Thursday, June 12, 2014

LuzViMinda a celebration of the Filipino Cuisine

The Executive Chief Eater & The Executive Chef 

Filipino Cuisine has a very rich history and the beauty of it is that is has so many influences and so many variations that has come to the more than 7000 islands in our country.  I myself, am a witness how my favorite Sisig is prepared and done differently in Pampanga, in Cebu and in Gen. San.  There are times when I crave to go to Cebu to get a taste of the famous Cebu Lechon, at the same time I want to go back to Gen San to taste the freshest Tuna Sashimi I’ve ever tasted.

The Gigantic Yellowfin Tuna guards the food 

Fortunately, F1 Hotel Manila started LuzViMinda to promote our rich Filipino Cuisine.  Now on its second year, LuzViMinda – Ikalawang Serye gathers together different Chefs from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to showcase their talents in whipping up the best of the best of what their islands have to offer.  Led by F1 Hotel's Executive Chef Sau del Rosario, I must admit I learned a lot from him and from other Chefs about Filipino cuisine which made my eating much more appreciated. Lets take a look at what they have prepared for our Filipino people.

We all know that the Maki is of Japanese descent. This time around, the Luzon Chefs created the Bagnet Dinuguan Maki a fusion of the Japanese dish with Filipino creativity. Obviously the Dinuguan created the coloring of the Maki which adds curiosity to how it was done. On the other hand the Bagnet , an Ilocano delicacy, is partnered with the mango to give this new concoction a very sumptuous taste.

If the Luzon Chefs created the Bagnet Dinuguan Maki, the Visayan chefs on the other hand came out with their own version with the Tinapa and Salted Egg Maki. This is a personal favorite of mine and I liked the combination of the Tinapa and Salted Egg which made me get more since i enjoyed its heavenly taste.  

Mindanao Chefs on the other hand made use of a famous Gen. San resource as the Seared Tuna and Mangosteen reduction was a thing of beauty. Imagine putting the Tuna at the middle of two watermelons, marvel at the imagination of the Chefs.

As far as I know there is scarcity of seafoods in Luzon but that does not deter Luzon Chefs from creating a masterpiece. Here is the "Kinunot na Pagi" which as a kid I loved eating in the streets. I must admit, Hotel food tastes really better and it leaves a lasting impression on you. As they say there is always a sting when you eat a stingray!

I don't know where i got the idea that the Visayan dish Balbacua is a fish dish. I might have confused it with something else. Chef Editha Singian explained to me that the Balbacua actually comes from the Oxtail. She also added that sometimes a lot of budget conscious Filipinos use boiled pig knuckles as an alternative. 

Another one of the inventive recipes of the Chefs from Mindanao is the Crispy Catfish salad.  When they say crispy it really is and it really makes you want to come back for more.

This was the dish I was dying to taste but for uric acid purposes, my inner self took the best in me and told me not to do so.  Just look at it, the assortment of the way these oysters were done. Luzonians did the "Pako" version while the "Inasal" version which is distinctively Visayan is how our southern brothers made them while the "Pineapple salsa" version is how they do it in Mindanao.

This is another exciting dish and as my friends say, my favorite. Ceviche or "Kinilaw" as we know it is highlighted through three different versions depending on which island you come from. The "Bicolano Kinilaw", the Visayan "Nilagpang Tuna" and the Mindanao's "Dabaw Kinilaw." If you were to ask me what my favorite is, I would say ALL!

Here is another popular dish done in three ways - the Sisig. The first sisig featured here is how the Kapampangans do their popular dish - the Pork Sisig. The picture in the middle is the Visayan's Chicken Inasal Sisig. Lastly, the Gen. Santos City version of Tuna Sisig is the picture  to the right. As I mentioned, one dish three versions.

A lot of desserts were on hand but I started out with one of my all time favorites - the Puto at kutsinta. As you can see there is no more need to partner it with Dinuguan since in itself the puto was so tasty and the violet color makes you wonder if Barny also likes to eat this.

Now this is just showing how Visayans mix and match food.  The result of their experiment is the Ube Otap Tiramisu. Otap,  is the most popular  pasalubong when someone comes home  from Cebu while Tiramisu is a famous Italian dessert. If you mix the two then here is the result - a very yummy dessert.

As Chef Victor Barangan said, the most pictured food is Mindanao's crowning glory - the Durian Panna cotta.  Another ingenious dish which is a masterpiece as the Chef used the young durian as a vessel of the panna cotta. I must admit I am quite amazed by it.

Now if you want to try this buffet and celebrate our Independence with a hearty meal, then go to F1 Hotel Manila at the Fort. The hotel is located at the 32nd St. just in front of S & R and St. Luke's Hospital. The restaurant is at the third floor of the F1 Hotel Manila. LuzViMinda 2  a celebration of Filipino Cuisine will run from June 12 - 26, 2014 so lets go back to trace our Filipino roots by going to the F All day dining restaurant to let your native tongue feast on the best of Filipino cuisine.