Sooo Pinoy: Appreciation of Filipino Cuisine
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Sinigang was crowned as the favorite dish across the nation in last year’s Sooo Pinoy Campaign.
Once upon a time, my daughter owned a photo gallery. It must have been there since the year 2001. We all shared photos to friends and relatives abroad . One of my favorite was the Pinoy Food gallery because of the appreciation and wonderful feedback from visitors here and abroad. The popularity of the gallery prompted me to start this blog, the Pinoy Food blog (named changed to Pinoy Dining), first to talk about simple Pinoy dishes such as kakanin, sinigang, pasalubong and other dishes. It became a hit that readers clamored for recipes which again inspired me to launch the Pinoyfoodblog.com .
It took a stranger or a lonely balikbayan or OFW to make me appreciate our Filipino cuisine even more. Whenever I post dishes of local restaurants, many can’t wait to try it out. Our local cuisine is teeming with unique dishes and world-class culinary delights that is not fully explored. Imagine if many of us can help drum up interest in the richness of our local culture as expressed through our food. I don’t think the Philippines hold a food festival. Having been sent twice by the Singapore Tourism Board to participate in their yearly food festival makes me long for a similar event here.
The good news is there seems to be a growing interest towards Philippine cuisine. A movement that began in 2010, Sooo Pinoy focused on increasing Filipinos’ appreciation for local dishes. The movement is an initiative of the Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) to help spread the love of true Filipino flavors. By engaging both food businesses and diners, the movement enables people to learn more about Filipino cuisine and how it contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the nation’s identity.
The Sooo Pinoy movement intends to be bigger and better by improving local restaurants to create unforgettable dishes that their customers will be proud to proclaim as truly Pinoy. Food bloggers were given a treat to seven local restaurants and food stops that spotlight the creativity of Filipino chefs, and upholding the legacy of local cuisine and our local delicacies.
There were seven stops in all but let me just give you an introduction to each stop since I will be writing more about them in separate blog entries.
The first stop was lunch at Adarna Food and Culture, a restaurant in Kalayaan Avenue, Quezon City that celebrates Filipino culinary heritage by serving historical, regional and heirloom recipes in a warm and elegant and homey setting. I love this restaurant. One really feels at home here with sooo Pinoy dishes that are based on the accounts of old family cooks, descendants of families with culinary traditions and old Flipino cookbooks.
A Sooo Pinoy favorite in my table is the “Adobong Batangas” which taes three days to make. I think it is because adobo tastes better as it ages.
A pasalubong stop at Nathaniel’s in Timog avenue is surprise find. I never knew this place existed. Nathaniel’s originated from San Fernando, Pampanga and is known for its frozen buko pandan, puto pao and other Pampanga delicacies.
Halo-halo stop at Kabigting’s halo-halo in Amoranto St. (formerly Retiro) is a new find too. This typical small town halo-halo stop from Arayat, Pampanga has now made it in Manila. The owners said the Manila branch is just two months old. Their halo-halo is made only with three major ingredients: cream of corm, haleyang white beans and their homemade pastillas made from Carabao’s milk.
Our fourth stop was food tasting at Nihaya Halal Food in the Muslim Town in Quiapo. I was beginning to get full at this point but managed to taste a bit of the halal dish served such as kilawin (yellow fin), beef rendang , Tilapia Inaluban, Atay papar, and Badak.
Excelente Ham is just walking distance. I have always wanted a taste of all sorts of cooked ham since readers often ask me about choices for their noche buena.
Buying hopia is something my husband (ex-boyfriend) and I did during our college days. The Master Hopia Factory makes traditional hopia with kundol, monggo or baboy filling.
Ahh, I will always remember Cafe Adriatico. It is an old style restaurant at the corner of Remedios Circle in Malate which was founded by Larry J. Cruz in 1979. During the late seventies, there were not many romantic restaurants. Even with our meager school allowance, my ex-boyfriend and I would drive or take a cab just to have a drink or two under the dark and cozy setting.
Their Knock out knuckles aka Crispy Pata is well, a knockout. It is a bit spicy than usual .
I brought my husband along to this food trip because based on experience, I always get full half-way along a food tour. Guess what? I wasn’t that full but my husband complained that he was too full to appreciate the Knock Out Knuckles. We can come back again for a dinner date.
One thing for sure is we will continue to embrace our local cuisine and hope to travel more around the Philippines to explore different tastes.
To be one of the advocates for Pinoy Cuisine, visit www.facebook.com/SoooPinoy. Sooo Pinoy feeds your national pride through the appreciation of Filipino cuisine. Learn more about their history and discover where to find the best Filipino dishes. Ang sarap maging Pinoy!