- Food and Leisure

Mar 022016

The Philippines on the Asia’s 50 Best radar: Asia’s best female chef Margarita Fores with son Amado and mom Baby Araneta-Fores at the awarding ceremony at W in Bangkok on Feb. 29.

BANGKOK, THAILAND — For the second year in a row, Gaggan claims the top spot in the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. “When I came to the awards in 2013, nobody knew me. Bangkok and Thailand loved me but most of the people thought I was a sponsor of the awards. On the first year of Asia’s 50 Best, I was number 14, and then number three and then number 1,” said chef-patron Gaggan Anand, whose restaurant in Bangkok is known for its progressive Indian cuisine. “Winning for a consecutive year gives you more confidence. We changed a lot from 2015 to what it is today. It was like when I was in school waiting for a year for my examination report on how well I did. I feel more confident today.”

Anand and his team were in Manila in October 2015 for a collaboration dinner organized by Cross Cultures by Cheryl Tiu, in collaboration with Gallery Vask. This year, the restaurant helmed by chef Chele Gonzalez debuted on the 2016 list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, taking the number 39 spot, and earning the title of  The S.Pellegrino Best Restaurant in the Philippines. Gallery Vask is the only restaurant from the Philippines on the list this year. Gonzalez and partner architect Carlo Calma received the award onstage at the W Bangkok.

Filipino chef Margarita Forés also attended the ceremony, accompanied by her son Amado and her mother, Baby Araneta-Forés, where she was named “Asia’s Best Female Chef 2016.” “This is for the Philippines!” she and Gonzalez exclaimed holding up their trophies at the after-party held at the House on Sathorn. “To keep going up, keep doing things, keep dreaming and keep pushing the Philippines on the map,” said Gonzalez.

This is the first year that the awards ceremony was held in the Thai capital. “The 2016 list includes 10 new restaurants and showcases the best dining experiences in 13 countries, more than ever before,” said William Drew, group editor of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. “The awards reflect the growth and diversity of Asia’s dining scene.” Apart from Gallery Vask, the other new entrants this year were: Mingles (Seoul, Korea) at #15; Corner House (Singapore) at #17; La Maison de La Nature Goh (Fukuoka, Japan) at #31; Den (Tokyo, Japan) at #37; Wild Rocket (Singapore) at #38; Kikunoi (Kyoto, Japan) at #42; Raw (Taipei, Taiwan) at #46; Ta Vie (Hong Kong) at #48 and Locavore (Bali, Indonesia) at #49.

“Asia’s 50 Best makes 50 chefs famous every year,” said Anand. “And all of the chefs have become my friends. We were teasing each other, taking selfies, pulling each other’s pants. It’s a gathering of a family. That’s the best thing about the awards.”

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Asia’s 50 Best is sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna and run by William Reed Business Media, in partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand. For the full list of the winners, visit More on Asia’s 50 Best in the upcoming issue of Lifestyle Asia.

Dec 022015
5 things you should know about Din Tai Fung Philippines

Always a special treat: The truffle xiao long bao is P138 a piece at DTF in Manila. The opening of Din Tai Fung (DTF) in the Philippines has been one of the most anticipated events of the year. DTF had its origins as a cooking oil retail business, founded in 1958 in Taipei by Bingyi Yang. It wasn’t until 1972 — when cooking oil became available in tin cans and bulk oil sales went into decline — that Yang and his wife, Penmei Lai, decided to transform the shop into a restaurant specializing in steamed soup-filled dumplings called xiao long bao (XLB). It became such a hit that they turned it into a full-service restaurant. Since then, DTF has been accorded numerous accolades, including The New York Times naming it one of the Top 10 Restaurants in the World in 1993, and its Hong Kong branches (Silvercord at Tsim Sha Tsui and Yee Wo at Causeway Bay) having been awarded Michelin stars. Today, DTF has 119 branches in 14 countries, including the USA, Australia, Japan, Dubai — and finally, the Philippines. Here are a few things you should know about the Philippine outpost of our favorite xiao long bao place: 1) Din Tai Fung was brought into the Philippines by The Moment Group. DTF is one of the most difficult franchises to acquire. According to a report published in Forbes in 2011, the DTF headquarters receives and rejects as many as 20 letters a week from prospective franchisees in places Read More …

Nov 192015
Genetically modified salmon OK'd for human consumption in US

Members of the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee listen during a presentation at Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee hearing on modified salmon. AP Photo/Charles Dharapak WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved genetically modified salmon, the first such altered animal allowed for human consumption in the United States. The Obama administration had stalled in approving the fast-growing salmon for more than five years amid consumer concerns about eating genetically modified foods. But the agency said Thursday the fish is safe to eat. In announcing the approval, the FDA said that there are “no biologically relevant differences in the nutritional profile of AquAdvantage Salmon compared to that of other farm-raised Atlantic salmon.” AquAdvantage Salmon was created by the Massachusetts-based company AquaBounty. Ron Stotish, the company’s CEO, said in a statement that the fish is a “game changer that brings healthy and nutritious food to consumers in an environmentally responsible manner without damaging the ocean and other marine habitats.” The fish grows twice as fast as normal salmon, so it reaches market size more quickly. It has an added growth hormone from the Pacific Chinook salmon that allows the fish to produce growth hormone all year long. The engineers were able to keep the hormone active by using another gene from an eel-like fish called an ocean pout that acts like an “on” switch for the hormone. Typical Atlantic salmon produce the growth hormone for only part of the year. The FDA has also said the fish is Read More …

