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WHEN YOU think of the empresses who ruled China, one name immediately comes to mind: Dowager Empress Cixi. A former concubine plucked from obscurity when she bore the Emperor a son, the woman shaped the last years of Imperial China. Cold and imperious, she eliminated all competition to the throne, even going as far as usurping the throne from her own son — the sanitized story is that she served as regent when her son was taken ill and eventually dying.
TWO LAWMAKERS have filed a bill requiring a health warning for food products with high sodium content.
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 WORD “raw” can capture an image of boorishness. We humans think that something is only worthy of attention when it has been touched by our numerous complications. It takes a certain elegance and skill to present food safely and tastily in its rawest form, for example, sashimi. In sashimi, there is a communion between nature and humanity, the tongue getting a taste of what the universe has created in its truest, most honest, and yet proudest form, aided with minimal intervention by the human hand.
THAILAND’S CLIMATE — social and meteorological — makes for perfect culinary theater. Spices and herbs grow in abundance, while influences are gathered from high and low, from different regions like China, India, and Portugal through trade; to different classes: from the royal family itself down to the common people.
DUE to market demand for an “upscale Chinese dining experience,” Seda Vertis North in Quezon City is introducing Chinese menu items in their banquet facilities and opening a Cantonese restaurant by year-end featuring authentic Chinese flavors mixed with Filipino-Chinese favorites.
THE meat-free movement is finding its way into strange and exotic dishes.
SOMEONE ONCE told me that a good breakfast was a sign of a good life: someone has spent time, money, and care to make sure you’re properly nourished in the morning. Of these three options, Manu Mano, a small bakery in Banawe, Manila, chooses to occupy the space carved out by love.
IF YOU’VE ever had a turon (a fruit-filled fried spring roll) from SM, which people apparently line up for, then you’re bound to be excited over a giant version of it.
PRAGUE — For revelers at one Prague megaclub, gone are the days of being squashed at the bar waiting to get a watered-down cocktail.
IN THE early days, animals in the forest bullied the sun for producing unbearable heat. When the sun disappeared for quite a long time, the animals apologized daily by writing “Sorry” on stone, smoke, and fire, and spelling the word out with their bodies. In desperation for sunlight, the chicken unceasingly chuckled until the sun rose. Unfortunately, when the chicken and the sun gave each other a high five upon rising, the chicken turned into fried chicken. Thus is the legend, according to Max’s Restaurant.
GIN IS a drink that transcends classes and space. It could be found in the hands of cosmopolitans sipping classic G&Ts, or spilling on the streets from shots taken after work. A new gin called Archipelago by Full Circle Craft Distillers Co. shows off the full breadth of the Philippines, from all classes and spaces, distilled in a single bottle.
IF THERE’S a food that epitomizes summer more than a grilled burger, name it.
FLUIDITY, as a term, expresses the ability to change. Fluids take the shape of their containers; and can be seen in various forms, either in a liquid state, or as a solid or gas. Glenfiddich, as a single-malt whisky (and thus a fluid), is expected to do the same.
AS THE weeks wear on, and the comedown from Memorial Day, Pride Month, and the Fourth of July starts to settle in, there’s no better cure for summer ennui than a movie in the park. Thanks to inflatable screens and digital projectors, you don’t necessarily need to be in a big city to catch a classic with hundreds of your neighbors (although it helps). But you do need something to sip on as the late-evening sun slips below the horizon, and Back to the Future II starts rolling.
HOME COOKING has a way of connecting us with a purer version of ourselves. Before the world left us all scratched, somebody loved us and prepared food for us. We guess that’s the magic of Milky Way Café, where each dish brings us back to our mother’s table, when nothing yet could go wrong.
JOHANNESBURG — Last year, gin consumption in South Africa grew by an astonishing 50%, to half a pint for every man, woman, and child. No wonder that distilleries are mushrooming, trying to give a colonial tipple a distinctive flavor of the fynbos.
THERE IS not question that by nurturing the planet, you nurture your kids. Nestle’s subscription service, with the help of goodfood.ph — think of it as having milkmen like the days of yore — makes it easier for parents to do the same.
