By Deneb R. Batucan
THE flavors of Northern Philippines is an exciting culinary journey itself. It’s tangy, sweet, sour and salty altogether in one spoonful, its flavors exploding inside your mouth that the only reasonable thing to do right after is to get another spoonful.
Café Marco of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu explores the rich and vibrant cuisine of Luzon with Independencia: Flavors of Northern Philippines, a culinary celebration of our 119 years of independence as a country. Delight from the dishes that their team of chefs has prepared, with the expertise of culinary guru Jessica Avila, inspired by famous viands that hail from Pampanga, Bicol, Baguio, Bulacan, Ilocos and many more. Here are some of the must-taste dishes from Independencia:
This Ilocos staple is a vegetable dish that’s not too complicated to make and also quite healthy. It’s made of roasted eggplants, tomatoes and eggs. It may not look too appetizing but it sure is delicious that you can’t help but get some more.
The epitome of comfort food, Bulalo just takes the cake. The key to a great Bulalo is in the meat—the beef shank should be quite tender, its flavors could be tasted in the soup alone. But the best part of eating Bulalo is getting the bone marrow—nothing could be quite as satisfying.
You can’t have northern flavors of the Philippines without Bicol Express. The sweetness of the coconut cream juxtaposed with the spicy long chilies would definitely make you reach out for some extra rice.
The peanut stew we all love just got filled with the sea’s bounty: shrimp, mussels, squid, fish, you name it. The soup is also doused with coconut cream that goes very well with the peanut sauce and makes for an enjoyable meal.
Also called the Filipino version of the Spanish paella, Bringhe is made of glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and turmeric powder that brings out that distinct flavor and color. Add chicken, chorizo de bilbao, bell peppers, carrots and raisins and boiled eggs on top, and you’ve got a festive Pampangenyo meal ahead of you.