Food & Drink

Like a Rock Star, Filipino Food Is All Set to Go on a Culinary World Tour

2017 is a big year for Filipino cuisine.

Similar to rock stars on world tours, Filipino food is going on two culinary tours this year. The Cultural Diplomacy Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs is putting together one in Europe and another in North America and aims to present the best of Filipino cuisine internationally. The first tour, Kulinarya: A Guide to Philippine Food, ventures to London, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Berlin under the guidance of chef Myrna Segismundo, known for her passion for traditional Filipino cooking.

Chef Myrna Segismundo talks about her plans for the tour

During the announcement of the tours at Purple Yam Malate in March, Segismundo apologized for her late arrival, saying she had taken time to pick fresh fruit from her backyard to use in the tangy and unforgettable guava and kamias pepper jelly served with crunchy biscocho and adobo pâté she prepared for her guests. The kinilaw sours and Batangas tamales with latik, suman haba, and manga torta de tablea schooled even us locals on various new ways to present traditional food.

Amy Besa welcomes guests

For the year's second tour, Purple Yam’s very own Amy Besa and chef Romy Dorotan take the reins as they travel through New York, Seattle, Chicago, Toronto, and Philadelphia from September 15 to October 10 with the Hidden Flavors of the Philippine Kitchen tour. They'll be sharing the knowledge and know-how necessary to create cab-cab with Berkshire pork Bicol express (Besa confirms that yes, Berkshire pork native to the English county of Berkshire is available here in the Philippines. Who knew?); an innovative take on Pancit Malate, which uses sotanghon, shrimp, and squid with coffee gata sarsa; and the best homemade ube ice cream made that you will likely ever taste.


Of the tour, assistant secretary Maria Teresa C. Lepatan of the DFA says, “Food has the inherent ability to bring people together." And with this, the department hopes that the tour will introduce Filipino cuisine, cooking traditions, and mainstream Philippine flavors to the world.

World Finalists

On the same day as the food tour launch, chefs Gene Gonzales of Café Ysabel and Tonyboy Escalante of Antonio's made it to the finals of the 21st World Gourmet Awards of Excellence. Gonzales told that “Having been given this honor reinforces my commitment to putting Philippine cuisine and the Filipino chef on the world map of gastronomy.” 

Chef Gene Gonzales

Chef Tonyboy Escalante

Nobu Special Menu

Japanese restaurant Nobu Manila at City of Dreams pays homage to local cuisine by releasing Filipino-inspired specials available until June 30. Its special menu includes palabok variation with udon noodles, uni palabok sauce, and tiger prawns. The movement, helmed by chef Michael de Jesus, showcases Japanese-Peruvian cuisine with a Filipino twist. A sushi dish topped with local whitefish incorporates a thoughtful douse of adobo sauce on its fish. A wagyu beef short rib kare-kare anticucho that peruses baby bok choy and the ubiquitous bagoong fearlessly make its debut on the menu. After tasting the kurobuta and foie gras sisig sandwiched in sweet bread and served with Yuzu soy sauce, one will dream about the dish for the next few days.

Nobu's take on palabok

Kurobuta & foie gras sisig

Selection of Filipino-inspired sushi

Wagyu beef short rib kare-kare anticucho

The timely undertaking of this novel menu is in sync with Flavors of the Philippines, the annual gastronomy festival put together by the Department of Tourism and the Tourism Promotions Board. The beguiling dishes were also given the seal of approval by fellow Nobu chefs from international branches during a recent gathering. 

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About The Author
Hannah Lazatin
Senior Staff Writer
Hannah is a communications graduate from Ateneo de Manila University. She’s originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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