If you grew up in the Philippines or have been here long enough to observe the food culture, a lot of the dishes are fried. If not fried, however they’re made they are bold and strong in flavors, whether it’s supposed to be sweet, sour, or salty. By this I mean it’s sometimes too salty (or too sweet) and this is why rice is such a staple here and people can’t live without it because it helps balance the flavors. Spicy? We don’t really do spicy. In other regions, spicy is a thing like in Bicol but it’s not popular nationwide. We’re probably the only country in Asia that’s not too big on spicy but recently it has been a growing culture/trend, especially with the spicy lechon.
I’m not personally a fan of fried food but my exception is ngo hiong, specifically Doming’s Ngo Hiong! Ngo hiong means Chinese five-spice powder, which is the one ingredient that makes this little piece of treasure a phenomenal treat. It’s typically made with heart of palm (good news, vegetarians!) but some places prepare it with meat as well (just ask them if they used meat).
What REALLY wins your heart when you try ngohiong is the sauce. I absolutely have no idea what they put in it, but it’s spicy and usually mixed with soy sauce to balance out the spice and give it more flavor. The combination of the sauce and the ngohiong is mind-blowing for me. Don’t get me wrong – the ngohiong itself tastes amazing and then you try it with the sauce and then boom, you’re in love. Well, at least I was hah!
Ngohong is inspired by the lumpia, which is either fresh or fried, and seasoned differently, hence “ngo hiong”. It’s (obviously) a result of the Chinese influence in our food culture, which is one of the two major influences, the other one being, duh, Spanish. Imagine over 3 centuries of their rule. We’ve retained so much of their culture to this day and it’s present in a lot of different aspects.
It’s definitely something I would recommend for you to try when you’re in Cebu. Of course, taste is subjective and I personally love Doming’s Ngohiong. I don’t dislike other ngohiong places. They’re good in their own way but I would recommend Doming’s Ngohiong. Another place you can try, which is also really popular, is Chinese Ngohiong in Junquera Street, Cebu City.
How to get to Doming’s Ngohiong? They’re on the map so you can just google them! Address is in Fairlane Village, Guadalupe. You can taxi, uber, grab, or take a jeepney that goes to Guadalupe. You get off by the school.