Tuna Lagoon won the Cook Off initiated by the Ebiil Society

After reading this, you will definitely not look at your food in the same way again.

Mention tuna and the immediate thing that would pop to mind is probably your favorite recipe of the fish. But there is actually more to it than what meets the eye.

There is now a push for the hospitality industry to put considerable thought in the choosing of the main ingredients of the food they are serving to customers in such a way as that they would not only serve quality dish, but also contribute to sustainable fishery and environment conservation practices.

The Ebiil Society, a non-government organization in Palau that is promoting conservation and sustainable fishery practices, had launched yet another Cook Off on Saturday, June 2.

This time, five chefs from local restaurants in Palau namely the Hungry Marlin of the Cove Resort, the Elilai Restaurant, Pare’s Bar and Grill, the Drop Off Bar and Grill, and the Marina Café VITA had showed off their cooking skills and proved that they were not called chefs for nothing.

In an attempt to promote sustainable fishing practices and conservation, the Ebiil Society urged the hospitality industry to join the Cook Off and showcased dishes by utilizing only Pelagic fish such as Tuna, among others.

Pelagic fish are known to be more resilient and do not only spawn aggressively but also grow quicker compared to the reef fish.

Ebiil Society Director Ann Singeo previously told Island Times that by targeting Pelagic fish for commercial, restaurant, and tourism purposes, coastal fishes will be given a break to revive itself, hence contributing to sustainability.

Below are the Tuna dishes prepared by each local restaurant during the Cook Off:

  1. Tuna Lagoon

Tuna Lagoon by Chef Masaki “Angelo” Horie of the Marina Café VITA

The name of the dish gives a mysterious vibe and indeed, looking at the presentation of this dish prepared by Chef Masaki “Angelo” Horie of the Marina Café VITA would give you an itch to immediately explore its taste so as to be able to solve the mystery right away.

The dish is a double treat served on one plate as Chef Horie would delight your tongues with a Tuna Confi dressed with a mashed potato with grilled eggplant paste and Caponata and a Prosciutto-wrapped Tuna rare steak. One bite is enough to win your palates and hearts but one bite would surely not be enough for you and your pals as you will get hooked by its taste one bite after another. The rare steak tuna is to die for!

  1. Seared Tuna, whipped cinnamon pumpkin, red wine and taro chips

Seared Tuna, whipped cinnamon pumpkin, red wine and taro chips by Chef Roy Handler

Who would have thought that cinnamon, pumpkin, and red wine would all go well together, especially when paired with a seared Tuna?

Be ready to get your taste buds exploding in a delicious sensation once you tasted this Tuna dish by no less than Elilai Restaurant’s celebrity Chef, Roy Handler.

If there is a good way to show what expectation meeting reality looks like, then that would be this dish by Chef Roy. Some dishes are there to delight your eyes but disappoint your palate and this is definitely an exemption to that.

One look and you could tell that the tuna would melt in your mouth as the texture and delicious pinkish color of the meat would already give it away. Voila! The dish would be gone in no time as you would savor its rich consistent flavor inch by inch.

  1. Ceviche with Roasted Pork

Ceviche with Roasted Pork by Chef Meno Gentapan of the Pare’s Bar and Grill

If there is one man that could serve a simple dish in a sophisticated way then that would be Chef Meno Gentapan of the Pare’s Bar and Grill.

The Ceviche’s “sunny” presentation would definitely lighten up your mood and would make your taste buds move like molecules in motion as they delight in the teasing of the combined sourness of the vinegar and Dbechel, a local lemon.

Unlike some other Ceviches, this one by Chef Gentapan just offers you enough sourness. The Tuna did not drown in vinegar but still maintained that good sour taste that everyone wants for a Ceviche. To add a twist, the roasted pork that went with it also complimented the taste of the dish. Plus, you are guaranteed by the freshness of the fish made even more perfect by that enough spicy kick flavor.

  1. Pan-fried Tuna with Onion and Mushroom Sauce

Pan-fried Tuna with Onion and Mushroom Sauce by Chef Joven Juntilla of the Drop Off Bar and Grill

Chef Joven Juntilla of the Drop Off Bar and Grill definitely knows how to produce “innovative juices” literally and metaphorically speaking.

Even at the last hour, Chef Juntilla was able to showcase a new menu he called “Pan-fried Tuna with Onion and Mushroom sauce. The Graded A tuna definitely collaborated with the Chef’s skills, giving taste testers that awesome chewy and juicy taste.

Other than the good tuna quality, the Onion and Mushroom sauce also starred the plate. If the dish was a movie, then the Tuna and the sauce are the main actors. If you’re not fond of onions, consider this creation as an exemption as you will definitely eat those thin cuts of onions like they are spaghetti.

  1. Sweet Chili Tuna

Sweet Chili Tuna, a fusion of Filipino and Thai Cuisine, by Chef Filomer Bognot of the Hungry Marlin Restaurant of the Cove Resort

If there is a star-studded plate, then that would be Chef Filomer Bognot’s Sweet Chili Tuna, a fusion of Filipino and Thai Cuisine.

If you’re up for a sweet dish, then this one will definitely be perfect for you.

What to expect on this plate? A seared tuna resting on a white sauce and a hash brown crowned by a crispy spinach. Indeed, the hash brown is king and is definitely a show stealer.

The Sweet Chili Tuna is served at the Hungry Marlin Restaurant of the Cove Resort. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)