After years and years of wondering if it’s gonna open again after it ceased operations almost 10 years ago, Bariles just learned that General Santos City’s most famous panciteria during the 70s and 80s is back!
In the 70s, Ceballo’s Kitchenette used to stay at the lot now occupied by the four-storey building which houses the Land Bank of the Philippines branch along Pioneer Avenue. Then in the early 90s, it transferred to their property at the Osmena South Avenue where it stayed there until it closed shop before the start of the new century.
But now, it is back bearing two names (!) , the original Ceballo’s Kitchenette proudly displayed at its frontage and M. Ceballo Mini-Restaurant found at small menu tarps inside its new “hole in the wall” location beside the Iglesia ni Cristo along Aparente Avenue in Purok Malakas, Barangay San Isidro. Later, Bariles found out that apparently, M. Ceballo is a daughter of the original owners.
Ceballo’s served only pinoy noodles or pancit during its heyday. Bariles remembers that his dad used to take him there on special occasions to feast on their fragrant, saucy and delicious pancit canton or pancit guisado. At times he would dine there with his high school classmates on their heavenly lomi.
[quote1] Every plateful is served to them straight from a large giant cauldron placed over a big black burner which was visible through their small window behind their cashier counter. Each dish is cooked separately so waiting time is about 15 minutes which, is actually immaterial once you get to partake of your orders, piping hot!
If there is one comfort food for Bariles aside from Joan’s Bakeshop’s SIOPAO, then this is it! So imagine how he felt when driving near the Satellite Wet Market of Purok Malakas, he saw that Ceballo’s Kitchenette has risen from the ashes!
The dining area is quite small this time, about 2 meters wide and 7 meters long which is just right for 5 small tables. Anyway, Bariles and the two girl friends he invited over to try Ceballo’s immediately ordered what he came there for with this menu tarp below as their guide. He was pleased to know that everything in it is basically the same menu fare at the old Ceballo’s of long ago.
Bariles settled for Pancit Canton Guisado (Chicken) while his two companions, Sheila and Chessy opted for Bijon Guisado (Chicken) and Lomi.
After about 20 minutes, their orders arrived one after the other….
First was the Lomi.
The Lomi at P25 was a steal. It was served steaming in a bowl filled to the brim. Chessy swears that it is one of the best she has tasted so far in her life and she didn’t even have to season it with black pepper or soy sauce. It was already flavorful at the very least.
Then came Bariles’ order, the PANCIT CANTON. This was how it looked below…
Ceballo’s Pancit Canton Guisado which was priced at P75 even tasted better than it looked and smelled. After a spoonful of its tender but firm noodles drowned in thick tasty sauce, memories of the old Ceballo’s kept pouring into Bariles’ mind. Yes! It is the same Ceballo’s pancit canton he has grown to love. And the quite crunchy meatballs which they prepare themselves still stole the show along with the chicken bits and veggie trimmings.
Now for the last part, the Ceballo’s Chicken Bijon Guisado for Sheila.
This time, the taste was still spectacular as much as Bariles could remember it. However, he felt that the noodles were too thin and less full-bodied than it should be. Perhaps they could get another brand for this dish. But then again, at P75, you still get your money’s worth since it was one delicious gigantic serving. For Sheila, it was one great meal!
The trip to the new Ceballo’s Kitchenette was well worth it for Bariles and his companions. Mentally taking note of the other dishes in their menu tarp, he swears that he will be back and this time, he will try his father’s favorite, their CHOPSUEY.
Nothing really beats roaming the streets of GenSan and discovering small culinary gems like Ceballo’s. Makes one proud of the city’s varied fare which has something in it for everyone.