Not everyone is a fan of goat meat. I have encountered more people, in fact, who consider this only as good for “pulutan” (i.e. something to be eaten as accompaniment to drinking alcohol), and not as “ulam” (viand). And in a way this is understandable, since goat meat is somewhat tricky – e.g. if the goat’s too old, the meat can be rubbery; and if the preparation isn’t done properly, the meat itself can be “mapanghi” (stinky/bear that stench as if someone peed).
So it’s somewhat surprising seeing how well-liked goat meat is in General Santos City in southern Mindanao; perhaps particularly in Kambingan ni Kap.
This is an “upgraded” “karinderya” (eatery) – that is, this is not a fancy place, as eateries are, but filled with wooden and plastic tables and chairs, and walls even made from wood/cement/“kawayan” (bamboo) combination. I was told that in the past, it was an open-air venue; but as it became more popular, the owners decided to “close” the place for air-conditioning (this is where the “upgrade” happened). Alas, since the place is quite big, though, don’t expect the place to get cool/cold…
The system’s also a combination of serve-yourself and wait-to-be-served – that is, when you enter the place, look for an available table (don’t wait to be seated), then (perhaps after leaving your stuff to “book” a table) head to the counter to make your order, and then (after paying) return to your table to wait for the food you ordered.
Having said this, the waitresses are… casual. Don’t expect smiles to be given around; they’re just there to give you your food, then leave to do the same to more customers. Must always be a long day for them, so…
But of course people come here for the food; and here, the place doesn’t disappoint (mostly at least).
Growing up, my Dad would cook “kalderetang kambing” (stewed goat); though often, this would be if there’s a party at home, and him and his friends would have this as “pulutan”. Now at Kambingan ni Kap, apparently, goat meat can be cooked in just about every way there is – from “kaldereta” to “adobo” to “sinampalukan” (with tamarind broth) to “papaitan” to “kilawin” and so on…
I tried the house specialties “kaldereta”, “sinampalukan”, “adobo” and “kilawin”.
The “kaldereta” was so-so; perhaps because – as the woman behind the counter said – the meat they received earlier that day wasn’t of a very young goat. There were, therefore, some chewy meat included in the serving I got (instead of the melt-in-your mouth meat if the goat’s young). It also didn’t have as much veggies included, though of course this is to do with this place being an eatery (and cutting costs is the norm to up the profit).
The “sinampalukan” was surprising for me. Yes, it could perhaps do with more “sampalok” (tamarind), though maybe that’s just me and my preference for something more sour; but the soup wasn’t bad at all, with the broth not only “capturing” the sourness of “sampalok” but also the body of the “kambing”, so that it even appeared hazy, and when sipped, was “malagkit” (sticky). Added with “kalamansi”, this one’s particularly good with rice… or with beer.
The “adobo” mostly used “kambing” meat that was well chopped – it reminded me of (GASP!) dog meat. This became eating this quite tricky, since now and then, you’d have to spit out some bone pieces. The taste? It’s okay, I suppose… though if only you can enjoy it instead of worrying about some bone pieces you may end up biting.
The “kilawin” was as it should be – well-cleaned, and served with “silk” (chili). Yes, there are parts that are gummy (again, as the woman said, maybe because of the meat they got that day), but this one’s also good with rice and, yes, beer.
Some things to note, however:
- Per (small) serving here can be costly (over P100), which surprised me considering: 1) this isn’t a metropolitan place; 2) this isn’t even prepared in a fancy way; and 3) the servings can be small… Alas, I think, the notion here is: “The buying won’t stop anyway”.
- Also, as repeatedly stressed, this is a “karinderya”, so they cook en masse (not per serving). Meaning, as soon as they open, and when there are many customers coming in, they could immediately run out of stocks (so you could end up getting what’s just left there). So if you’re really interested, try to come early (11:00AM or so).
Now, if you aren’t keen on eating “kambing”, then avoid this place (obviously). But for the curious (and if you wanna know why THIS place is particular is popular), then head here.
Kambingan ni Kap is located along Casquejo St., General Santos City, South Cotabato.