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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
A PERSONAL REVIEW OF RESTAURANTS AROUND THE WORLD

CHOMORRO HOUSE
SAIPAN
COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANAS
U.S.A.
SADLY - NOW CLOSED.  SEE BOTTOM.

It's hard to find a true example of the local cuisine which is called Chomorro and the Chomorro House is the place on the island to give it a shot.  It's located in downtown Garapan, Saipan's "big" city.

What is Chomorro cuisine?  Well first of all, let me explain what the word Chomorro means.  It translates into "we have" and it is used to describe the local island residents.  These people are thought to have migrated to this part of the world from the Malay Peninsula several thousand years ago.  Chicken is a prime ingredient in Chomorro cuisine and so is coconut, coconut milk and fresh seafood including fish and octopus.  Beef is also popular.

For my meal I chose the fried fish.  Most mainland Americans think of fried fish as filets breaded and deep fried.  But on Saipan and in most of the world, fried fish means the entire fish fried whole.  They just scale it, marinate it, dust it with a little flour and fry it.  When my fish arrived at the table I immediately knew what kind of fish it was.  It was definitely a parrotfish.  I could tell by it's beak.  Whenever you see parrotfish on the menu, you can be assured that it is very, very fresh.  The flesh doesn't last long.  Mine was excellent and was served smothered with interesting greens.  I have no idea what they were.  I've never seen anything like them but they were quite tasty.  And the fish had an interesting sauce served on the side.  My wife tried the shredded beef in coconut milk.


Our Charming Server!

The Chomorro House is a small restaurant with a small hotel attached.  Our server was nothing short of outstanding.  A very friendly chap who had come from the Philippines to work in Saipan.  And he told a funny story.  After applying for permission to come and work in Saipan, he didn't know much about the place at all.  The one thing that stood out in his mind was that it was, indeed, the United States and he equated the U.S. with cold and snow.  So he went out and bought a warm winter coat and took it on the plane with him.  He said he was shocked to look down on final approach to the airport and see loads of palm trees!

As I mentioned, the Chomorro House is located in downtown Garapan and it's surrounded by shops.  It is the best place to get a taste of the local cuisine on the island and we highly recommend it to you.

Note:  One of our readers informed me in December of 2003 that the Chomorro House is now closed due to the economic downturn.


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