Viaje del Sol: A Southern Tagalog Food Trip

I love the dawn… at 6:00a.m. I am at the hotel lobby to meet Tina Decal of Fantasia Travel and Tours. Tina is the lady behind “Viaje del Sol” a culinary tour of Southern Tagalog. Together with Ms. Bernie Villodres we are off to Laguna, Quezon, and Lipa Batangas to do the itinerary for our Filipino Cuisine class tour.

Our first stop is Kusina Salud located in Barangay Sta. Cruz, San Pablo Laguna. It is the home of fashion designer Patis Tesoro. The restaurant is run by her daughter Nina and son-in-law Chef Paul Poblador. For breakfast we had salted eggs with spicy dilis, longganisang Laguna, omelette with Laguna cheese, carabeef tapa, garlic rice, and coffee. Then Chef Paul demonstrates to us how to make a Luguna specialty known as Pako Salad (Fern Salad).

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No Reservations

Rumor has it celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain is or was in Manila. Chef Bourdain is author of “A Cook’s Tour” and the hilarious “Kitchen Confidential”. As a writer I love his humor and strait forwardness. His prose is anything but pretentious, specially the part in his book where he bashes egotistic Bobby Flay and Rocco DiSpirito.

He was (is) here to shoot a segment for his show. I bet he will feature “balut” (boiled duck egg embryo) a local delicacy. Two of our graduates now chefs in Hotel Sofitel CDP Chef Pipo Aluning and Dan Almeda (#102) told me they had the pleasure of serving him. I’m dying with envy! I also heard from another source that he did Dampa and the Binondo China Town Walking tour. How I found out? I was also booking the same tour for our Asian Cuisine class and missed him by a day.

Then I passed by Cafe Ysabel restaurant this week and wondered why there were so many cars. Turns out he was there too! I heard he is going to Pampanga to feature the exotic dishes. I’m no stalker! I just want him to autograph my books Just a big fan! Haha!. Anthony Bourdain is here on a secret mission: to feature “our” food. Isn’t that great?!! Good luck finding him because there are “no reservations” under his name.

Chef Gene Gonzalez, Ivan Man Dy, Anthony Bourdain, and our student Michelle Ong (ID#106)

Kulinarya, a book for learning Philippine Cuisine

kulinarya2-2013-300x409In Filipino Cuisine class yesterday I had a student from Talisay Batangas who was in-charge of the menu. We were doing “sinaing na tulingan” ( fish cooked in water with a souring agent) a hard core and authentic Batangas dish. She told me that her grandmother taught her to twist and pull the fish tail out before cooking. Along with the tail came a tiny sack which could at times be poisonous. I was so amazed to learn something new!

FILIPINO CUISINE is a course that is offered to the seniors in the culinary program. It runs for one term (14 weeks) and is considered a major subject. I was tasked to work on the FILIPINO CUISINE curriculum back in 2003, honestly I did not know how or where to begin.

I am a “martial law”  baby and grew up in a decade were colonial mentally was very strong. I grew up with Sesame Street and English was our first language.  In fact when we spoke Tagalog in class we were charged one peso for every sentence. In my teenage years the very first McDonald’s store opened ushering in the fast food generation. We embraced all things western and American! Household Filipino food was

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