Flavors of the Philippines at the Asisa Madrid Fusión 2017

The world is indeed taking notice of the Flavors of the Philippines, and this is particularly true this 2017 when Filipino celebrity chef, restaurateur and author Chef Tatung Sarthou was invited as a presenter at the Asia Madrid Fusión 2017 held last January in Madrid, Spain. Guided by the theme What was lost is found: re-discovering Pre-hispanic Filipino Cuisine, Chef Tatung presented the Flavors of the Philippines in their traditional and unaltered form.

Not resorting to the fad of fusion cooking, Chef Tatung highlighted the importance of not altering Filipino cuisine to become too fancy, complex or complicated. Chef Tatung advocates Filipino cuisine as a powerful driver of tourism in the country, and he sees tourism as an opportunity for livelihood for every Filipino. Keeping the cuisine simple and traditional, makes it a sustainable product to replicate. There is consistency in food identity so that the adobo that a Korean will taste in Manila will be the same adobo that a Japanese will taste in Davao.

In a lunch event hosted by Chef Tatung held at Agos Restaurant (SM Mall of Asia), members of the print and digital media were given the chance to sample some of the dishes served by Chef Tatung in his two nights dinner engagement during Asisa Madrid Fusion 2017. Here are some of the Filipino dishes well loved by the Spanish diners:

Lumpiang Sariwa - This is one of my favorite Filipino dishes which Chef Tatung gave a more colorful presentation while maintaining its taste profile. The filling is made of shredded fresh ubod (heart of palm) mixed with minced shrimps. The usual pale yellow colored wrapper is given a light green shade with hints of pandan flavor. The lumpia is placed in a bed of peanut sauce spiced up with garlic and anato oil.

Kinilaw - Being a native of Cebu, Chef Tatung naturally selected the Kinilaw as one of the dishes to be showcased in Madrid. Marinading fish in vinegar is one of the earliest form of cooking in the Philippines, and this is well documented by the Spanish colonizers. Some authors even claim that the Kinilaw of the Philippines is a culinary tradition much much older than the Ceviche of South America. The dish served in Madrid was made with tuna marinated in Filipino-made white vinegar and mixed with lime juice, pomelo, ginger, onion, and seasoned with salt, sugar and sliced chili.

Chicken Kaliya - One of the reasons why I admire Chef Tatung is his passion to introduce the cuisine of Mindanao which, until now, is still very foreign even to Filipinos. In Madrid, this Tausug dish from Sulu was given a world-wide audience. The key ingredient is the pamapa which is a mixture of ginger, lemon grass and burnt coconut, which is then pound to create a coarse powder. The chicken is then marinated in a paste mixture of pamapa, oil, coconut milk, chili and seasonings. Finally, the chicken is grilled until cooked. The dish is served with the thick gravy and best paired with steamed rice.  

Sisig - Finally, the dish which placed the Philippines in the world culinary map, the famous sisig of Pampanga is given a colorful presentation. The usual sisig was made more delicious by using lechon de leche giving it a more crunchy yet less greasy texture. It is then served in a cup of lettuce together with julienned purple cabbage and crispy strings of taro for added crunchy texture.

Hotels near Agos Restaurant
Conrad Manila
Pasay City, Metro Manila
a luxury hotel located at the Mall of Asia (MOA) complex in Pasay City, Metro Manila. The hotel opened last June 15, 2016 which marked the entry of the inspired luxury hotel brand of Conrad Hotels & Resorts in the country. The property is owned by SM Hotels and Conventions Corp and is managed by Hilton Worldwide.

Hyatt City of Dreams Manila
Parañaque City, Metro Manila
business and leisure travelers arriving in Manila will be pleased to know that airport hotels are now reachable in as short as three minutes, such as the Hyatt City of Dreams Manila, a luxury hotel set in the world-class City of Dreams Manila integrated resort and casino

Midas Hotel & Casino
Pasay City, Metro Manila
a deluxe hotel featuring 227 well appointed guest rooms and suites. The hotel is conveniently located along Roxas Boulevard, near the corner of EDSA, and right in between the Japanese Embassy and San Juan de Dios Hospital. The iconic building was designed by National Artist Architect Leandro Locsin

The Henry Hotel Manila
Pasay City, Metro Manila
a hotel with rich history, place identity and character, originally built in 1948 as a residential complex consisting of individual houses in an architecture typical of post-liberation Manila era

Hotel Jen Manila by Shangri-la
Pasay City, Metro Manila
a 312-room first-class hotel located on Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, right across the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), with some of Manila's top historical and heritage sites, as well as entertainment, retail, and conference & exhibition facilities located nearby.

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