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Flavors of the Philippines: culinary fest raises ASEAN unity

The final serving of the Flavors of the Philippines (FOP), a month-long culinary bonanza under the Madrid Fusion Manila festivities, is a celebration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) flavors highlighting the region's unity and cooperation.


Famed Filipino chefs, restaurants, and hotels are serving Pinoy favorites and their best interpretation of the neighborhood cuisines at the ASEAN Food Festival 2017, organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT) in partnership with Ayala Malls.


"Events like these further establish the country as a vibrant and flavorful culinary tourism destination and promotes South East Asia as one must-visit food destination. The theme is also perfect to show the unity of the region in celebration of the 50th Golden Anniversary of ASEAN," DOT Secretary Wanda Cozaron Tulfo-Teo said.


Featured celebrity chefs like Rob Pengson will be serving Cambodia and Brunei inspired cuisines; Myke Tatung Sarthou, Malaysia and Singapore dishes while Gene Gonzalez will cook the famous flavors from Myanmar and Laos.


Chefs Claude Tayag, Vincent Garcia as well as Gene Gonzalez will offer Kapampangan dishes.


Restaurants Wild Ginger, a well-known Southeast Asian restaurant, is providing dishes from Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam and Shirley’s Authentic House of Curry offers Malaysian cuisine.


Completing the ASEAN flavors presented at the four-day food fest are hotel partners Seda Vertis North and Berjaya Makati Hotel which serve authentic Philippine and Malaysian flavors, respectively.


“This event featuring the region’s diverse cuisine aptly promotes the ASEAN’s vision of achieving unity through diversity. The ASEAN Golden celebration is putting the spotlight on the region’s best 50 festivals and 50 most unforgettable travel experiences with the premium on the culinary experience the region has to offer.” Secretary Teo added.


Chef Sarthou, owner of AGOS, a Filipino-Spanish restaurant, said, “ASEAN cuisine is very sophisticated. It’s very difficult to put your finger into a certain characteristic. We use the same ingredients pero iba iba ‘yung lumalabas and that's really beautiful about it.”


“ASEAN cuisine is vibrant with strong flavors and strong umami taste as compared with the Western dishes which could be our edge and the selling point of the region,” remarked Chef Pengson, one of the original poster boys of the local culinary scene.


Not to be outdone, Philippine must-eats are brought in by the DOT Regional offices including delicacies and pasalubong products from Ilocos, Zamboaga, the CALABARZON and the MIMAROPA regions.

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