Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Clusters of Islands, Collections of Flavors: F1 Hotel Manila Offers Dishes from All Over the Philippines

Chef Dennis Uy’s pork humba from the Visayas
The month of June proves to be glorious if you’re into Philippine cuisine as there are more dining outlets offering local dishes in celebration of the anniversary of the declaration of Philippine independence on June 12. Many of these are hotel restaurants, and all of them have their own interesting takes. Some feature familiar dishes with modern twists, while others focus on a particular region. Some stick to the traditional, while some serve the classic favorites.
One outlet to try in this month of Filipino food is F All-Day Dining of the F1 Hotel Manila at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City. Last June 8, the restaurant formally opened its “Luzviminda 5: Gastronomical Fusion” food festival with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by the hotel’s director of Sales and Marketing Cindy Brual with the Department of Tourism’s Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre, Philippine Economic Zone Authority director general Charito Plaza, chef Nancy Lumen and Miss Philippines-Earth 2016 Loren Mar Artajos.
As the name suggests, the portmanteau of the three island clusters of the Philippines, the food festival presents samplings of dishes of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao on its buffet spread. This is the fifth year of “Luzviminda” and it is steadily gaining following.
Every year, the hotel features different chefs to interpret Filipino dishes, and this year it has Mikel Zaguirre (of the new restaurant Locavore) to do the Luzon cuisines; Dennis Uy of Meximama for the Visayas; and Kalel Chan of Museum Café, who will take on Mindanao dishes. These chefs work with the hotel’s executive chef Decker Gokioco, but they have a free hand on how to present their menus.
For his dishes, Zaguirre carefully researched heirloom recipes and made little adjustments for the modern palate — a little updating. Luzon dishes are characterized by the use of coconut milk, especially in the southern part, and the penchant for a variety of tastes such as sweetness, saltiness and sourness.
Uy, who gets culinary inspirations from his travels around the country, tends to blend different flavors, but mainly sticks to the classic recipes. He likes traditional dishes plated in modern and innovative ways.
Being an island groups itself, the Visayas is known for seafood and the use of ginger to temper the lansa (fishy aftertaste). But its pork dishes are outstanding, such as Uy’s cochinillo de Cebu and pork humba, a perennial favorite. The humba here is exemplary, very classic and very tasty. The pork is so tender that the meat shreds as you scoop it out of the pot, blending with the dried banana blossoms. There is a right amount of sweetness and saltiness.
Although not from Mindanao, Chan took on the challenge of learning and cooking the island’s dishes, researching and asking friends. He got to play around with different spices as the dishes make use of them more than the dishes from other parts of the Philippines.
One must try the Mindanao dishes, most of which are unfamiliar to Metro Manilans and not available in Metro Manila, such as the delectable piyanggang manok of the Tausug, which is chicken marinated in burnt coconut meat, turmeric and coconut milk; and tiyula itum, another Tausug dish of beef in soup spiced by turmeric and burnt coconut meat.
Overall, modern culinary techniques and technology are used on traditional recipes, resulting in livelier flavors and attractive presentations. Fusing is also used, adding another dimension of cooking Filipino food.

The “Luzviminda” buffet spread is offered from June 9 to June 30, for lunch and dinner at P1,699 nett per person. Get 40 percent off when you use a Maybank Credit card. It is in partnership with Destileria Limtuaco, Masflex, Top Chef Enterprise, Onesimus, Raflora, R. Lapids, Aging’s Food Delight, D’ Original Tablea De Alfonso, Bestworld Beverage Brands Inc., The Crescent Moon Café, Eurobake Original Inipit De Leche, Figaro Coffee Company, Golden Wines, Jalees Farms, Titania Wine Cellar, Hogsmith Aprons, Maybank, Foreign Post and Cook magazine. For reservations and inquiries, call 908-7888 or visit www.f1hotelmanila.com.

Guest chefs Mikel Zaguirre, Dennis Uy and Kalel Chan
Chef Kalel Chan’s chicken piyanggang from Mindanao
Chef Mikel Zaguirre’s adobong short ribs sa gata from Luzon
The opening of ‘Luzviminda 5’ at F All-Day Dining of F1 Hotel in Taguig City

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