For the love of Baked Scallops, the moment a Cebu-based friend of mine posted a photo of it online, ounces of saliva started dripping from my mouth and I immediately asked her the name of the restaurant where the photo was taken from. She told me that the food came from a hidden restaurant in Cebu called Kuya J. A week later, I booked a flight to Cebu. True story.
Kuya J is fairly new. I think it only opened some time in 2011 which explains why very few people know about it, add the fact that the place is not easily accessible unless you own a car or is willing to spend a little money for a cab in order to get there.
The street where it’s located is sort of like Cebu’s version of Maginhawa St. where residential houses are turned into homey restaurants. In front of Kuya J’s is another popular restaurant for grilled seafood called STK which we didn’t try because we really had our eyes set on Kuya J’s. The interiors are lovely with interesting light fixtures and ambient lighting that makes this hole-in-the-wall diner perfect for any type of group. The place also has free WiFi and a smoking area, just so you know.
ON TO THE FOOD
Once the waitress gave us the menu, it became a struggle to choose which dishes to get as everything was a Filipino favorite. They don’t have any signature dishes, but the ones that they do have are to die for! For starters, we ordered a platter of Bagoong Rice with Humba Strips. Anything with Humba is good in my book and this one was no exception. Most bagoong rice that I have tasted had a very strong flavor of bagoong but this one was just right as it doesn’t compete with the taste of the ulam.
Other favorites included the Calamares (of course!) and the Crispy Chicken Skin. Holy shiz, they are serving chicken skin! You know how most people love saving the skin of every fried chicken for last? Well, this time around, you don’t have to since they are serving it separately! OMG. What’s even better is when you dip it in vinegar to give it that sour kick. I could devour 3 plates of these monsters, for each meal the entire day!
Now, this is what we’ve all been waiting for: The famous scallops. We ordered 2 platters of their baked scallops, and honestly, I think I stealthily consumed an entire plate all by myself while everyone else wasn’t looking and busy with the other dishes. These babies drove my frustrations away that day as I was occupied with the cheese from the shells.
Kuya J’s is now my #1 foodie place in Cebu and will make sure to stop by and get my dose of baked scallops whenever I’m in Cebu.
We only paid a little over P1,000 for 2 platters of Bagoong Rice, 2 plates of Baked Scallops, 2 orders of Chrispy Chicken Skin, 1 Calamares, 1 Kinilaw, and 1 Grilled Tuna Belly. The great thing about it is that we were able to finish everything because we felt bad that all the good food would be going to waste if we didn’t. Epic lunch is epic!
If you’re on the lookout for an amazing place to have lunch or dinner in Cebu City, I strongly recommend, no, I AM FORCING YOU to go to Kuya J’s. Like, seriously. Swear. Promise. Crap, I’m hungry now.
Kuya J Restaurant is located at 0394 Orchid St. Capitol Site, Cebu City. It’s open from Monday to Saturday from 11AM to 3PM and 6PM to 10PM.