Oct 212015
Recipe File: Wok-seared “shaking” beef

Wok-seared “shaking” beef with onions, green and red bell peppers on a bed of long beans and asparagus. Ingredients: Marinade: 1 tsp.               Soy Sauce 2 tsp.               Cornstarch Salt and pepper to taste  1 lb. Sirloin beef, cut into 1-inch cubes Lifestyle Feature ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 2 tbsp.  Cooking oil 2 cloves Garlic, minced 1/2 Red onion, cut into 1-inch squares 1  Green onion, cut into 1-inch lengths 1 Red jalapeno (or any red large chili), sliced 1/2  Green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares 1/2  Red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares 1 tbsp. Fish sauce 1 tbsp. Hoisin sauce 1 tbsp. Chili sauce 1 tbsp. Water 2 tsp. Rice vinegar 2 tsp. Soy sauce 2 tbsp. Rice wine 1 tbsp Unsalted butter 1 bunch  Watercress, washed and trimmed  Procedure: 1.Combine marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Add beef; stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. 2.Heat a wok over high heat until hot. Add oil, swirling to coat sides. Add beef; cook until a brown crust forms on the edges, about 3 minutes. Remove beef and set aside. 3. Add garlic, red onion and green onion and cook until fragrant. Add sliced red chili, green and red bell peppers; stir-fry for 1 minute. Return beef. 4.  Add fish sauce, hoisin sauce, water, rice vinegar and soy sauce; stir to evenly coat beef. 5. Add rice wine and flambé beef. Add butter; mix until butter melts and is evenly distributed. 6.     To serve, arrange watercress on a platter and place hot beef on top.

Aug 262015
From Karen’s Kitchen with love

“I’m wonderful when I let Jesus be in charge,” says Karen Young, owner of Karen’s Kitchen in Pasig. Karen Young is one of the pioneers in the pastry business and was one of the first — if not the first — to offer red velvet cake, which up to today is one of her bestsellers. She has a cookie version of it and it is a must-try, if you have not tried it yet. Recently, she expanded her offerings to include savory food so now you can have a complete dining experience, from appetizer to dessert. Karen now has a new home in Pasig, a home just like in a fairytale, which you shouldn’t miss. “I like the TV show Little House on the Prairie,” shares Karen, adding that this is where she got her inspiration for the new Karen’s Kitchen. Her friend, Joi Santos Cutter, interpreted her vision and designed the place and its interiors. It is the warm and cozy interiors that will make you want to enjoy the food and ambiance with friends and family. You will be surrounded by photos, quotes and an assortment of pieces she collected during her travels. All her dishes are so well thought out and every dish is so pretty, just like her. You will see a lot of hearts — heart-shaped dinnerware and heart-shaped food made with a lot of love. I go to a restaurant to have a good meal and that is what I came for when I visited Karen’s Read More …

Apr 082015
Fast, then feast on bacalao

Culinary heritage shared by all of Spain’s former colonies in the Americas and the Philippines: Bacalao ala vizcaina, aka bacalao con tomate What is bacalao, anyway? It is the Spanish name of codfish found in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. Locally, the imported fresh/frozen kind is known by its Japanese name gindara, while the Portuguese call it bacalhau, and the French morue. As discussed in my previous column, Spanish culture and language are so deeply rooted in our daily lives, more than we realize, especially so in the Catholic religion we believe in and the attendant food we eat following the religious calendar. We have food groupings that appear only on such special occasions: town fiestas, baptisms, wakes, Christmas, and the just-concluded cuaresma or 40 days of Lent. The practice of fasting and/or giving up certain types of luxuries is a form of penance during Lent, in particular abstaining from eating any type of meat. Though we faithful are obligated to fast and abstain from eating meat only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, a lot of devout Catholics practice varying degrees and forms of self-imposed sacrifice, the most common of which is having meatless Fridays during the whole of Lent. Ergo, have you ever wondered why many Filipino households would have munggo soup and tuyô (dried salted fish) on Fridays, some not just during Lent but even as a year-round practice? And, in a strange twist of faith (sic, fate, pun intended), in a small fishing village Read More …

