in one corner amidst tropical foliage such as Birds of Paradise, ferns and assorted palms. In another corner are cascading water fountains highlighted with wooden carvings of tribal folk in assorted styles. Rocks and pebbles are carefully interspersed with grass to create pathways leading to the bahay kubo.
Diners are required to take off their shoes upon stepping into the main structure. Native baskets are provided in lieu of shoe racks.
The Filipino penchant for “horror vacui” (fear of empty spaces) is evident here, as your senses are assaulted with paintings, wooden masks, collectibles and knick knacks filling every nook and cranny, but in a good way. Fruits and vegetables are creatively arranged as accent pieces, not only on the buffet table but also in the bar, as well as the cashier’s area.
The floors are made of polished wood, while the walls are made of wood, with bamboo shingles, but open in some areas. The roof is made of nipa leaves. Woven mats made of raffia and banig are scattered throughout, native baskets of assorted designs are lined up in certain rafters, while capiz shell chandeliers hang from the ceiling.
Puerto Princesa is known for its fresh seafood, so the menu at KaLui Restaurant capitalizes on healthy dining. For brunch, we had Grilled Tuna Steak, Tuna Curry, Steamed Prawns, Seafood Kare-kare, and Seaweed Salad. Fruits in season were served for dessert, but plated in a naughty way. We were told by the dining staff that “Naughty Dessert” was very popular for bridal showers at their venue.
Vegetarians will rejoice at the KVP – KaLui Veggie Platter. You get a plateful of organically grown steamed veggies such as squash, okra, string beans, a generous serving of seaweed salad with kalamansi and vinegar dressing, a spoonful of pickled papaya, and some slices of sun-ripened tomatoes. Wash it all down with fresh juices, shakes or smoothies.
They have a souvenir shop which sells shirts, native bags and wallets, and home made jams made by village folks as community livelihood.
Located at 369 Rizal Ave., Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, KaLui Restaurant is open daily except on Sundays. Lunch is served from 11:00AM-2:00PM and dinner from 6:00-8:15PM and 8:30-10:30PM.
Reservations may be requested at (048) 433-2580/ 09477617191/09487232522.
This coverage was made possible as a part of USAID’s Advancing Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) project which seeks to increase competitiveness of economic growth areas including Palawan, in partnership with the Department of Tourism and the Province of Palawan.
Special thanks to Air Asia Zest Airlines for sponsoring our roundtrip airfare from Manila to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
Additional photos courtesy of Mr. Alexis B. Romero.