The Filipino Kitchen
Savour the Flavours of the Philippines across the regions, one plate at a time
Comprised of 7,641 islands, wherever you go in the archipelago, there is definitely a speciality dish or two to satiate your appetite. The Philippines is a melting pot of various cultures; the culinary scene, as vibrant. “Food is one of the ties that bind Filipinos with the rest of the world. It is through food that we discover more about our heritage and our culture. It is with food that we welcome our visitors and give them a peek into the heritage and culture of the Philippines,” said the Department of Tourism Secretary, Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo. It is this same thrust that brought the Flavours of the Philippines to life.
Now on its third year, Flavours of the Philippines continues to present the country as a foodie haven with recipes passed on through the generations, traditional fare and innovative cuisine. This year's recently concluded month-long festival featured exciting gastronomic events such as fiestas, culinary tours, special dinners, exhibitions, cook fests and bar crawls in different venues across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. “Through Flavours of the Philippines we are able to promote Philippine cuisine and the talents and creativity of our Filipino chefs; highlight our agricultural products, ingredients, gourmet products and culinary tours; and showcase Manila as a centre for cuisines of the world with many acclaimed foreign chefs opening up restaurants in the metro,” shared Department of Tourism Director Verna Buensuceso. This year's Flavours of the Philippines highlighted unique local cuisine using ingredients from the
Food is one of the ties that bind Filipinos with the rest of the world
country’s bountiful land and seas across the regions. The standalone festival also coincided with the muchawaited Madrid Fusion Manila 2017, an international gastronomic event that showcases some of the world’s most talented chefs.
Among the highlights of this year's Flavours of the Philippines were special events and menu offerings across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. In Luzon, different provinces participated through street parties and food exhibitions. More than 30 different bangus (milkfish) recipes from various countries were presented at Bangusine as part of the Bangus Festival in Pangasinan. Bangusine played an avenue for learning the many ways of cooking the Philippine National Fish. On top of that, about 23,000 pieces of milkfish were simultaneously grilled during a street party graced by local performers. Besides the Festival de la Paella Gigante in Makati City, a giant bringhe (a local version of Arroz Valenciana) with a diameter of 15 feet was prepared by four Capampangan culinary icons led by the famous chef Claude Tayag and food historian, Lilian Borromeo in Pampanga, one of the culinary capitals of the Philippines. In Quezon, an event entitled Makulay na Pamana ng Quezon Kulinarya, offered shots of lambanog (coconut wine) paired with a degustacion spread of heirloom recipes. Further south, the Naga City Arts, Culture and Tourism office held the Kinalas Y Kinolor, an event that combined culinary and visual arts in true Nagueño fashion. The local comfort food called kinalas mami (noodles) was served in bowls handpainted by Bicolano artists.
The Visayas also actively participated in the
nationwide food festival. In Negros Occidental’s annual Panaad sa Negros Trade Fair, an entire alley was dedicated to local fare that included chicken inasal, grilled seafood (shellfish, scallops and oysters that are abundant in the area), laswa (vegetable stew) and other specialities, alongside a colourful presentation of individual festivals from the 13 cities and 19 municipalities that comprise the province. More culinary delights from the region were showcased at Sabores de Visayas 2 and Capiztahan 2017.
Moving on to Mindanao, Zamboanga’s curacha (spanner crab) took centre stage at Savores Year 2, an event held at Paseo del Mar that featured the unique gastronomy of the peninsula, which is known for having strong Muslim and Tausug influences. From the City of Golden Friendship Cagayan de Oro, the local favourite, humba (a slow cooked dish almost similar to the Filipino adobo) was served in different ways in member establishments of the Cagayan de Oro Hotel and Restaurant Association.
The gastronomic journey was not just about events and festivals. In Metro Manila and other key cities, participating hotels and restaurants also created special menu offerings to celebrate Flavours of the Philippines— from sisig (a dish made from pork cheeks and liver, usually seasoned with calamansi and chilli peppers) and halo-halo (a popular shaved ice dessert) to sinigang (traditional sour soup) and lechon (suckling pig), and a lot more.
Culinary tours were offered by local tour operators
Through Flavours of the Philippines we are able to promote Philippine cuisine and the talents and creativity of our Filipino chefs
in the National Capital Region, the Cordilleras, Mountain Province, Pampanga, Quezon, Cavite, Bicol Region, Cebu, Bohol, Davao and Zamboanga. “This year we have also flown in various international tour operators interested in running culinary tours to meet with Philippine travel trade partners, to attend some of the Flavours of the Philippines events and to do familiarisation trips of various culinary tour packages of the country. We envision culinary tourism as a new product that will help promote Philippine cuisine to the world. By creating an interest in our cuisine, we also hope that this will be another motivation for travellers to visit our shores,” added Buensuceso.
While the Philippine islands are separated by bodies of water and cultures and traditions vary in every corner, there are two things that unite the country—the warm hospitality of the Filipinos and flavourful cuisine that is truly world-class.
CLOCKWISE One of the Filipinoinspired specials at Nobu Manila is the Kurobuta and foie gras sisig pica pica; Tapas Night featured a fusion of Spanish cuisine using locally sourced ingredients; crunchy boneless
dilis is one of Via Mare's offerings for the festival
CLOCKWISE: The giant paella is a celebration of harvest and community, which showcases the rich and varied flavours of the Philippines; Manam's pancit sisig is a fusion of the traditional Filipino noodles and the popular meat dish from Pampanga; curacha is one of Zamboanga's culinary treasures
FROM TOP: Fish kinilaw is a popular dish in the Visayas and Mindanao; the chef Chele Gonzalez served his version of the Filipino street food kwek kwek during the 10 hands dinner at Gallery Vask
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The chef Margarita Forés, chef Miko Aspiras, Mielle Esteban of Arum Spain, and chef Jordy Navarra; Bacolod's chicken
inasal; Locavore's take on the Filipino favourite, monggo soup; Nobu Manila's version of halo-halo