Lobster. Succulent, juicy, slightly sweet with a hint of the sea … it is truly a luxury on the palate. Maine lobsters, offered in Mamou and Masseto when in season, are especially in demand among gourmets with deep pockets.
When writer Digs Ramos, a passionate eater, was told by his doctor two years ago that he had to say goodbye to steaks, he looked for arguably the next best thing (possibly better?)— lobsters!
A home cook, he scoured the markets of Metro Manila in search of lobsters. To his horrror, he saw that lobsters were being sold in the market dead. “I was surprised to see that they were selling dead lobsters. Lobsters decompose really quickly. It becomes like cottage cheese, soft and crumbly instead of firm,” Digs explained.
Apparently, the practice in markets here is to call lobsters in an aquarium “live” and those from the sea, even if no longer breathing, “fresh.”
Digs did not understand the practice because when he lived in the US, lobster companies would deliver live, breathing lobsters to his house. Here in the Philippines, though, this was unheard of.
Seeing the need for delivery of fresh lobsters, Digs created Lobster House Manila.
He got his first supply of lobsters caught in the wild from Bicol. Realizing that, ultimately, he would want to be able to supply to a bigger market without running out of stock himself, he partnered with a lobster pen owner.
While all their lobsters are still caught in the wild, they are now in the process of creating a sustainable lobster pen that nurtures not only lobsters but also crabs, sea urchin, and other specialty seafoods. This way, Lobster House Manila can guarantee not only supply but also quality control.
At the same time, Digs wants to be sure they meet international standards by following rules such as not using compressor tanks.
As much as possible, Digs does the deliveries personally. This way, he gets to interact with clients and get their reaction and input on their products. He’ll knock on your door on a Saturday morning with a huge styrofoam box with the lobsters—alive!—wrapped in moist newspaper. You will get a kick out of picking up the lobsters while its antennae are still moving!
After a few deliveries, when clients would call him to ask how to preserve the live lobsters as they would be eating the lobsters or serve them for a party a couple of days later, Digs had another eureka moment: Why not just lend customers his aquarium? This way, they can be sure the lobsters will be consumed fresh. It also makes for an impressive conversation piece, as customers are able to show to their guests how fresh the lobsters are.
So for a minimum order of 3.5 kilos, you can borrow the aquarium to keep your lobsters on display before they hit the pan.
As Digs studied more about lobsters, he became even more fascinated—not only with this crustacean but also with other edible Philippine sea creatures. He went to the research department of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and looked for the scientific names of the many varieties of lobster. Bicol alone has several, including the “aswang” red lobsters, and slipper lobsters (which are sold by Lobster House Manila).
Most impressive, but yet relatively unknown among the lot is the slipper lobster. Incidentally, it looks like the humble tsinelas–with a flat back and camouflaged antennae. But the meat and texture of this lobster is amazing.
Dr. Ed Jamora, formerly the flight doctor of KLM and frequented (read: ate a lot of lobster in) the US, observed Bicol’s slipper lobsters are even sweeter than those from Maine. Its texture, too, is softer than the more popular red lobster.
Uni et al
Aside from lobsters, you can also splurge on uni, abalone when in season, and crabs, including curacha–and have all these delivered to you. The uni is especially addictive!
It really is an indulgent spread … from shore to door! It doesn’t get more luxurious than this fine seafood fiesta of lobsters, uni, curacha and abalone.
Now where’s that bottle of Veuve Cliquot?
Lobster House Manila
For orders call landline 5051474; mobile
0917-5032860. For inquiries e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Three days notice for orders. Aquarium may be used for minimum order of of 3.5 Kilos.
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