There’s more to savor in Malabon | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Remilly Co of Remilly’s Yema Cakes —PHOTOS BY RAOUL J. CHEE KEE
Remilly Co of Remilly’s Yema Cakes —PHOTOS BY RAOUL J. CHEE KEE

There was pancit—several versions, in fact—during our day trip to Malabon last weekend. We were there to attend the first Malabon Food & Gift Expo held inside the Oreta Sports Complex, a stone’s throw from city hall. We found out as we went around the stalls that there was more to Malabon than its famed dish of thick rice noodles topped with sliced eggs and assorted seafood like shrimp, squid, smoked fish and mussels.

‘Kare-kare’ mix

Near the entrance, we spotted a stall selling two types of peanut butter (sweet and creamy, and thick and crunchy). Occupying the top of their wooden shelf were industrial-sized containers of their newest variant.

“We’ve been selling peanut butter made in Malabon for years now, but during the pandemic, we noticed how some people began selling cooked food,” said Eva Anajao of AnaVill Food Products’ Fayenuts.

She and her three daughters—who all share a first name, Faye—came up with the idea of making a kare-kare peanut sauce mix that was already seasoned to taste. It’s made of 100 percent peanuts with no extenders, preservatives, artificial flavors or colors added. Cooks and homemakers only need to add a bit of water to loosen it up if they want the sauce to be thinner.

“We knew we had to stick to what we’re known for, hence the kare-kare mix. So far, we’ve been able to secure a deal with Club Filipino in Greenhills,” Anajao said.


The owner of Remilly’s Yema Cakes is also a proud Malabon native. Remilly Co started her cake business six years ago in 2016, after an earlier food venture involving fried noodles lost its novelty.

“I bake as a hobby so I made a few cakes, posted them on Facebook and began getting orders. There was one reseller who started out by ordering a couple of cakes before placing orders for 10 and then 50 pieces,” Co said.

Malabon Mayor Jeannie Sandoval choosing items at Dolor’s Kakanin
Malabon Mayor Jeannie Sandoval choosing items at Dolor’s Kakanin

Later that year, there was a fiesta in Malabon that included a tiangge or selling area for vendors, which she joined. On the first day of what was supposed to be a three-day event, she sold P45,000 worth of cakes. Fortunately, their commissary was located near the church so they were able to bake more.

“After the fiesta, we were given a space near the church to sell our cakes for six months. That’s when my husband and I began considering turning it into a business and opening branches. We now have 19 company-owned branches,” Co said. “We initially targeted the D-E classes, but realized that our cakes are being given to doctors by their patients as the patients’ way to give thanks. These doctors would then come directly to us to order more.”

Now, aside from the classic Yema, the cake selection at Remilly’s has expanded to include caramel yema, mango yema, ube, pastillas and choco dulce.

“Before the end of the year, we’re rebranding Remilly’s to hopefully appeal to the upper classes,” Co said.

That afternoon, we sampled two types of noodles: Bebette’s Pansit Malabon, which prides itself in their version that doesn’t spoil as quickly and has has been enjoyed all the way to Bacolod, and the fried bihon (rice noodles) topped with spicy sardines at the Masters and Family’s Brand stall. Bebette’s also sells a delicious fresh lumpia for P50 made with a soft dough wrapper enveloping crisp ubod (heart of palm). The fried bihon at P20 per serving was a pleasant surprise: hot, tasty and filling.

Help for SMEs

Malabon Mayor Jeannie Sandoval said that they decided to hold the city’s first food and gifts fair to help small and medium enterprises.

“We’re still not out of the pandemic, but since we’re starting to open up, we went ahead. I’m actually quite surprised. You’d think some of these businesses are not from here but they’re all from Malabon,” Sandoval told Lifestyle.

Many of them started small, using recipes from their mothers or grandmothers that they would cook, tweak and parlay into a food business.

Dana Faye and Eva Anajao of Fayenuts
Dana Faye and Eva Anajao of Fayenuts

One of the city’s most popular is Dolor’s Kakanin that now has branches in Quezon City and Makati. If you’re craving sapin-sapin (assorted rice cakes formed into a concentric circle) but can’t imagine ordering an entire bilao, Dolor’s has a small one that comes in a personal pizza-sized box.

Sandoval said that while some Malabon businesses were able to weather the pandemic, others had to close shop. “We want them to restart their businesses, so we provide financial aid, incentives and training so they can be stronger, more resilient.”One of the recipients was a group of bayong (shopping bag) weavers that started with 20 women before the pandemic, but has grown to over 200 to include seniors, more women and their husbands.

Remilly Co of Remilly’s Yema Cakes —PHOTOS BY RAOUL J. CHEE KEE
Remilly Co of Remilly’s Yema Cakes —PHOTOS BY RAOUL J. CHEE KEE

“We gave them the seed money and materials, and then staff from the Department of Trade and Industry came to teach them how to make different designs to appeal to a broader market,” Sandoval said.

The reusable bags come in different sizes, but go for the bigger tote. Their flat bottoms and sturdy handles can safely transport pasalubong like kakanin and yema cakes, canned sardines and an order or two of Pancit Malabon. INQ

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