Chefs Tristan Encarnacion, Victor Barangan, Editha Singian and Sau Del Rosario. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA -- Top chefs representing Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao have teamed up for this year's LuzViMinda food festival, the annual culinary event of F1 Hotel in Taguig.
Chefs Tristan Encarnacion (Luzon), Editha Singian (Visayas) and Victor Barangan (Mindanao) join F1 Hotel’s celebrity executive chef Sau Del Rosario, who hails from Pampanga, for LuzViMinda 2014, which runs only until June 26 at the Bonifacio Global City hotel.
These chefs wowed a group of food writers with their interpretations of the most popular dishes in their respective regions at a recent tasting held during the Independence Day break.
For example, Encarnacion, the consulting delicatessen chef at Epicurious at Shangri-La PLaza, presented dishes like the Sinaing na Tulingan, a simple and straightforward dish popular among Tagalogs.
Ilocos Empanada. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com
The Ilocos region was also represented by Ilocos Empanada with its trademark orange wrapper and garlicky longganisa, while Bicol cuisine was exemplified by the Kinunot na Pagi or stringray in a spicy coconut sauce.
The flavors of the Visayas islands were ably captured by Singian, who, while not being Visayan, considers the region -- and Cebu in particular -- her second home.
For the festival, Singian prepared dishes such as the Mango-Stuffed Lechon Belly, with the pork delicately flavored by the sweetness of mangoes, a testament to it.
Mango-Stuffed Lechon Belly. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com
She also showed interesting interpretations of dishes like the Pochero Bisaya, which featured kalabasa or pumpkin as a binder instead of the usual tomato sauce or banana, making the dish creamy and different.
The same can be said about the Visayan dish, Balbacua, tender oxtail braised in tomato sauce that melts in your mouth.
For his part, Barangan, who works at the Marco Polo Davao, was under a lot of pressure given Mindanao’s spectacular effort in last year's festival.
Crab in Alavar Sauce. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com
He did not disappoint with dishes such as the sinfully delicious Crab in Alavar Sauce with deep-fried crabs smothered in a rich sauce of aligue, coconut milk and red bell pepper notes.
He also offers an interesting dish called Paklay, a melee of pork innards and vegetables that had quite an exotic kick; and the creamy Cassava Soup, which is somewhere in between soup and dessert.
The Mindanao table also came up with its version of lechon but using tablea as stuffing. The slight bitter bite of tablea went well with the pork.
As a play on the LuzViMinda theme, the chefs also came up with three versions of popular Filipino culinary staples.
Chicken Inasal Sisig with Kornik. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com
For sisig, Luzon had the traditional Pampanga pork sisig, while Mindano featured tuna sisig to represent General Santos City. Of special note was the Chicken Inasal Sisig with Kornik from the Visaysas, a great bite with the gingery notes of inasal and the texture and saltiness from the kornik.
Del Rosario also showed us Three-Ways Kinilaw at the press tasting. The Luzon kinilaw had a Bicol twist with coconut milk and calamansi, the Visayan kinilaw had pinakurat, mangoes and lemon grass, while the Mindanao version had tablea, white cheese, ginger and dayap.
Inasal Oysters. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com
Oysters three ways was another fun concept explored with Pako Oysters and Pineapple Oysters from Luzon and Mindanao respectively. Tucked away in the hot section was Visayas’ version, Inasal Oysters, which had a great anato taste.
The Japanese maki was also Filipinized with offerings such as Luzon’s Bagnet Dinugan Maki and the Kami and Green Mango Bagoong Maki. Both makis work as dinuguan and bagoong respectively was used to flavor the rice, instead of the usual rice wine vinegar.
Bagnet Dinugan Maki. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com
The Tinapa and Salted Egg Maki was an interesting combination as the itlog na maalat made the dish unique, while the Chicken Inasal and Quesong Puti Maki can be paired with a little wasabi and soy to add zing to its subtle flavors.
No Pinoy feast can be complete without dessert and F1's spread had Filipino favorites and some rather unusual fare.
The Luzon station had freshly cooked Ube Palitaw and Tablea tartlets. From the Visayas, the Ube Otap Tiramisu was excellent, marrying purple yam, coffee and mango with the crunch of the otap in a bite. Doña Editha’s Pudding was bread pudding cooked like leche flan with a walnut to finish.
Durian Panna Cotta. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com
Mindanao’s dessert selection was a showcase of the region’s top fruit produce with Durian Cheesecake, Durian Panna Cotta and the Mangosteen Parfait, both bestsellers from last year, enjoying a welcome comeback.
Once again serving the Durian panna cotta in a young durian shell was a feast for the eyes, the tastebuds and the nose for the durian lovers.
New desserts from Mindanao include the Malagos Tablea and Peanut Butter Pie, which was delightful as it tasted like Chocnut in a pie.
This year, art is also celebrated with the food with an exhibit of paintings from various Filipino artists, the proceeds of which will go to the Kythe Foundation for the benefit of children suffering from cancer and chronic illnesses.
Bonifacio Global City