Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sooo Pinoy: Rediscovering the Filipino Cuisine

In line with the growing demands of diners for different flavors and food preparation they end up dining in non-Filipino restaurants. Now with Unilever Food Solutions advocacy Sooo Pinoy, they wanted to bring back diners to the authentic Filipino home cooking and to promote culinary tourism here in the Philippines.

With this project, they will empower small karinderya up to the large scale Filipino restaurants as they promote regional cuisine with a touch of modern cooking to make it more appealing to the younger crowd. I was fortunate to join the Sooo Pinoy Food Tour with Unilever and fellow food aficionados as we go deep in the taste and flavors of Filipino cuisine as it reflects the cultural heritage, and regional influence.

 (Adarna's Seafood Special - clam, fish and shrimp in tomato olive sauce)

The tour started at Adarna Food & Culture, a restaurant located at Kalayaan Avenue in Quzon City that serves regional cuisine with a modern touch while diners enjoy the post Spanish up to the 80’s ambiance of their restaurant. The name of their restaurant is based from the magical bird “Ibong Adarna” which part of the Philippine literature. It is owned by business partners Beth Angsioco and Chef Giney Villar.

(Kabigting's Halo Halo - pastillas de leche, helayang beans and cream of corn topped with shaved ice)

Kapampangans or those fellow Filipinos living in Pampanga became known by their creativity in terms of food especially desserts. They are popular with pastillas de leche which is the main ingredients of Kabigting’s Halo-Halo that originates in Arayat, Pampanga which is made from carabao’s milk. While Nathaniel’s Bakeshop a popular San Fernando restaurant opens its store in Timog Avenue in Quezon City and now offers puto pao and their famous ice cream like buco panda salad.

(Nihayah Halal Food's specialty)

In terms of cultural influence on both local and foreign aspects, Quiapo Manila offers a wide range of restaurants, food and novelty stores that shows how diverse Filipino culture was. Nihayah Halal Food near the Manila Golden Mosque (Globo de Oro) offers authentic Maranao cuisine with their natural spices to bring out the flavor in the fish, beef and chicken dishes that they serve.

(A warm hopia can kick that blues away)

While on the other hand. Chinese brings a bigger impact to the daily diet of every Filipinos even in celebrating most of the occasions. Master Hopia Factory Inc, one of the bigger wholesale and retailer of hopia products in the country expanded their flavors from monggo and pork alone to wider variety of options to cater the demands of their buyers. While Excelente Chinese Cooked Ham gives as reasons on how we should enjoy Christmas and New Year with their perfectly marinated and cured hams that is a must on every tables during holidays.

(A bowl of Cafe Adriatico's Sinigang na Bangus brings comfort to a restless body)

Laslty, Café Adriatico shows us how we enhanced Spanish-Mediterranean to make it more inclined to the Filipino taste. The ambiance of their restaurant may be more of the Spanish feel but you may notice the Filipino touch in most of the details and of course their menu.

The Sooo Pinoy campaign will help the country as it promotes our own cuisine by means of social media and database which is needed to in promoting culinary tourism. It is not only about food but it is about the Filipino culture that mostly linked to foods because of our beliefs and traditions. The advocacy is headed by Unilever Food Solutions and invites everyone to share their experience and photos of what they call Filipino cuisine from restaurants, karinderia and even the food made by their moms to Sooo Pinoy Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SoooPinoy).

Check out more photos here...

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