One of the best parts about traveling to a new country is the opportunity to try different food. Different nations each have their own cuisine and a unique way of preparing, cooking, and presenting their dishes. You get more than a taste of a delicious delicacy; it is also a peek into that country's heritage and traditions.
That is why many Filipinos miss traveling. But with safety concerns keeping borders on a tight watch, it might be some time before people can freely travel again.
In the meantime, there is another safer way to travel, and that is through the treasure trove of international cuisine already present in the Philippines.
Presented by SM Supermalls, ANC offered viewers a taste of the world through ANCX The World on a Plate.
In this show, viewers got to travel with their taste buds to Hong Kong, Japan and Greece, all without leaving the country.
Traveling the world with your taste buds
There is a lot to unpack about Japanese, Cantonese, and Greek cuisine as each is special and unique in its own right. To start, ANCX The World on a Plate's first destination is Greece.
Over at The Podium is where you will find Greek cuisine served specifically for Filipinos in Souv! By Cyma.
Filipinos will find a kindred spirit in Greek cuisine as both countries are archipelagos that rely on the sea and mountains. The Greeks are known for putting a premium on light and fresh dishes with basic yet delicious flavors.
''There is what we call the island Greek flavor and then there is what we call the mountain Greek flavor. The basic flavors are olive oil, lemon, oregano, and salt and pepper. They work on the ingredient itself. Nothing complicated. You will not find butter and then not a lot of heavy ingredients. It is just very light and fresh,'' shared Robby Goco, the Executive Chef and Owner of Souv! By Cyma.
Chef Goco himself went to Greece to learn Homestyle Greek cooking and came back to establish Cyma, the more traditional restaurant, and its more progressive little sister Souv!
"Great food is a right, it is not a privilege. It is food that comes from the heart. It is food that is so natural without coating, without any heavy flavors. The natural taste of the ingredient is still above everything," Chef Goco added.
Japan is a well-loved culinary destination for good reason. Its cuisine is known for freshness, purity, and simplicity. They always strive for excellence in everything they do, even up to a dish's presentation that has been given much thought.
Still in The Podium, diners can find a whole new sushi experience in Sen-Ryo. This restaurant offers authentic Japanese cuisine combining the freshest ingredients, traditional techniques, and modern technology. Everything from the rice to the shoyu and seafood is flown in fresh from Japan.
"Personally when I go to Tokyo, some sushi restaurants are quite intimidating and, of course, very expensive. Sen-Ryo has the quality of the premium restaurants but at a fraction of the price," said the CEO of Sen-Ryo Philippines Eric Teng.
While Japan is known for its age-old cooking traditions, it is also a land of food innovations and progress.
An example of this is MOS Burger. In 1972, a Japanese man was inspired by American burgers and returned to Japan to put up a hamburger shop with products specifically fine-tuned to the Japanese palate. In the Philippines, you can find a MOS Burger store in SM Megamall where it strives to give the local market a real Japanese experience.
3. Hong Kong
Hong Kong-style roast is a must-have for anyone visiting the country for its succulent, flavorful meats. If this is something you miss on your travels, then you might want to check out the Manila store of this Michelin-starred restaurant in SM Megamall.
Kam's Roast comes from generation after generation of a family's proud culinary tradition. It offers affordable luxury and prides itself as one of the few legitimate roasting places from Hong Kong, so it will not be difficult to imagine yourself strolling along the streets of Kowloon savoring siu mei.
Its roast duck alone takes weeks to properly prepare and its roast pork has a particular and meticulous way of preparation.
While each of the previously mentioned culinary destinations has its own style of cooking, fresh and specialized ingredients are a common theme among them.
Restaurateurs have also placed much importance on having a safe dining destination.
A safe dining destination
While traveling to these culinary destinations may not be a possibility right now, the next best thing is to travel with your taste buds.
Guests can find an array of delectable dishes such as the ones mentioned in The Podium and SM Megamall.
SM aims to help Filipinos travel with their palates by offering a wide selection of restaurants – from Asia to Europe – in a space where they can feel comfortable. Both malls have outdoor and open-air dining options to provide the restaurant experience with as few risks as possible.
The malls and restaurants also implement contact tracing, temperature checks, and disinfection materials for guests. Restaurants are also prioritizing vaccinating their staff to further promote a safer dining environment.
While home deliveries and takeout have provided a means for restaurants to survive during these difficult times, one of the best ways to get that gourmet experience is to be inside the restaurant - taking in the special ambiance, conversing with the staff, and eating your meal fresh from the kitchen.
To know more about how you can travel the world with your taste buds, catch ANCX The World on a Plate on ANC. To know more about SM Supermalls, you can visit its website and follow @smsupermalls and @smmegamall on all social media platforms.