Tasting Tradition: Cordova’s Nilarang na Bakasi

Photo by whologwhy -, CC BY 2.0,

When it comes to street food, the third class municipality of Cordova is among the frontrunners. Its well-known delicacy—the Linarang na Bakasi (tiger reef-ill stew) – offers foodies a tasty, ready-to-eat meal that is both filling and economical.

The sleepy town broke out in the global food scene when the famous Linarang na Bakasi got featured on Netflix’s Street Food Asia Series. The series also covered street foods in Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, India, Japan, and Thailand.

What is nilarang?

Also called nilarang or larang, linarang is a Filipino fish stew that originates from Central Visayas. The stew is prepared with small eels, then cooked in spicy coconut milk. Ingredients include broth with tomatoes, garlic, shallots, and others. Cebuanos use different fishes in cooking linarang, but often, the main ingredient is the reef eel, which are fished from the reefs of Cordova.

Entoy’s Bakasihan version

The best “Linarang na Bakasi” in Cebu is cooked by Florencio “Entoy” Escabas and served at Entoy’s Bakasihan. The eatery overlooks the peaceful and picturesque Kamampay Beach in Barangay Buagsong, Cordova, Cebu.

The Escabas family caught and sold eels in the 1980s before opening an eatery in 2002.

The delicacy, believed by avid foodies as an aphrodisiac, has long been famous in Cebu, but Escabas took it to the next level.His cooking perfectly captures Cordova’s rich culinary history and inspired others to follow suit.

Annual Dinagat Festival

One of the highlights of the annual Dinagat Festival is the tasting of different varieties and cooking styles of nilarang na bakasi. A visit to the town would not be complete without tasting the famous dish.

A Legacy

Although the Escabas patriarch passed away in 2020, his family vowed to continue serving the dish to patrons and to honor this culinary tradition in the town of Cordova.

Nilarang na bakasi dish is more than just food. It has become a tradition in Cordova, bringing pride to the town since it was first cooked.

When everything gets back to normal and we are allowed to travel again, don’t forget to include linarang na bakasi in your “must-eat list” when you visit the Queen City of the South!

How to get there

Traveling to Municipality of Cordova from Cebu City will take an hour or a couple of hours, depending on the traffic. The travel time, though, will soon become shorter when the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway is completed. The toll bridge expressway that will link Cebu City and Cordova is estimated to be completed by the third quarter of next year.

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