THE monthlong culinary bonanza Flavors of the Philippines (FOP) highlighted the varied cuisines of all members of the Asean in a culminating event held over the weekend at the Ayala Malls Vertis North Open Parking in Quezon City.
The four-day event, organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT), in partnership with Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), featured many popular Filipino chefs, restaurants and hotels who served Pinoy favorites and their best interpretations of regional cuisines at the Asean Food Festival 2017, which started on May 10.
“Events like these further establish the country as a vibrant and flavorful culinary-tourism destination and promotes Southeast Asia as one must-visit food destination. The theme is also perfect to show the region’s unity in celebration of the golden anniversary of the Asean,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon T. Teo said in a statement.
Celebrity chefs like Rob Rob Pengson served Cambodia- and Brunei-inspired cuisines; Myke “Tatung“ Sarthou whipped up Malaysian and Singaporean; and Gene Gonzalez cooked dishes of Myanmar and Laos. Capampangan dishes were also offered by chefs Claude Tayag, Vincent Garcia and Gonzalez.
Wild Ginger, a well-known restaurant in the Metro offering Southeast Asian delights, served up dishes from Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, while Shirley’s Authentic House of Curry offered Malaysian cuisine. Hotel partners Seda Vertis North and Berjaya Makati Hotel also cooked authentic Philippine and Malaysian dishes, respectively.
“This event featuring the region’s diverse cuisine aptly promotes the Asean’s vision of achieving unity through diversity. The Asean golden celebration put the spotlight on the region’s best 50 festivals and 50 most unforgettable travel experiences, with the premium on the culinary experience the region has to offer,” Teo added.
For his part, Sarthou, chef-patron of Agos, a Filipino-Spanish restaurant, explained: “Asean cuisine is very sophisticated. It’s very difficult to put your finger on a certain characteristic. We use the sameingredients, but the results and the dishes turn out differently. That’s what really is beautiful about it.”
Pengson, meanwhile, said: “Asean cuisine is vibrant with strong flavors and strong umami taste as compared with the Western dishes, which could be our edge and the selling point of the region.”
During the food event, Philippine delicacies and pasalubong were also brought in by DOT regional offices from Ilocos, Zamboanga, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) and Mimaropa (Mindoro Occidental and Oriental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan).
Flavors of the Philippines was a month-and-a-half-long cultural and food festival that celebrated the evolution, heritage and diverse offerings of Filipino cuisine. Activities included tutorials in native cuisines, local food festivals, gourmet fairs, dining with celebrity chefs, specialized menus in restaurants, roving food trucks, food tastings, bar crawls, cook-off challenges, food bazaars and farmers’ market tours set in captivating destinations. There were also activities that enabled participants and guests to immerse themselves and interact with local communities during these food trips.
The highlight of the FOP was the three-day Madrid Fusión Manila in April, which brought in Michelin-starred chefs from all over the world, who, along with major Filipino chefs, spoke and presented the latest food trends in the world.
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