July 18, 2018, 7:51 pm
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Revisiting the Cavite cuisine

THE San Miguel Pure Foods Culinary Center’s (SMPFCC) “Proba Cavite Comida” featured some of the under-the-radar but must-try places to eat to sample the flavorful traditional dishes of Cavite.

Chef Llena Tan-Arcenas, SMPFCC culinary services manager, noted how places that serve good heirloom recipes are sought out by foodies. 

 “We want to be part of the movement that showcases what is local in an area and highlight the versatility of our high-quality products. Even though the food trends are continuously changing, the food taste is sustained,” Arcenas said.

So when in Cavite, Bernie’s Kitchenette is where one can try the Pansit Pusit which incorporates squid ink into its savory sauce and the Pansit Puso served with Kinilaw na Puso ng Saging. These dishes are complemented by Bacalao (sautéed fish using Magnolia Dari Creme), Crispy Lao-Lao (fried fish), and Morcon (savory meat roll).

Pat & Sam’s Delicacies and Pasalubong offers Bibingkang Samala, a popular delicacy that is proudly Cavite-made. Made mainly of glutinous rice, coconut milk and sugar, it comes in two flavors: Malagkit, the more traditional flavor, and Pinipig.

At the heritage house of the Abad clan, a chef prepares Pipian, a Spanish-inspired chicken dish like Kare-Kare and cooked using Magnolia Whole Chicken. Another dish, Tinumis, using Monterey Pork, looks just like the Dinuguan but is flavored with sampaloc leaves instead of vinegar.

Mang Jose’s Rolling Kitchen, whose birth in 2017 was inspired by the boom of food parks and bazaars, gained popularity for pugon-roasted items, which figure prominently in its menu.

Owned by Jhing and Mimi Hernandez, the Rolling Kitchen wants Cavite to be known for its own style of pugon lechon, or puchon as Jhing calls it. His wife Mimi introduced other dishes – a mix of grilled favorites best eaten with a cold round of San Miguel Beer and Ginebra San Miguel products. They also serve Boneless Lechon Belly, Inasal and Crispy Sisig partnered with Talong and their best-selling Tahong.

At the Cavite Republic, Matt Pacumio, a restaurateur and grandson of Cecilia Pacumio who started Town’s Delight, presented their specialties like Paella Valenciana, Grilled Chicken Sinampalukan, Cavite Express, Pancit Estación Negra, and Crispy Dinuguang Baboy. They also make Lihim Ni Lola, a kakanin similar to suman that is stuffed with salted egg and topped with latik.

Last but not least, Olivia’s Coffee pours out a steaming cup of coffee served with Magnolia Fresh Milk and La Pacita Graham Cookie Sandwich. It is located in Olivia’s Estate and owned by Olivia and Joselito Lansang, one of the first coffee distributors in Cavite. 

Arcenas said people tend to forget that “we have local cuisines that are very rich in history and taste.” She said every region should work to preserve its heirloom recipes. 

 “Branded as influencers, millennials who expose themselves into different culinary heritage tours will experience each region’s authentic dish and be able to advertise it,” Arcenas added.

As for Cavite, Arcenas said amid the news about the province’s progress, there’s not much mention of its food. “The province is near the metro and is very accessible, thus people can taste the Caviteño dishes which might have been forgotten or taken for granted by its locals, without spending so much money,” she said.

 “Cavite should really be the next dining destination,” she added, noting it is famous for Bacoor’s Halo-Halo, Carmona’s classic Binalot as well as Tapsihan. 

Arcenas said the heritage cuisines, despite the emergence of global flavors, are here to stay. “While many food enthusiasts in the culinary scene are more cognizant about it, more millennials are inspired and now ask how the food is made, how it is prepared, where it is sourced, etc. instead of just eating it,” she said.

She added that traditional dishes should not be kept. Instead, these must be developed.

 “For as long as everyone loves to eat… It will never vanish. One would still look for comfort food at the end of the day… And that is home-cooked meals,” she pointed out.
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