Acclaimed Fil-Am chefs come home to rediscover Filipino ingredients

Written by Portia Ladrido on CNN Philippines

Updated Nov 12, 2019 4:00:11 PM

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — The Farmers Market in Cubao is bustling on a Sunday morning. Filipinos, with their woven baskets or palengke bags, scuttle around the maze of the market, going around the rows and rows of stalls that display a wide range of produce.

The market becomes even more alive as chef Margarita Forés arrives. She is touring Fil-Am chefs Tom Cunanan (the owner of Bad Saint restaurant in Washington D.C.) and chef Grant “Lanai” Tabura (the host behind the show “Cooking Hawaiian Style”), as they have been invited to the Philippines by the Department of Tourism (DOT) for the “Chefs’ Food Trip Project,” a program that seeks to position the country in the global gastronomic scene.

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DOT ups the ante for PHL food, brings Fil-Am chefs to PHL

By DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM – PHILIPPINES

As part of its relentless efforts to position the Philippines in the world gastronomic scene, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has tapped three of the most celebrated US-based Filipino-American chefs to discover their food roots in the country for a three week-long culinary smorgasbord experience.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat says it’s all systems go for the “Chefs’ Food Trip Project” that will commence on Saturday, November 9, 2019. The said project aims to heat up the country’s profile as a culinary destination in the world by tapping into the Philippines’ stable source of gastronomic geniuses starting off with the fast-rising Filipino chefs in the US.

Invited US-based Fil-Am chefs include 2019 James Beard Awards’ Best Chef for the Mid-Atlantic, Tom Cunanan of the famed Washington, DC’s Bad Saint; Charles Olalia, owner and manager of Ma’am Sir, one of GQ’s Magazine’s Best New Restaurants in America for 2019; and chef Grant “Lanai” Tabura, host of food show Cooking Hawaiian Style and winner of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race.

A self-confessed foodie herself, Secretary Puyat points out that “This is the perfect occasion for us to institutionalize Filipino cuisine and flavors that can proudly stand side by side with other cherished cuisines of the world. Going back to their roots will certainly inspire these leading Fil-Am chefs to lend their voices and talent to raise the world’s perception and taste towards Filipino dishes”.

Organized by the DOT in collaboration with three of the country’s leading chefs Margarita Forés, Claude Tayag and Tatung Sarthou, the “Chefs’ Food Trip Project” spotlights some of the country’s renowned culinary destinations in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and will feature respected Filipino food advocates along with their town’s most iconic dishes and heritage cuisine and local produce like Atching Lilian Borromeo, a beacon of Kapampangan cuisine; Bacolod’s eponymous Mang Enting and Ramon Uy, Jr. of Fresh Start Organic Farm; Olive and Rex Puentespina of Malagos Farmhouse; and Davao-based restaurateur Carmina del Rosario of Mindanao Butchers and Company.

The project also includes interactive symposia to be undertaken in partnership with World Food Expo (WOFEX) University, the teaching arm of the World Food Expo (WOFEX), an institution in food exhibitions in the Philippines, that will engage the visiting chefs with culinary tourism stakeholders, students, and food and gastronomy aficionados alike. Dubbed “DOT x WOFEX University Fun Food Talks”, the symposia will be held in Pampanga on November 13, 2019, Bacolod on November 16, 2019, Davao on November 19, 2019 and Manila on November 21, 2019. For tickets and more details, you may call +632 8929-7993, +63 999-888-5000, email at info@peptarsus.com or visit www.peptarsus.com.

Best Restaurants in Manila: 26 Places To Eat & Drink

Featured Content by Travelling Foodie

October 9, 2019

Being the capital of the Philippines, Manila’s food scene is emerging as the hub for food lovers from around the world with over 22,000 restaurants. With this many options, it’s hard to decide where to eat in Manila. In this food guide, we’ve broken down some of the best restaurants in Manila!

One thing I love about being a travelling foodie is learning about a destination’s culture through its food. Besides being a city with rich heritage, Manila has a unique food culture that awes the foodies.

When you visit the Philippines, you’ll quickly realize that Filipinos love to eat! It’s just part of the culture, which is why Manila has a plethora of restaurants that offer diverse world cuisines…

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PCG Calgary Supports Philippine Cuisine Festival Gala

25 June 2019, Calgary – The Philippine Consulate General supported the Philippine Cuisine Festival Gala held on 17 June 2019 at the Winston Golf Club in Calgary. 

