By John Paul Briones
Food does more than just fill our stomach and provide for us our daily nutritional needs. Comfort food or exceptionally awesome, great tasting food can transport us to places we’ve never been before. It can shed away all our worries giving us that much needed motivation to go on with our otherwise routine, mundane life.
This is why many of us look for something special to treat ourselves with once in a while so we can get that boost, recharge our senses and have enough energy to face all the challenges in life. Specialty dishes like barbecued ribs, flavorful pasta dishes and fresh seafood. Unfortunately, for most part, these specialty dishes and delectable food items can be very expensive.
But what if I tell you that there is a place here in Cebu where you can find all these and you don’t have to spend your entire week’s pay to cover the bill? No, I am not pulling your leg, this is no tall tale, I am serious, this is real. For soul filling tasty dishes that come at really awesome prices come follow me and let’s Surfin’ Ribs, dude!
Surfin’ Ribs is a food stall found inside Sugbo Mercado IT Park. Like most stalls in Sugbo Mercado it is family-owned and operated. It started in Escario with a restaurant that offered Ribs and seafood at amazing prices and full fabulous flavors that attracted a lot of guests. Word of mouth led to many new and returning guests and in no time at all, they opened a branch in Banawa, then a stall at the original Sugbo Mercado in IT Park.
Surfin’ Ribs is a pioneering stall in Sugbo Mercado and they raked in good business with their mouth-watering ribs and creamy pasta dishes. Surviving Sugbo Mercado is no small feat, the stall saw many other ventures open and close through the years but because of their mantra for great tasting dishes at really affordable prices, Surfin’ Ribs met the many challenges of a start-up concept restaurant head on and survived to tell the tale.
Endearing couple and close friends of mine, Raymond and Sharon started Surfin’ Ribs when they were still newly-weds, their eldest son a mere toddler and their new born twins adorable infants. Surfin’ Ribs became their new baby and like any other new couple, they strived to keep their family intact and happy. Starting a new restaurant is quite the challenge, but Raymond and Sharon knew this was their passion and they persevered.
Both were culinary students, both hardworking and both naturally talented in food and flavor. With their secret recipe BBQ sauce, more and more customers came especially since they were not charging an arm and a leg for their dishes.
In Sugbo Mercado, Surfin’ Ribs, one(1) order of Ribs and a cup of rice is but a mere P 135.00 For an added pasta side dish, you just need to pay and top up P 80.00. So for a total of P215.00 you have one full meal of pasta, ribs and rice. They also have an option of Ribs and Pasta for only P 195.00.
Surfin’ Ribs for the couple is a serious family affair… the recipe for the ribs is a collaboration between Raymond and his friends and the Bobby J Spicy Crab is actually his dad’s recipe. Yes, Bobby J is Raymond’s dad and their passion for delicious food runs in their veins.
Sharon’s mom provided the origins for their world-famous Surfin’ Shrimp that’s cooked with garlic butter sauce and the baked penne was a staple at Sharon’s family’s get together soirees before it became public. They like to have friends and guests over in their house and many prodded them to share their recipes for so long until they finally decided to open their first restaurant.
In 2016, Raymond brought in his sister Lovely and her husband to help them manage the stall and overall operation. This family run operation can sometimes sell 500 pieces of ribs in one night especially when the call centers around the area decide to bulk order and buy their ribs by the dozens.
Other pasta dishes served at Surfin’ Ribs include a mind-blowing Chicken Cordon Bleau penne dish with white sauce and a penne pesto infused recipe that is to die for. Both dishes are Sharon’s recipes and to date they are served by the hundreds on a daily basis.
The ribs are quite exquisite because they are cooked three times. That is why when you eat them they literally fall off the bone and melt in your mouth with that all too heavenly goodness. The ribs are cooked in batches in huge pots and boiled for over two hours. Then they are grilled with a special baste that adds a new dimension to its BBQ flavor. They are put in display and once the customer chooses it for their consumption, they are cooked one final time with their choice of sauce – original or spicy.
This masterful execution of skills and combination of cooking methods gives you a perfectly cooked baby back ribs that is tender and crunchy at the same time. And the sauce… oh the sauce, not the sauce, yes the sauce, OMG the sauce!!! Whew!
You know what? It’s time for me to stop talking and time for you to go to Sugbo Mercado and check out Surfin’ Ribs. Sugbo Mercado in IT Park is open from Thursday to Sunday from 5:00pm to 12:00 midnight. See you there and happy surfin’, dudes.