VIRGINA LLAMAS was a homemaker who prepared impeccable signature dishes. Her husband, Carlos P. Romulo, was appointed as the Philippines’ permanent delegate to the United Nations with the rank of Ambassador the day after Manuel Roxas was sworn as the first president of the Philippine Republic. In 1946, the family settled in Washington D.C. — their home for the next 14 years. It was at that time that Virgina introduced Filipino cuisine to American guests and foreign diplomats. Her recipes served as inspiration for Romulo Café’s home-cooked dishes.
BAY OF PLENTZIA, Spain — For many discerning drinkers, the walk down stone steps into a cool, dark cellar is an essential part of visiting a winery, but with one Spanish winemaker such an inspection is more likely to involve an oxygen tank and flippers.
ICE CREAM inevitably leads to sweet experiences: mostly because it helps to make you sweeter (in disposition, and through the perception of others, mind you) as a person. Five studies from The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that “people believed strangers who liked sweet foods... were also higher in agreeableness.”
WHY ARE wines served at most weddings so bad? At the last one I attended, I ditched both the red and white and sipped a watery cocktail instead. It doesn’t have to be that way.
WESTVLETEREN, Belgium — Belgian Trappist monks who brew one of the world’s most coveted beers are turning to online sales to ensure their limited supply goes directly to beer lovers rather than to profiteers.
LONDON — The Gatwick Airport branches of British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain were saved on Friday by food outlet operator SSP in a deal that retains all 250 jobs at the last remaining UK trading sites of Oliver’s well-known brand.
EVERY TIME someone judges me for reaching for a bottle of Ginebra San Miguel (because I’m not handling a more expensive bottle), I point out the gold seal on the label (itself a work by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo). The gold seal is a Monde Selection medal awarded by Brussels-based institution International Institute for Quality Selections. Ronald Molina, Assistant Vice-President and Marketing Manager for Ginebra San Miguel summarizes the sensation: “The only thing cheap about Ginebra San Miguel is the price.”
ITALIAN chic is captured in every glass of Negroni. The drink was first mixed in Florence with gin, vermouth, and Campari liqueur, requested by a count from his bartender (the drink was eventually named after the count, whose last name was Negroni).
THIS MONTH marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, an event widely regarded as the catalyst for the modern gay rights movement — and for those in the LGBTQ+ community as well as their allies, a prime time to celebrate.
TWENTY years ago, Vicente “Nonoy” S. Quimbo, decided that it was time Filipinos had a wine of their own and he came up with Novellino, a brand of wines created especially for the Filipino palate.
SOME PINS are worth more than others. After gaining a Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 1 Award in Wines, one would be given a blue pin. That doesn’t sound like much, but, as Bel S. Castro, Assistant Dean for College of Hospitality Management for Enderun Colleges, said “...in the UK, you cannot work without this,” pertaining to the thriving food and beverage sector in the United Kingdom.
IN A small discreet shop in Serendra is a small staff of “artists” who turn cubes of ice into a mountain of kakigori — Japanese shaved ice desserts. As summer’s heat stifles the city, Shari Shari Kakigori House opened its doors, serving it cold treats to overheated customers.
DAVAO CITY — The World Food Travel Association defines food tourism as “the act of traveling for a taste of place in order to get a sense of place.”
“BRIGHT dark ruby color, fragrant nose with hint of leather, robust and powerful, majestic up to the last drop” — this is an example of a wine tasting note you may see for a young Grand Cru Bordeaux, which, to the uninitiated reader, could be a description of anything from a new sports car to a signature brand of perfume. But this is exactly the description that makes wine writers good at their profession. This is also the art in wine writing. However, many times, the notes can be too vague, too general, or even a bit incongruous.
DEPENDING on who you ask, the word “tequila” will conjure up an story, most commonly one entailing regret in having had an excess of the spirit. Despite its infamy, tequila in itself is a representation of a multitude of stories and flavors that one has to learn to fully appreciate and feel. It is, after all, a distilled spirit dating back from the 1600s — which means it has a lot of stories.