Specialty Food Magazine

Summer 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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FEASTING ON THE FOODS OF THE PHILIPPINES P erhaps no other cuisine exemplifies the term "melting pot" as much as this one—as chefs across the country are bringing attention to a distinctive culinary experience. Filipino cuisine has been garnering new fans around the U.S. with its blend of sweet, savory, sour, and spicy f lavors. The New York Times recently noted that Filipino food was making its way into the American mainstream food scene as more consumers are trying it. And the Specialty Food Association's Trendspotter panel selected it as one of the 10 trends of 2018. The cuisine evokes other Asian cooking traditions, but due to a unique culinary history, also has its own distinct f lavor profiles. The food of this nation of more than 7,000 islands has been shaped by its extensive trade with other Asian nations, particularly Malaysia and China, and its colonization by Spain—which ruled over the Philippines from its outposts in Mexico. "It's very unique, and it's new to a lot of people," says Paolo Dungca, chef de cuisine at Kaliwa, a Washington, D.C., restaurant featuring Filipino, Thai, and Korean dishes. "People are curious to try it," says the chef who, in 2017, was named one of Specialty Food Magazine's 12 Under 35 to watch. To begin understanding the cuisine, it's good to get a handle on the importance of vinegar, learn about a few key classic dishes, and discover the different ways Filipino cuisine is making its mark on the U.S. restaurant scene. Classics of the Cuisine Many chefs are adhering to traditional recipes and preparations, which appeal to today's adventurous eaters seeking authentic culi- nary experiences, Dungca says. "People are keeping it true to its roots, and they're not trying to manipulate it. They're not holding back on the flavors, and letting the true intentions come through." Adobo is one example of a traditional Filipino dish that can be made in a variety of ways and feature a range of different proteins. Although adobo shares a name with a sauce used in Spanish and Mexican cooking, the adobo marinade of the Philippines—a mix of garlic, vinegar, and salt—differs from the Spanish sauces and is uniquely Filipino, according to "Memories of Philippine Kitchens," a book about Filipino cuisine and culture by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan, the owners of Purple Yam, the Filipino restaurant in New York. At the core of the recipe is vinegar—a key ingredient in many Filipino dishes that predates the nation's inf luence from China and Spain. The adobo marinade for the adobo chicken at Purple Yam combines rice vinegar, coconut milk, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, birdseye chilies, and black pepper. Vinegars in the Philippines have historically been made from a variety of sources, including nipa—a type of palm—rice, sugar cane, coconut, and various fruits. Cooking with various vinegars is an art infused with tradition and culture in the Philippines, accord- ing to Besa and Dorotan. Other classic Filipino dishes include sinigang, a stew tradition- ally made with the naturally sour fruits of the Philippines, such as tamarind, but also often made sour with lemons and limes. It often contains seafood but also can be made with beef, pork, or poultry. Kinilaw is another dish that is similar to ceviche—raw seafood or other meats marinated in vinegar or citrus juices. Dungca of Kaliwa says he seeks to be as authentic as possible with the Filipino dishes on the menu at the restaurant, which is global cuisine "People are keeping it true to its roots, and they're not trying to manipulate it. They're not holding back on the flavors, and letting the true intentions come through." 124 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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