RPD PUBLICATIONS launched Káin Ná!: An Illustrated Guide to Philippine Food on Aug. 31 at Shangri-La at The Fort’s High Street Lounge. The book was written by veteran culinary historian Felice Prudente Sta. Maria and Singaporean cookbook writer Bryan Koh and illustrated by Mariel Ylagan Garcia. Káin Ná! — which means “Let’s Eat” in Filipino — explores the diverse variety of cookery and dining essentials from around the country.
The book is subdivided into 12 chapters, namely: Almusál (breakfast), Lútong Báhay (home cooking), Meryénda (afternoon delights), Lútong Kalsáda (street food), Panghimágas (desserts), Pulútan (bar chow), Pang-Pistá (festival food), Inúmin (beverages), Sa Panaderyá (bakery finds), Kakanín (rice treats), Mga Sawsáwan (dipping sauces), and a section on ingredients key to the Filipino larder. Each chapter contains a short explainer and is accompanied by hand painted illustrations.
“Filipino food plays a critical role in the foundation and imminent education of Philippine history. While there are many well-known dishes beloved by the populace, little is known beyond the usual favorites like adóbo, sinigáng, lechón,” the authors were quoted as saying in a release.
The book and launch are supported by Asia Society Philippine Foundation Inc.
Ms. Sta. Maria is a pioneer of Philippine culinary history, focusing on the period between 1516 to 1949. Among her popular books are The Governor-General’s Kitchen: Philippine Culinary Vignettes and Recipes, 1521-1935 (Anvil Publishing, 2006) and What Kids Should Know About Philippine Food (Adarna Books, 2016). She continues to speak on the value of culinary history for tourism to professional and academic audiences.
Mr. Koh released his first book, Milk Pigs & Violet Gold: Philippine Cookery in 2014. It won the Best Food Book Award at the Philippine National Book Awards that year. His second book, 0451 Mornings are for Mont Hin Gar: Burmese Food Stories won third place in the Best Asian Cookbook category at the World Gourmand Cookbook Awards 2016. An expanded edition of Milk Pigs, entitled Milkier Pigs & Violet Gold, was nominated for Best Travel Food Book at the World Gourmand Cookbook Awards 2017. He released his third book, Bekwoh, on the cuisine of Peninsular Malaysia’s East Coast, in 2018. Mr. Koh lives in Singapore and is co-owner of cake companies Chalk Farm and Milk Moons.
Ms. Ylagan Garcia is an illustrator/painter based in the Philippines who specializes in watercolor and oil painting. She is member of the Kapisanan ng mga Pintor sa Pilipinas at iba pang Sining. Inc. and Space 4026 where she explores, shares and exhibits her art.