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It’s no secret that Filipino cuisine is hitting new heights — both on our shores and abroad. Locally, classic comforts such as kinilaw, ensaymada, chicken binakol, and adobo are getting modern makeovers at a myriad of establishments, from ice cream shops to fine dining restaurants to casual cafés. Here are some of them.
Chef Chele Gonzalez may be from Spain, but his “anthropological cuisine” at Gallery VASK is devoted to reviving indigenous produce and bringing them forward with a whiff of fresh inspiration. One of his signature dishes is the Tiradito, his spin on kinilaw, is available on the degustation menu (PHP3,900 for 10 courses; PHP4,900 for 15 courses). In this dish, thin slices of local yellow fin tuna loin are blanketed in a mixture of coconut milk, calamansi, and tabon-tabon, plated with pickled arosep seaweed and finished with the smoke of sampaloc wood.
Where to get this: Gallery VASK, 5/F Clipp Center, 11th Ave cor 39th St, BGC, Taguig; +63 917 5461673.
Photo (above): www.facebook.com/VaskManila
2. Pinoy Eggs
Green Pastures’ Filipino take on Scotch Eggs, Pinoy Eggs (PHP150), is fantastic and makes the most out of some of our best homegrown produce. Laid to rest on a salad of curly fiddlehead ferns is a gorgeous deep-fried mound, which after a cut through the center, reveals a runny duck egg (cooked for a precise five minutes) which is enveloped in a batter that’s spotted with juicy morsels of house-made longganisa.
Where to get this: Green Pastures, 4/L Shangri-La Plaza East Wing, Mandaluyong; +63 2 6543219.
3. Champorado with Dilis Ice Cream
This most unusual ice cream from Sebastian’s works, but it’s not for everybody. Their champorado ice cream (PHP115) is made with real sticky rice which is cooked both in cacao and chocolate. The ice cream, which has a unique chewy texture, is then topped with sweet, salty, and crunchy dillis which has been slowly caramelized in the oven. If you’re pining for more locally-inspired ice creams, they’ve also got an awesome green mango sorbet which is topped with bagoong.
Where to get this: Sebastian’s Ice Cream, G/F Regis Center, Katipunan Avenue, QC; +63 2 4266935.
4. Chicken Binakol
We are all about Purple Yam’s imaginative cuisine which is rooted in Filipino recipes and traditions. The restaurant, which is an outpost of the famed Brooklyn restaurant of the same name, makes a deliciously delicate Chicken Binakol. Their version is refined but familiar — made with organic chicken, soft ribbons of coconut flesh, sweet coconut water, radish, and chicken essence.
Where to get this: Purple Yam Malate, 603 J Nakpil St, Malate, Manila; +63 926 7133523 by appointment only.
5. Ensaymada Smoothie
At Ka Tunying’s Cafe, drinks guru and lover of all things local, Kalel Demetrio, has crafted a slew of beverages that pay homage to our country’s most beloved flavors. The Ensaymada Smoothie (PHP135) is a liquid version of the Pinoy pastry — the blend consists of ensaymada, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese blended with fresh milk and finished off with a drizzle of house-made salted caramel.
Where to get this: Ka Tunying’s Cafe, 88 Visayas Ave, Bgy Basra, Quezon City.
6. Green Mango and Bagoong Dumplings
Pink Panda serves up some of the best Southeast Asian-inspired dishes in the metro. However, one of their most delectable dishes, Lemongrass & Bagoong Pork Dumplings (PHP320), ingeniously brings together Cantonese and Filipino cuisine. These steamed beauties are essentially pork dumplings infused with the classic pinoy coupling of bagoong and green mango which add a distinct depth and tartness to the dish.
Where to get this: Pink Panda, G/F Y2 Resident Hotel, 4687 Santiago St cor B Valdez and Singian Sts, Makati; +63 2 2243000.
7. Pork Adobo Nachos
Bonifacio Global City’s Aracama serve up unique interpretations of Filipino food. Their Not Joes Nachos (PHP295) is a cross between Mexican and Filipino fare – there’s crisp tortilla chips served with minced pork adobo, mango and cilantro salsa, halved cherry tomatoes, and calamansi-infused sour cream. If this dish hits the spot, order the Street Tacos (PHP260) which are stuffed with either crispy lechon kawali or sisig.
Where to get this: Aracama, The Fort Entertainment Center Unit C, 5th Ave cor 26th St, BGC, Taguig; +63 2 5196815.
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