Eating through the archipelago, one month at a time, one bite at a time.
The hard thing about being a country made up of thousands of islands is that you can't just go to far-off provinces or cities on a whim. You'd either have to travel by plane or by boat, thereby making it harder for you to travel as often as you'd want to. Among other things, it's the delicious cuisine from the different regions that you'd most likely miss out on.
Enter Filipino food festivals such as what Midas Café is currently hosting. From August to November 2014, Midas Café is offering a feast of culinary treasures aptly called Sabroso, starting with specialties from Northern Luzon all the way to Mindanao, prepared by Executive Chef Arnold Guevarra and his team.
Daily lunch & dinner P1,842 nett
August brought out familiar favorites from the North like Pakbet and Bagnet, Bulanglang Bangus, Dinakdakan, Bringhe, and Tibok-Tibok. September rolled out with Laing, Tinumok, Sinaing na Tulingan, Shrimp Ukoy, and Nilupak from Southern Luzon. This October, there will be Sinugbang Manok, Kunsi, Pancit Molo, Lato, and Binignit from Visayas. And November will feature Sinugbang Nukos, Curacha Y Locon, Kinilaw na Bariles, Halang-Halang nga Manok, and Marang og Balimbing.
I'm not even familiar with half of these dishes, so when they invited me to their media launch, I was game. It was a pretty big affair, attended by the press and media people from print and the online community. We were greeted by ladies donning Filipiñana dresses, and given a glass of cold salabat (ginger tea).
The lunch started with an introduction of what the food festival is all about, as well as some words from the executive chef. A dance number by the staff provided an entertaining prequel to this Filipino feast.
I was instantly enamored with the whole plate of appetizers. Each small portion packed an explosive flavor that was such a delight to the palate. From the Tuna and Pork Sinugba to the Lato and Guso Salad, there was a variety of tastes that left me satisfied even if these were all I had to eat for the entire meal (but do give me more tasting portions of each, of course).
There was also Law-Uy or the Visayan Vegetable Soup, and a Calamansi Sorbet followed to cleanse the palate. Then came the main course comprising Lokon in Crab Roe Sauce, Pork Humba, Sinugbang Manok with Soy Vinegar Dip, and Vegetable in Fish Paste (Pinakbet). I particularly liked the prawn and the pinakbet, and wish we've been given more.
For dessert, we had a quartet of Croquantine Coconut Yema, Brazo de Durian, Nilupak and Halaya Cake, Marang Og Balimbing Ice Cream, all of which I found too sweet for my taste, although I did like the Brazo de Durian in spite of its saccharinity.
After sampling the Filipino dishes, we were welcome to enjoy the regular buffet. The staples were the bread station boasting of dinner rolls, ensaymadas, and pistolettes; and the cheese station, which had a limited selection, together with some dried fruits.
There were a few small bites of appetizers, but the appealing one was this ensalada type composed of mango, cucumber, and red peppers. You might want to opt for the salad bar if you want a healthier alternative.
I was very glad to see some sushi and sashimi, and devoured about two servings of the Salmon Sashimi before heading to the mains. There was a pasta station, as well as a grill station, which had an assortment of meat and seafood for grilling.
As for the hot dishes, there were more Filipino dishes offered: Bagnet, Kambing Kaldereta (Goat Meat Stewed), Pinaputok na Bangus (Banana Boneless Stuffed Milkfish), and Sinugbang Manok Og Chorizo (Grilled Chicken and Chorizo BBQ) to name a few.
Of course, the carving station shouldn't be missed with Cebu Lechon and Roasted US Angus Prime Rib as the stars of the show. I may be full, but I wouldn't leave a buffet without attacking some prime rib meat.
Their line of desserts could very well rival the number of mains available. There were native delicacies like Tibok-Tibok, Yema, Palitaw, Pichi-Pichi, Piyaya, and Buko Pie. I got a helping of the last three, and they were all fantastic.
Fruits and petits fours were aplenty, and I would have to recommend the Chocolate Mousse, Buco Pandan Panna Cotta, and Lemon Panna Cotta. And if you still aren't bursting at the seams by this time, you might want to visit the crepe station or the halo-halo station. Juices are also available.
Do take advantage of the Filipino food festival, and get to know more of the regional specialties from around the country. If you can't travel around the Philippines just yet, this is the next best thing.
Spot: 2nd Floor Midas Hotel and Casino, 2702 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
Contact No.: 902.0100