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Benoks: Innovating Lomi, Chami and More

Food aficionados in Lipa City will be privy to the existence of this small but excellent restaurant called Benoks at the Fiesta World Mall in Marauoy, a suburb of the city. Although the mall does not quite these days occupy the same esteemed position in the city that it once used to enjoy, there are still plenty of reasons to go. Benoks is one of these.

In a manner of speaking, Lipa lomi is formulaic. It has to have miki noodles, slices of liver, kikiam, meatballs and quail eggs swimming in thick broth. These are the basics as served by lomi hauses around the city. Each lomi haus innovates with an additional ingredient or two to gain competitive advantage over others; but the basic lomi is more or less the same.

Benoks offers Lipa lomi the way it is served elsewhere in the city. However, it innovates by also offering it with a choice of toppings. Customers may opt to top their bowls with lechon, chicken, asado or liver; priced comparably with the lomi served in other hauses.

This is not to say, though, that Benoks is just a lomi haus or a panciteria. It is not, as its full name states: Benoks Lomi Haus and Fastfood.

While aside from lomi, there is indeed a choice of other noodle-based delicacies, Benoks also offers familiar Filipino delicacies as short orders: sisig, lechon kawalî, asado, pork chicharon, chop suey, crispy pata and pork, beef and liver steaks. It also offers a variety of meals for those with tight budgets.

Among the restaurant’s bestsellers, though, is the sweet-and-spicy chami, topped with a viand of the customer’s choice. For those who may not be familiar with chami, this is for all intents and purposes the lomi but sans the broth. There are those, in Batangas, who actually explain the chami as the ‘dry lomi.’

At Benoks, the chami is not merely innovative; it is downright delicious. It is no wonder that it is among the restaurant’s bestsellers.

Perhaps, one indication that Benoks is a hit at least among the locals is that, although the restaurant is not airconditioned – it has ceiling fans, though – it competes favorably with a renowned and fully airconditioned fastfood joint quite close to it.

For those who wish to get a taste of the Benoks experience, apart from the Fiesta World Mall restaurant, there are branches in Barangay Inosluban and another one close to the Lipa City Cultural Center. The restaurant also delivers orders by phone.

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