Many of the Filipinos know “dampa” to be a marketplace for the freshest of seafood, with a lineup of restaurants to take your shopped goods for immediate cooking and dining experience. Most of these dampa are found around the country, but none in the Province of Tarlac because of its location – no coastal area.
With this, Ms. Teresita Mallari, a pure-bred Tarlaqueña, thought of bringing the same food-shopping and dining experience to Tarlaqueños who crave seafood at its finest and within the luxury and comfort of their own province. She established Dampa sa Tarlac in San Rafael, Tarlac City, along the national highway.
Dampa sa Tarlac offers a variety of seafood, fresh from Pangasinan and Bataan. From tiger prawns to salmon, from male, female and gay crabs to oysters, from lobsters and scallops, the seafood counter, creatively named Turo Mo Lulutuin Ko (Pick it out and I’ll cook it), awaits customers craving for Kapampangan, Ilocano and Tagalog cuisines. Among the popular dishes on this counter are the Buttered Garlic Shrimp, Chili Garlic Shrimp and Sweet and Sour Lapu-Lapu.
Ilocano cuisine is highlighted in the Dinengdeng Station, where fresh organic vegetables are ready for cooking; where grilled fish and pork barbeque are offered; and where bagnet is within reach.
For customers under a certain budget but with big appetites to satisfy, Dampa sa Tarlac has the Fastfood Station, an eat-all-you-can buffet area with at least 15 dishes to choose from for only Php195 and below. Parched? The Coco Shake Station awaits you! Have their staff prepare you the freshest of fruits for drinking.
Dampa sa Tarlac is open to customers who wish to hold all kinds of gatherings and occasions. Behind the two enormous native-inspired dining halls, called Kusina 1 and Kusina 2, are 8 nipa huts that sit around an event center, spacious enough for 400 guests.
During the weekends, the event center, when not catering to occasions, serves as a hangout place for Tarlaqueños who wish to chill while listening to live band. Dampa sa Tarlac serves beer and liquor, as well as a wide selection of pulutan.
The Province of Tarlac may not be a province that boasts seafood as its main product, but it sure can boast a seafood restaurant that caters to local taste! So the next time you visit or simply pass by, try Dampa sa Tarlac for one of the best shopping-and-dining experiences you will ever have!