Consul General Gilberto Asuque congratulated the event’s main organizers – Diaryo Alberta Society (DAS) and the Philippine & Culinary Federation of Canada (PCFC) – for putting up the event as part of the month-long celebration of the Philippine Heritage Month in Alberta, Canada.

Eighteen (18) Filipino chefs belonging to the PCFC came up with Filipino dishes that were served to about 170 guests in fine-dining style. The Filipino chefs came from various parts of the province of Alberta – Banff, Canmore, Cochrane, Calgary, Strathmore – and from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Quezon City, Philippines.

The Filipino dishes showcased were the following:

Sutukil– A trio seafood dish with yellow fin tuna as the main ingredient and done in sugba(grilled), tula(boiled) and kilaw (marinated in vinegar). This dish is popular in General Santos.

Chicken Inasal with Cucumber Salad– Grilled chicken cooked with calamansi, lemongrass and anatto oil. The dish comes from Bacolod.

La Paz Batchoy– A sweet and salty beef noodle soup popular in La Paz, Iloilo.

Hamonado and Biringhe Bulakenyo –Hamonado is pork meat marinated overnight with sweetened pineapple sauce. Baringhe, popular in Bulacan, is rice cooked with coconut milk and turmeric oil.

Durian Cheesecake– A dessert made of durian, an exquisite tasting fruit that is abundant in Davao.

Mango Calamansi Cocktail– Cocktail drink combining the Philippine mango and Philippine lime.

Sutukil, Chicken Inasalwith Cucumber Salad and La Paz Batchoy (Photo credit: DAS)
Hamonado and Biringhe Bulakenyo, Durian Cheesecake and Mango Calamansi Cocktail (Photo credit: DAS)

The Philippine Department of Tourism-San Francisco was also among the event’s sponsors. 

Consul General Gilberto Asuque addressing the guests at the Philippine Cuisine Festival Gala in Calgary.
Madame Rosalie Asuque and the officers and staff of the Philippine Consulate General in Calgary together with some of the participating Filipino chefs.

Press Release: PCG Calgary

“Proudly Philippines” Brings a Taste of Filipino Cuisine and a Glimpse of Philippine Travel Destinations to Vancouver

15 June 2019 – Consul General Maria Andrelita S. Austria welcomes guests to the opening ceremony of the “Proudly Philippines” Food and Travel Fair, held on June 15, 2019 at the Robson Square, Vancouver, in celebration of the 121st anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence, the 70th year of PH-CA relations and the Canada-wide declaration for the very first time of the month of June as Filipino Heritage Month.

The opening program was attended by representatives from the Canadian government, members of the Consular Corps of British Columbia, business and Filipino-Canadian communities, and media.

Mr. Jason Pires (left), Co-anchor of CTV Morning Live in Vancouver, and Ms. Michelle Eliot, Host of CBC Radio’s BC Today, were the emcees for the opening program. Jason’s mother is aFilipino while Michelle was born in the Philippines.

(Clockwise from top left photo) Member of Parliament for Vancouver-Kingsway Don Davies, B.C. Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston, andVancouver Deputy Mayor Sarah Kirby-Yung were the Canadian officials who graced the event. Philippine Department of Tourism-San Francisco office (PDOT-SF) Senior Tourism Officer Zeny Pallugna delivers her closing remarks. PDOT-SF supported the Consulate in mounting“Proudly Philippines”.

Consul General Maria Andrelita S. Austria cuts the ribbon to officially open the fair, with the assistance of (L-R) Senior Tourism Officer Pallugna, Deputy Mayor Kirby-Yung and MP Davies.

The La Riva Dance Studio and Ms. Sheryn Regis provided the entertainment during the opening program. The La Riva Studios is a family-owned business, founded and directed by Riva Oquendo in 1996, with the goal of expanding the dance community by teaching young children ballroom, hip hop and cultural dances. Sheryn Regis rose to fame during the first season of the Filipino singing competition, “Star in a Million”, and was dubbed the Crystal Voice of Asia by the Philippine local media. Sheryn is now based in the US.

Some of the Filipino-Canadian artists who performed during the day were the Aklanon Sto. Niño Association of B.C., Zambales Dance Group, violinists Kimwell and Grace del Rosario of Rosario Strings., Marife Elsted, Salve Dayao, and BIBAK.

