Had an interesting experience this evening. One of the vendors I'm meeting here has a rep who has been here often and is on more of the adventurous side. So, when he told me that we need to go out to eat at this "different" kind of restaurant, I was a bit concerned.
My concerns were a bit abated when I was introduced to their driver, a hulk of a Filipino man if I ever saw one. He was at least 6' 5'' and he was introduced to me as 'Hercules'. That was his REAL name and it was aptly given. We got into his Expedition (which is a monster of a car on this side of the world) and began our trek. We drove down the main drive for a long while, passed the US Embassy, the waterfront, and began to enter a more seedy side of town. While we drove, Hercules let me know a little about it. His unofficial title is "client ambassador", which means he helps hosts clients in from out of town - he is also a driver and a bodyguard for the bigwigs when they are in Manila.
We finally got to the restaurant, which looked more like a seafood market than anything else. There were seating areas, and a kitchen area, as well. Fish, Clams, Crabs, etc. etc. were all out packed on ice. Additionally, there were numerous tanks of fish and some of the largest lobsters I have ever seen. Lastly, there were these little versions of shopping carts. We had entered "The Seafood Market and Restaurant".
Here's the deal. You pick what you want to eat, you tell them how to cook it, and they serve it to you. It's that simple, especially when you have a Greek Hero to help you. Hercules walked up to the lobster tank, grabbed one by the antennae things and hauled in out of the tank. The next thing I know, they were putting him in a plastic bag and into our cart. Hercules then proceeded to pick out clams, vegetables, fish, and shrimp. As I taunted a jumbo crab, he asked if I wanted it and I politely declined.
We went to our seating area (which ended up being a private room in the back) and enjoyed Mango shakes until the food came. First the clams in a soy sauce, then the vegetables, then jumbo shrimp tempura, lobster (Filipinos serve it cut up - shell and all - and stir fried with a chili powder), fried rice, and the fish. We finished the meal with some fresh mango.
The meal was absolutely outstanding and the company interesting. All in all, a great time.