The year’s food landscape: Foreign franchises, tasty desserts, online food sites
The local food scene in 2015 once again favored consumers with a wider range of dining options.
In fact, if they were so inclined, customers could actually dine at a new eatery, restaurant or hotel outlet every week without any repetitions for several months.
More foreign restaurant chains opened branches in the country this year, including Maisen, brought in by Ben Chan; Halal Guys, by Jaime Daez; and Din Tai Fung, by The Moment Group.
As expected, these restaurants were packed for the first few weeks after opening, but now that the novelty has worn off, the lines aren’t as long.
Chefs like JP Anglo and Miko Aspiras were in the news for their innovative takes on comfort food and desserts, respectively.
Anglo’s Sarsa Kitchen branches (BGC, Makati and Mall of Asia) and new baby Kafe Batwan (Joya, Rockwell) continued to bring in customers for their no-nonsense dishes that the chef tweaks—but not too much.
Balikbayan and anyone else who longed for familiar flavors like grilled isaw (chicken intestines) could get their fix at Sarsa and leave thoroughly satisfied.
Aspiras attracted diners who preferred sweet treats over savory dishes with decked-out cookies from Scout’s Honor, and soft-serve ice cream preparations at Le Petit Soufflé—both located at Century City Mall in Makati. His salted egg caramel and matcha parfaits are as delicious as they look.
Desserts were huge this year. Inquirer Lifestyle reporter Vangie Baga-Reyes launched her second book, “Best Desserts 2,” at SM Aura; the event had over 80 participating dessert makers plying guests with bite-sized portions of their specialties.
At the launch of a local home line a few weeks later, guests were treated to a scaled-down dessert buffet of the owner’s favorite sweet treats.
Social media sites devoted to food also gained popularity this year by providing pertinent information, like contact details and the full menu of restaurants in Metro Manila, Tagaytay and Baguio in the case of booky (ph.phonebooky.com), or concise and tongue-in-cheek restaurant reviews like the ones from masarapba (www.instagram.com/masarapba/).
Both sites have gained thousands of Instagram followers—Booky with over 400,000; masarapba, close to 500,000.
With so many food choices, consumers appreciate all the help they can get, whether booking a table or getting a succinct but hopefully unbiased review.