THE bright glass windows and the huge lighted sign which says “Native Restaurant” lured me and my buddies to its doors one night last week as we were scouting for a place to grab a late dinner.
Squeezed between a store, a poker game house and bars in Garapan, we thought it was just any run-of-the-mill fast food establishments where you can stop for a cup of coffee or order a burger but we were wrong.
The place is small, with only bar stools and no formal tables but it’s one of those establishments where you feel at home right away. The huge flat screen showing a Chinese love story mounted on the wall, the muted lights and the tastefully chosen wall décor added to the comfortable ambiance.
A smiling Chinese handed us menus displaying over 70 dishes to choose from.
A lot of the items on the menu are not the ordinary items you see in most of the restaurants in the island. Native Restaurant is for those diners who have no qualms to eat what others would classify to be on the exotic side such as stewed pigeon, pork tripe with pickle, fried pork intestines, cured fish with cow heels or stewed chicken feet.
We ordered a serving of fried rice Yangzhou style and fried rice with shrimp. They were served on a huge platter, with a generous mix of mushroom, onions, shrimps, carrots, bits of ham and green peas. I had a hard time finishing half of my share. Not bad for $4. My buddies ordered stewed chick claws or chicken feet for $5, and simmering beef noodles for $5. The chicken feet were tender and the beef noodle soup was just heavenly.
Although the waitress speaks limited English, we were able to communicate with her to ask for water, hot sauce, lemons, more water, extra bowls, more wate and finally our bill. A receipt issued in Chinese was given to us after dinner — $23 only for four satisfied individuals.
Prices at the Native Restaurant are very affordable. Try out their set of 25 pieces of white soft delicious dumplings that are either steamed, fried or boiled with a variety of flavors such as celery with pork, celery for $6. Or the special snacks such as noodles with sesame butter, seafood or beef noodle soup for $2 to $5 per serving.
Soups vary from fresh duck soup, chicken soup, and pigeon soup. You can also pick out from the cold dish section such as stewed chick claw, pig’s ear or tongue, duck’s web, beef tendon or stomach, spiced pork intestines, mixed cold jellyfish, golden mushroom with vegetables, gizzards with soy sauce, beef seasoned with soy sauce, cucumber in sauce, all from $5 to $6.
The chicken combo meal is another option, served with rice, soup and vegetables for $8.80. You can choose how you want your chicken done — boiled with salt, diced with chili sauce, fried with betel nut or just fried chicken. The shrimp combo is available for $9.80. Have your way with shrimp — spicy, scalded, fried with salt and pepper or sweet and sour. Fish combo costs $11.80 and you can have the fish steamed, with black bean sauce, braised or sweet and sour. You can also choose the beef combo meals.
If you are craving for chicken, Native Restaurant allows you to choose from sliced cold chicken, fried chicken wing/drumstick, deep fried chicken with chill pepper or stewed chicken with mushrooms.
Vegetarians are not left out because they can choose the sauté vegetable and braised tofu, or braised eggplant.
Be daring and try the hot pot items such as the braised fish with cow heels, stewed pigeon, congee with preserved egg or with pork and vegetables, or stick to the familiar like fried rice noodles with beef, spicy hot noodles with beef or fried rice with beef or with shrimp.
Native Restaurant is located beside QQ Store and near The Old “B” Bank and Kimchi Cabana in Garapan.
This article was first published HERE