Situated along the expanse of San Jose lies another famous restaurant in Zamboanga that goes by the name of Hai San Seafood Market and Restaurant where, as its name implies, you can buy your favorite seafood and ingredients and have them cooked any way you want them. My favorite, obviously as seen from above, was the large prawns cooked in spicy chili, butter and garlic. Well, I don't really know the exact ingredients they used but rest assured that it was the best dish among the other delectable dishes served to us.
This is one of the famous restaurants where the residents and local government officials take their VIPs visitors and special guests for meals that won't disappoint and will make a good image of Zamboanga. You can't go wrong choosing this place for meetings, gatherings and special occasions when you want to impress whoever it is you're dining with.
The prices are quite reasonable considering the large servings and the superb taste of every meal. I would love to do more of lunch meetings at this place because I may be wanting to eat more than the usual. Seafood has always been a priority dish for me if given the opportunity to dine generously, but I do have to watch out for my health as this is a real threat to my waistline and blood pressure. Lol!
Have you noticed the roof of the entrance to the restaurant is shaped like a clam shell? Well, even without reading the smaller signage on top you'll be able to guess that it is a seafood restaurant. What else would you expect from a seafood restaurant? Maybe shapes of squids, prawns, lobsters, curachas, etc.?
Hai San could also probably mean something fishy ... hehehe. The city being on a coastal area, they do have an abundance of the sea creatures. I tried to Google for it but only something about a Chinese secret society that was influential in commerce and tin mining in back in the 19th-century came out.
They say many of the dishes served here are of Chinese cuisine but regardless of what country it originated from what is important is they serve really good tasty meals.
A remarkable aspect of the restaurant is that it is DOT accredited, meaning the DOT recognizes the restaurant as a tourism related enterprise that passed their preferred standards. If you see stickers like the one above posted on an establishment, then you are assured that the DOT has checked it out and made it a part of its highly recommended establishments that they can share with tourists inquiring for top class restaurants.
The seafood market section is near the entrance so the moment you stepped in, you'll immediately see the fresh choices of fresh sea creatures, some of which are still alive inside the aquariums.
The counter is somewhere at another portion of the restaurant before proceeding to the tables
Fresh veggies, mushrooms and even tofu can be seen among the items for sale.
The fishes are kept on ice to keep it fresh for sale or immediate cooking.
Shellfish like mussels and clams are also available
We ordered clams for our soup so we will have something hot to sip. We are having dinner that time so it will be a great to chow down on freshly cooked seafood.
These crabs inside the plastic tub are still alive there's only two of them. Not enough for our group.
The main meal ingredients have to be selected first from the counter where the fresh fishes and vegetables are located. You’ll also give instructions on how you liked them cooked. It’s basically sort of a classier "dampa" style of eatery that you can find back home in Manila.
We now see basic table setup again but this time its a checkered table cloth with yellow and green color hues
Plates and bowl, with spoon and fork setup
We enjoyed sipping this hot clam soup poured individually in our respective smaller bowls. Just the right amount of salt to taste as we take pleasure its original fresh taste
I decided to order Zamboanga White again. If you haven't read my previous blog about the Alavar Seafood Restaurant, the drink is actually a lychee shake.
Dripping in thick creamy butter, garlic and chili to spice, these tiger prawn didn't get a chance to stay as beautiful as it was right now. The dish evaporated from the face of the Earth faster than you can say "Spicy Fried Tiger Prawns."
Black can never be as beautiful as this once you've tasted it. The Adobong Pusit seems to look like black gold when I took its photo while zoomed in. This is what satisfaction can do. You get to be inspired with a full stomach.
The Chop Suey was a mix of freshly cooked seafood, crisp vegetables and delectable mushrooms. Can you spot the abalone and sea cucumber? It's a complete meal on its own and quite a healthy alternative for some of the diet conscious among us.
Of course we needed to order fish for our dinner. Enough of just ordering crustaceans and shell fish. There should be a balance. I would have probably ate more if only there was something left to eat. OMG! I eat too slow! Next time I will stop chewing and just swallow immediately..hehehe
Lastly, the dessert of buko pandan to end dinner with a sweet taste in the mouth. Well, there was nothing really special about this sweet treat. In fact there was too much sago and too little buko. I couldn't really complain about the taste, but it should have been called sago pandan instead.
In behalf of all the members of the DOT media team, I would like to thank Hai San Seafood Market and Restaurant for another great dining experience. Kudos to the chef for the splendid dishes.
More of my stories about Zamboanga soon in my blog. There's a lot more to share in future blog posts so be sure to watch out for them sooner than you expected.
We visited at least one restaurant per day during our stay in Zamboanga so the four days spent would equal to around eight dining pleasures in different restaurants ready for sharing to my readers.