Childhood memories of the breakfast table without a brown bag of freshly baked pan de sal drove Helino T. Tiamzon Jr. to leave his job as a medical representative and open Genesis Hot Pan de Sal.
“It was a rough start,” Tiamzon said. “My girlfriend Ciarra (now his wife) and I pulled our savings together, looked for a baker and a space to rent to start our business.”
Tiamzon recounted how he watched over the bakery, supervised his baker as well as sales attendants.
Helino’s Filipino breakfast staple is a blast from the past—compact, dense, with a delightful chew—just as I myself remember the pan de sal of yore.
“I want each bite of my pan de sal to take you back in time,” said Tiamzon.
A self-confessed old soul, Tiamzon said he wanted his customers to experience memories of his childhood—when he would wake up and walk to the bakery, with the scent of bread baking in the oven and wafting through the air.
He said his pan de sal is no different from that of others, but is set apart by the love and dedication that he and his employees put into making and selling the bread.
Tiamzon named his bakery Genesis after his parents’ cell phone and cell card shop, which he said put him through school.
Genesis Hot Pan de Sal, 35 G. Del Pilar St. Parang, Marikina City; tel. 09175041731
To each his own
Tiamzon said each customer has a peculiar way of enjoying pan de sal. One loves his with cheese and dipped in Royal True Orange.
I asked chefs and other foodies their preferences. Their answers are diverse and interesting:
Acie Fores Romero Salas—slathered with Hokkaido Butter.
Ana Gloria—toasted, slathered with butter and sobrasada.
Ana Ong—sliced, with condensed milk, with or without a sprinkling of cocoa powder, finished in a toaster oven.
Babes Austria—with ginaok raw sugarcane jam from Bataan.
Betinna del Rosario—with egg and spread with black olives or grilled kesong puti, basil and cherry tomatoes (Del Rosario sells spreads: tel. 09178337931).
Bongbong Marcos—with steak and onions, with or without eggs.
Caren Basilio Wong—putong babi (traditional Kapampangan merienda made of sauteed ground pork, diced potato, raisins, salt or soy sauce, pepper) spread on the bread cut in half, with scrambled egg and breadcrumbs.
David Pardo de Ayala—with a spread of good quality butter, and with sliced manchego cheese, jamon serrano and warmed in a toaster oven.
Enet Santiago—“I flatten two pieces of pan de sal and, in between, stuff it with second-day menudong bukid made of garlic, onion, lots of fresh tomatoes, pork (marinated in calamansi, salt, pepper) pork liver, potatoes.”
Imelda Go—toasted with butter and crunchy mahu.
Jecelle Tycangco—with creamy pig’s brain omelette (made of pig’s brain peeled thin and mashed and two large eggs beaten), salt, pepper and spring onions.
Mike Profeta—“I like my pan de sal a light golden brown served with adobong puti, quesong puti or cream cheese.”
Mitsy Navales-Antolin—with Majestic Ham and truffle honey.
Nick Rodriguez—with boneless bangus in olive oil; mayonnaise with sugar; or choco icing.
Rebecca Disini—with cave-aged gruyère and truffle honey, seasoned with salt and pepper, then toasted.
Roland Laudico—“I like making pan de sal crostinis and topping them with spicy sardine mousse or adobo liver paté.”
Sau del Rosario—with longanisa, tomato, lettuce, salted and kesong puti.
Stevie Villacin—with butter and Trappist Guava Jam from Guimaras. Or with egg salad: rough chopped eggs that have been cooked in boiling water for 8 minutes. Added are American mayo, salt and pepper, and a few drops of truffle oil.
Trisha Pertierra—dipped in good olive oil with salt, pepper and grated Parmesan cheese.
As for me, I prefer pan de sal sliced, toasted lightly and slathered with butter; stuffed with day-old pork adobo reheated over low fire until the meat begins to fall off the bone.
I would cap that with cranberry preserves. If I have extra foie gras, I’d slice these into slivers, pan-fry and top the adobo with it, and end with a bit of preserves.
For a copy of my cooking class schedule for 2018, contact 09175543700, 09082372346, or 9289296.