Among the seafood restaurants in the culinary capital of the Philippines: Pampanga, The Orange Bucket stands out. Not just with its bold orange color and distinct use of bucket but because of the dishes they serve and different dining experience they offer. It does not come as a surprise then that it earned recognition in a span of one year. The latest recognition it received is the Seafood Restaurant Star Brand Seal of Excellence from The Philippine Social Media Awards last August 25, 2017.
Keeping its branding coherent, The Orange Bucket has vibrant orange walls. The left wall features an eye-catching blue cushioned crab accent that gives diners an idea of what to order. Meanwhile, the use of picnic style tables suits the dining experience they provide.
The dining experience whereby diners eat with their hands is inspired by US-based Boiling Crabs. We, Filipinos, surely don’t have a difficult time adjusting to this kind of eating as we are accustomed to it. After all, eating with one’s hands makes food not only easier to eat but tastier.
Customers, who don’t want to eat with bare hands, can eat with the plastic gloves provided by The Orange Bucket. Plastic bibs are also provided to prevent messy splatters sticking to one’s clothes.
CRAB AND CORN SOUP, PHP 180 (or USD 3.5)
If you just want something to warm your tummy before you dive into sumptuous seafood, this is good enough. We just didn’t find this as satisfying as we had hoped as it lacks crabmeat taste. Also, instead of shredded carrots, it would be better if they utilized corn kernels since it is a crab and corn soup.
THAI SPRING ROLLS, PHP 180 (or USD 3.5)
Fresh spring rolls are among my favorite appetizers of all time and I’m glad they have one of these. Their version comes with various vegetables and plump shrimp wrapped in a light rice wrapper and placed on a bed of Thai sweet chili sauce. Me-An didn’t like it as much as I do because she feels that the sweet chili sauce has a sour vinegar taste to it. Anyway, each piece is actually big and tastes well for me.
ROSEMARY ROASTED CHICKEN, PHP 580 (or USD 11.24)
Surprised to see a nonseafood dish in their menu? So am I, but that’s where the Fusion restaurant part comes along. According to the owner, Pampangueños look for varieties in food when they dine in restaurants.
This whole roasted chicken may look out of place in a dominant seafood place but it earns its spot on the menu. The rosemary and other spices give out a pleasant aroma to the roasted chicken and the meat itself is really juicy and tender. Steamed vegetables served on the side complement the chicken nicely. The gravy used is pretty average but, nonetheless, the whole dish is a winner for me.
BEEF BULGOGI, PHP 450 (or USD 8.72)
Don’t be surprised as well if you see a Korean classic dishes at The Orange Bucket. The proprietor previously acquired Crowing Chicken.
The Korean favorite Beef Bulgogi has glass noodles, carrots, some sesame seeds, and, of course, the beef itself in Korean BBQ beef marinade sauce. For the most part, it tastes very much like the Beef Bulgogi I remember with its sweet and savory taste. We just find it to be a bit sweeter than we would have liked.
WHOLE SLAB OF BABY BACK RIBS, PHP 895 (or USD 17.34)
This may look like an ordinary piece of mouthwatering ribs at first look, but its sauce is actually imported all the way from the USA! As such, the ribs are lip-smackingly delicious in its own way. The sauce smothered in it has both a smoky and sweet taste. Indeed, it is not just all about the sauce. The rib itself is quite tender on its own once separated from the ribs. I say you give this a try especially when you’re allergic to seafood because it is surprisingly really good.
SEAFOOD BUCKET, PHP 1199 (or USD 23.23)
One of the reasons why you should definitely visit The Orange Bucket is their seafood. If you want variety, go for their seafood bucket which has 300 grams of each crab, shrimp, and mussel and has some corn cobs served in a plastic bag placed in an orange bucket. The seafood is boiled in their Cajun-style blend of spices and is tossed in one’s choice of their signature seasoning.
We had the cajun seasoning in a mild version which perks up the flavor of the seafood without overpowering it. As for the seafood themselves, the shrimps taste good. The mussels are small so you’ll only get tiny munches of it. For the crabs, which we learned was sourced from Bataan, for us (since we live in Metro Manila) is thinner than what we normally eat. Its legs have little to no meat. And, when I use the crab claw cracker, the claws are brittle that I ended up cutting the whole claw instead. Despite it, the crab’s body is enjoyable to eat especially with the Cajun seasoning.
That may not sound so well for some. However, if you consider the price they are selling their seafood, it is actually a really good deal given that their seafood is tasty. Their shell cracker also looks cute so you may find eating crabs more energizing.
PATBINGSOO, PHP 230 (or USD 4.46)
The Orange Bucket’s patbingsoo, or red beans shaved ice, doesn’t only have red beans. It also has other generous toppings of fruits, cereals, and even with Chapssaltteok which is Korean-style mochi. This is a cool and blissful dessert that will give a sweet ending to your visit to The Orange Bucket.
The Orange Bucket Menu
Love The Orange Bucket
If I have to summarize the Orange Bucket in one phrase, it’s that it’s more than just seafood. For a restaurant that looks like it focuses on a single niche, it actually offers a lot to the table literally. Although the Cajun blend that distinguishes it is made from authentic spices, the fusion dishes doesn’t lag behind in terms of value and taste. Overall, it really is a solid dining experience, especially when enjoyed with one’s loved ones or friends.
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The Orange Bucket Cajun-Fusion Restaurant
Era Zone Bldg. Kalahi Business Road, San Isidro, City of San Fernando Pampanga.
Operating hours: 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM from Mon. to Thurs. and 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM from Fri. to Sun.
New branch: Mega Tree Suites, 3-G-I Teodoro St. Balibago Angeles City.