Two great events happened this week in London: the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards, and Chowzter’s World’s Tastiest Fast Feasts Awards.
Among the winners of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Denmark’s Noma regained the top spot from Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca, which slid down to No. 2. Noma was No. 1 in 2010, 2011 and 2012, but El Celler de Can Roca captured the title last year.
Noma chef-owner René Redzepi is known for his meticulous attention to detail, seen in his interpretation of Nordic cuisine, which has been described as an “innovative approach to foraging and experimentation with fermentation.” His food strives to reflect the Danish landscape and culture with signature dishes such as Blackcurrant Berries and Roses.
The No. 3 spot was retained by Osteria Francescana, the classic Italian restaurant of Massimo Bottura. New York’s Eleven Madison Park moved up to No. 4 and was also named Best Restaurant in North America.
Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner, the restaurant inspired by culinary history and located at the Mandarin near Hyde Park in London, climbed two notches to No. 5.
The rest in the Top 10 are: Mugaritz (San Sebastian); D.O.M. (Brazil); Arzak (San Sebastian); Alinea (Chicago); The Ledbury (London).
Winners from Asia include: Nahm (No. 13) and Gaggan (No. 17) in Bangkok, Thailand; Restaurant André (No. 37) and Waku Ghin (No. 50) in Singapore; Amber in Hong Kong (No. 24); and Narisawa (No. 14) and Nihonryori RyuGin (No. 33) in Tokyo, Japan. Singapore’s Jaan also made it to the Top 100.
There were no Filipino restaurants on that list, but the good news is that our very own lechon reigned supreme at Chowzter’s World’s Tastiest Fast Feasts Awards.
Chowzter is an online community in search of the “World’s Tastiest Fast Feasts” (from ice cream to ceviche to lechon). Top food bloggers from over 30 countries write about their discoveries through a Chowzter app, which shares the best “fast feasts” in over 100 categories from over 100 countries.
“Chief Chowzters” (the top bloggers in a country/city) get to nominate what they consider to be the best dish in each category. For the Philippines, the chief Chowzter is Our Awesome Planet founder Anton Diaz.
“There are chief Chowzters in every city. Each chief Chowzter gets to nominate for each category. Then the nominations are shortlisted to five,” he explained.
Among Anton’s nominations was Pepita’s Stuffed Lechon. This is lechon de leche that creator Dedet de la Fuente serves with various stuffings: truffled rice, binagoongan rice, laing rice, and the list goes on.
Her creativity paid off: Pepita’s Stuffed Lechon today reigns as the Tastiest Fast Feast in Asia!
Anton is now in London where the Chowzter Awards were held, but I caught him online after he received the award on behalf of Dedet, owner/creator of Pepita’s Kitchen. “Manila is getting to be known in the world as the Roasted Pig Capital for our lechon (thanks in large part to) Anthony Bourdain,” said Anton.
Anton thinks that the stuffed lechon was chosen because it is unique and cannot be found in other Asian countries, aside from the fact that it looks crazy delicious.
This made me realize that maybe our route to finding global recognition in food is not through the restaurant industry. Maybe we just need to spread the word about lechon and oink our way to the top—an achievement first made by Claude Tayag and the Marketman who got Bourdain to say that the Philippines has the best pork in the world.
It has been proven again by Pepita’s lechon de leche.
Lechon Degustacion at Pepita’s Kitchen, tel. nos. 4254605 and 0917-8660662; orders accepted; degustacion by reservation only.
More on the World’s 50 Best winners in margauxlicious.com. Follow the columnist @margauxsalcedo on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.