Some of the dishes I enjoy the most are those with contrasting textures, like Shepherd’s Pie with its toasted ground meat and mashed potatoes, tender Beef Burgundy with al dente pasta, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, crispy pata with garlic rice, and any kind of pastel.
I love the concept of pastel because of the carbs covering whatever’s inside, whether it be chicken or lengua. The thing that has always bothered me is that because the filling inside is a bit wet, the crust loses its crunch and becomes soggy. I hate it when this happens.
Recently, I got a delicious creamed, tender, cubed lengua with a perfectly baked crust on the side. The creator of the dish must have the same sentiments I have about a soggy crust, such that she decided to bake a perfect crust. It was thick enough to stand the wetness of the lengua.
Chef Judy Uson is the creator of this wonderful dish. Apart from running a successful café in Pampanga called Café Noelle, she is also the creator of the outstanding cake called Chiffonelle, also a must-try.
Kapampangan chefs have invaded Manila. I tried a delicious, tender, sticky and toasted humba with fried banana on the side with a bulb of garlic on top. Sarap! This was made by chef Cherry Pasion-Tan.
From Denlim’s Kitchen came Dennis Lim’s begukan. This is similar to a pork binagoongan made with tender morsels of pork belly and topped with finger chillies. I hate getting a dish like this because you can’t eat it without rice. And I had a lot of it. I like to blame others when I pig out. I’ve been waiting for chef Dennis’ kitchen to open. He has an outstanding tasting menu at his place in San Fernando.
Then there’s the genius in chef Sau del Rosario. His contribution was a tender lamb shank sinigang that was sour, sweet and salty. Combined with eggplant, string beans and jalapeno peppers, this dish also stands out. Unique and sarap!
Poch Jorolan, also from Pampanga, has morcon and kare-kare. I love his Kapampangan dinuguan, longganisa and chicharon bulaklak. I also hate eating his food. Lots of rice again. These chefs have other winners on their list. These are just their teasers. Check them out!