While I’ve been around the entire summer, my last hurrah was right around Metro Manila. The Department of Tourism invited me to partake in the media tour of Kulinarya Kalayaan, which celebrates our 114th Independence Day this June 12, 2012. Read more…
Kulinarya Kalayaan is a joint initiative by the Department of Tourism and the Hotels and Restaurants Association of the Philippines. It showcases hotels and restaurants that have set up a special selection featuring Rizaliana and other Filipino dishes.
For two days, all we did was eat. While it sounds like a dream come true, I was worried by the pounds I gained. I wasn’t complaining though, as we discovered some really good food and places that are surprisingly found just around the Metro.
Our first stop for the first day was Century Park Hotel for lunch. From June 10-20, 2012, their Café in the Park is giving a gastronomic journey through Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s life. What’s unique about their selection is that they’re incorporating food from other countries where our national hero went, so there aren’t only Filipino dishes but also international ones.
Served to us that day were ginisang monggo at tinapa (sautéed mung bean and smoked fish) from the Philippines, moules a la mariniere (mussels in white wine) from France, seafood crispy noodles from Hong Kong, and cocido mardrileno from Spain.
Café in the Park has lined up lots of other dishes from other countries also, like Germany and Belgium, to feature in the festival. These dishes are highlighted in their extensive lunch and dinner buffet, that’s only 1,215 PHP net per person.
Must-try: What I liked best was the cocido madrileno, a tasty clear-broth stew with tender beef, chicken, sausage, and chickpeas. Century Park Hotel, Pablo Ocampo St., Malate, Manila.
We then went to C2 Classic Cuisine at Robinsons Place Manila for a taste of their reinvented Filipino fare. Our friends from the Cravings Group have two participating restaurants, C2 and Casa Roces, that are both featuring their Rizal-inspired favorites.
That afternoon, we sampled their famous tinolang binakol (chicken in young coconut broth), chicharon munggo with crispy paksiw (sautéed mung beans and pork rinds with fried fish), sotanghon guisado (sautéed glass noodles), bibingka soufflé (fluffy coconut custard with sauce), and the delicious turon a la mode (banana and purple yam roll with vanilla ice cream).
Must try: A simple yet tasty combination, the chicharon munggo with crispy paksiw was my pick. C2 Classic Cuisine, Robinsons Place Manila, Greenhills, SM Megamall, Shangri-La Plaza.
Our last stop for the first day was the elegant restaurant Ilustrado in the “walled city” of Intramuros. They’ve put up The Inaugural Feast: A Malolos Heritage Cuisine, which pays homage to the richest town in Central Luzon back in the day. The dishes were impressively relived with the help of Malolos-based artist, historian and food expert Dez Bautista.
We had a taste of their classy tasting menu that included the interesting merienda de prayle (friar’s snack; white cheese with milkfish ceviche), the sumptuous Malolos seafood chowder, pata malolena (braised pork knuckles), pastel de prayle (similar to chicken pot pie), morcon Plaridel (stuffed beef roll), and bringheng Malolos (pre-Hispanic version of paella). For dessert we had Loretto’s leche flan con mangga (custard and mangoes), the interesting senorita guava (caramelized pitted guavas), and dayap with pastillas (lemon with chewy milk candy).
Certainly one of Manila’s best restaurants, Ilustrado is not only serving what we had. Their special menu includes an array of well-executed dishes that I wish I could try another time. The Inaugural Feast is available until July 15, 2012.
Must try: Everything we had was delicious, but if I had to pick one it’s got to be the pastel de prayle because I love chicken with cream. The pata malolena is a close second, though. Ilustrado, Calle Real Del Palacio, Intamuros Manila.
To be continued…
This post would not be as delicious if it weren’t for the photos of Sumi Go of The Purple Doll.