After the fun and frenzy at the recent Madrid Fusion 2017, one thing was clear: Filipino cuisine has again left a good impression on everyone.
Pinoy food drew a big crowd, which, after tasting our specialties and traditional dishes, had nothing but encouraging words—and a plea for more servings.
Rice cakes with coco jam
At the Philippine booth in the annual gastronomic event, guests got a sampling of rice cakes, including suman and puto manapla, slathered with coco jam.
These went well with barako coffee or turmeric tea—keeping bodies warm from the cold weather.
Likewise served were Nana Meng’s hot chocolate and Mama Sita’s champorado, placed in small bowls and topped with dilis.
More: turrones de kasuy, organic toasted coconut chips, chicharon with vinegar dipping sauce, and the crowd favorite, pili nuts—all courtesy of the Department of Agriculture.
There were also dark chocolate-dipped dried mangoes, polvoron from Goldilocks and ube balls.
Another local ingredient that piqued the curiosity of many was calamansi. It was sliced in half so the people could smell and taste its delicious sour juice.
The three-day event each had its main attraction: Chicken Adobo by Nina Daza-Puyat; Arroz Caldo by this writer, and Kilawing Baboy by Myke “Tatung” Sarthou.
What definitely lured the crowd was “dirty ice cream,” which arrived in the signature colorful cart. Its three flavors—ube, mango and coconut with macapuno—had guests enjoying a scoop of each variety on their small sugar cone.
Two special dinners
Sarthou, this year’s guest speaker, had the privilege of hosting two special dinners during the chef’s congress. Both were sold out.
The first was at the exclusive El Club Allard, where he did a six-course meal composed of his unique take on traditional Filipino dishes.
The guests were from the Rothschild group, some of whom said the food was the best they’ve had in the many years the annual dinner had been going on. One guest told Sarthou he was very impressed that the chef did not use fancy ingredients, yet the flavors still came out amazing.
For that elegant dinner, Sarthou plated a mixed seafood kinilaw of fresh oyster, tuna, sea urchin and seaweed, drenched in vinegar dressing and topped with calamansi ice.
The second course was chicken sisig in a piece of lettuce, capped with taro hay. It was served with a Paradise Mango shooter.
Then came the fresh-tasting Lobster Lumpia Freska in a pool of peanut sauce and cilantro oil, followed by Sarthou’s version of pork binagoongan—pulled pork with grilled leeks, ensaladang talong, chicharon crumbs and bagoong.
What the guests fancied most, including the chefs at El Club Allard, was his Moros y Kristianos or adobo cooked two ways: one in coconut cream, and the other in burnt coconut. It was served with Philippine black rice and burong mangga.
Sarthou capped the meal with halo-halo—jackfruit, red beans, macapuno and nata de coco on ube ice cream.
For the second dinner, Sarthou collaborated with Spanish celebrity chef and one-time Madrid Fusion Manila guest speaker Mario Sandoval.
The dinner at Hotel Orfila offered a six-course menu that combined the two chefs’ cuisines.
Sandoval plated three seafood dishes, including an exquisite squid and shrimp ceviche, while Sarthou shone with chicken sisig, the same dish he served at Allard; his Mindanao-inspired tiyula itum with turmeric rice; and the dessert duo of Queso Bibingka or cheesy cassava cake, and coconut ice cream with latik and Aroen smoked sea salt.
Said Sarthou of his fellow chef: “Mario is a star who’s charming. At the start, my assistant chef, Patrick Constantino, and I were scrambling to get the first plates out. But Mario put me at ease by saying ‘relax,’ one of the few English words he knew… He also finished the rest of the chicken sisig in the kitchen.”
Madrid Fusion Manila will be held April 6-8. Visit madridfusionmanila.com