Participating Filipino restaurants Plato Filipino, Kulinarya, Aling Mary’s Bakeshop and Goldilocks provided a taste of Filipino cuisine for visitors throughout the day. Corinthian Distributors and AFOD Ltd., two of the biggest Canadian importers of Philippine products, share their booth with Seasia Foods Ltd., and Rumtels Solution Inc., as well as Philippine exporters, Mama Sita, Paradise Fruits Corporation,Loobi Canada Inc., and Mega Global Corporation to highlight Philippine products already available in Canada. Also joining the event were various Vancouver-based enterprises owned by Filipino-Canadians, such as Kape, Kasama Chocolates, Bukobaba Essentials Inc.,La Glace, FlipSide Desserts, and, Filipino franchises, Max’s and Potato Corner.

The Philippine Department of Tourism-San Francisco office led travel agencies, (clockwise, from top left photo) New Millennium Holidays, Tourmasters Travel, Maligaya Travel, and Aling Mary’s Travel &Tours, as well as Philippine Airlines, in enticing visitors to the Philippines. The DOT’s photo booth, provided by Lucky Studios, was a highly popular attraction for the guests.

In addition to food and travel, “Proudly Philippines” also showcased the work of a group of Fil- Canadian artists (some of the exhibiting artists L-R: Lenore Lim, Tessie Dechupa and Ed Lantin) and photographer Allan Florendo, who presented the Consulate with one of his framed pictures of the Dinagyang festival. KannaNg of Weavinalikewise promoted her mat-woven products.

Press Release: PCG Vancouver

5 must-try delicacies in Vigan

One of UNESCO’s World Heritage Cities, Vigan is acclaimed for being an intact example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia that features 233 historical structures built during the mid 18th to the late 19th century lined up in a grid of 25 streets.   The famous cobble-stoned Calle Crisologo is definitely one of the highlights but roaming around the rustic but elegant streets of Vigan would definitely tire you out. Worry not, here are 5 of the most sumptuous foods from the city of Vigan that will boost your energy fuel.

Pakbet

Pakbet or more known as Pinakbet for people in the South, is also one of Ilocos’s preserved dishes. Vigan’s style of pakbet sets its difference from the Southern’s through adding bitter gourd and excluding squash which is a key ingredient of Southerns. Ilocanos customarily uses vegetables which can be grown from their backyards such as eggplants, okra, string beans, chili peppers, and bitter gourd. If you’re feeling a bit conscious about your health, this is the perfect meal to try out in Vigan.

Royal Bibingka

A sweet tooth must-try, the royal bibingka also made its mark as one of Vigan’s specialties. If compared with the ordinary “Christmas bibingka”, Vigan’s royal bibingka falls short if size were the basis. But, what they say is true, small is terrible. In this case, terribly delicious! The crusty top and the sticky but soft cupcaked-sized body makes up the crowd favorite bibingka. Topped with cheese and butter, you can never go wrong with a Royal Bibingka.

Longganisang Iloko

If you’re a breakfast geek, Longganisang Iloko which is also branded as Vigan Longganisa among locals is the town’s own traditional version of a sausage. A bit plump, full of garlic, and seen as a bit yellowish compared to usual sausages but one small bite can change your life. Filipinos cook them in a pan with a bit of water. After the water evaporates, the longganisa is fried using its own fat and is further fried until it turns slightly brown. It brings out its best flavor when dipped in vinegar.

Empanada

Of course, if you’re in town, you shouldn’t miss out on this one. Found almost anywhere within the crowded plazas of Vigan, Empanada is something Vigan takes pride in. Combining the aforementioned Longganisang Iloko, beans, shredded cabbages, grated unripe papayas, onion, garlic and egg makes up the core of orange-colored Empanada. Sellers make it right before your very eyes which is also another interesting sight.

Bagnet

Traditionally dried under the sun, marinated then deep-fried to make it crisp and tender, Bagnet is recognized as the region’s delicacy symbol. This huge chunk of meat with crunchy golden skin that was fried to perfection can be eaten at any time of the day which is convenient for travelers as it is available basically everywhere. One bite and you’ll get hooked so be wary of this cholesterol-rich slice of heaven.

So, if you’re going to give in on the Filipino-Spanish nostalgia that comes with visiting beautiful Vigan, then we suggest you try these delicacies before packing up your bags to go back home! To learn more about Vigan, just click here!