Apr 012015
Mix it right with Vita Prep 3

Vitamix Vita-Prep 3 efficiently process fruits and veggies into healthy drinks. MANILA, Philippines – Vitamix’s Vita-Prep 3 can do the job of a food processor and whip up delicious handcrafted drinks. In the Philippines, Vita-Prep 3 and other Vitamix blenders are distributed by Technolux, a distributor of a complete line of equipment with over a hundred brands under its four main product categories: foodservice equipment, smallwares, laundry, and ingredients and consumables. Vita-Prep 3 can be used in different ways, from crushing the toughest whole foods into a smooth puree, to chopping delicate ingredients to a perfect texture. Its patented, high-impact container and powerful motor is capable of perfectly chopping, grinding, and blending any kind of food. It likewise answers the needs of the health-conscious set that rely on efficient blenders to process fruits and vegetables.  When used to blend and puree, the water content and the food do not separate.  The result is a smooth, rich and delicious texture  that is a delight to take with every gulp. Meanwhile, an advanced cooling fan resists overheating thus enabling the product to continuously run smoothly even when service is busy. Vitamix’s Vita-Prep 3 is backed by a component warranty that covers additional parts like blade assembly and container. Lifestyle Feature ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: Technolux Bldg. is located at 2176 Primo Rivera St., barangay La Paz, Makati City. For information, call 896-4941 or 8994531  or visit

Mar 252015
Halo-halo Ispesyal at Mangan

MANILA, Philippines – Mangan offers its halo-halo this summer. The ingredients of the halo-halo include minatamis na saging, minatamis na camote, crunchy pinipig, macapuno, monggo beans, langka, nata de coco, kidney beans and gulaman topped with ube, leche flan and ice cream. Add the creaminess of fresh milk. Also try the mais con yelo, fresh fruit shakes and fresh fruit platter. Mangan is located at North Edsa, 332- 2320; Mall Of Asia, 556- 2783; Robinsons Ermita, 400-4784; Robinsons Galleria, 470-6353; and Glorietta, 625- 5288. * * * Free buffet for graduates at Cabalen Cabalen, the “eat-all-you-can, eat-all-you-want” restaurant for over 28 years, is a prime venue for after-grad salu-salo. Graduates get a free buffet when they dine with five friends or family until April 30. The Cabalen graduation feast offers over 50 dishes to choose from. Indulge in Cabalen’s extensive spread, from signature mains kare-kare, gatang kuhol, and beringhe, to new dishes pancit pusit and tortang bangus. This summer, Cabalen highlights its halo-halo bar, where one can mix your own halo-halo. Other desserts are guinomis, saging con yelo and fruit shakes. Cabalen is located at West Ave., Quezon City, 372-3515; SM Megamall, 633-1761; Robinsons Place, 536-7987; Alabang Town Center, 809-6698;  TriNoma Mall, 901-3602;  Glorietta 2, 893-9884; SM Mall of Asia, 556-4874; SM North Edsa, 294-7970; SM Fairview, 374-0843; Robinsons Starmills, San Fernando, Pampanga, (045) 875-2064; SM Bacoor, (046) 484-9434; SM City Cebu, (032) 238-5840; SM City, Clark, (045) 499-0245; Harbor Point Ayala Mall, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, (045) 499-0245; Market! Read More …

Mar 182015
7 restaurants to represent the Philippines in global culinary event

MANILA, Philippines – Today, March 19, French diplomatic representations and restaurants from all over the world, including the Philippines, will be celebrating French cuisine and gastronomy through Goût de France, or Good France. Upon the initiative of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and world-renowned chef Alain Ducasse, 1,300 chefs have been selected to participate in this campaign to offer a French dinner that would pay tribute to the culinary tradition of France, which values high quality, innovative, and environmentally responsible cuisine. According to French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Laurent Fabius,  “France’s heritage is its cuisine, its wines. The gastronomic meal of the French has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2010, but it is a heritage that should not simply be contemplated, glorified and savored; it is a heritage that should be built upon and showcased.” Inspired by Auguste Escoffier, who launched the “Dîners d’Épicure” (Epicurean Dinners) initiative — the same menu, the same day, in several world cities and aimed at as many diners as possible — in 1912, Goût de France/Good France reproduces that idea with the desire to involve restaurants all around the world. Chef Michel Herbert of Le Bistro d’Agathe, chef Ronnie Reyes of Bizu Patisserie, chef Cyrille Soenen of Brasserie Ciçou, chef Marc Aubry of Champêtre, chef Kevin Endaya of Lemuria, chef Thomas Wenger of Restaurant 101, and chefs Bettina Arguelles and Denis Vecchiato of Spiral have been screened and chosen by a committee of experts Read More …

Mar 112015
Recipe File: Create special moments at home with an easy-to-cook recipe from Glad

MANILA, Philippines – Busy homemakers and career women can still create special moments during meal time as Glad, which has wrap bags and containers, takes the burden off meal planning chores by offering these easy-to-prepare recipes for family gatherings and special occasions. This dish was developed by chefs from San Miguel Culinary Center with the help of Glad Non-stick Aluminum Foil, which can be used for grilling, roasting, steaming or baking delicate food like fish and cheesy pasta. MUSHROOM AND BEEF CHEESY RAVIOLI Ingredients (filling): 2 tbsps. Magnolia Gold butter (unsalted) 2 tbsps. chopped onions 1 tbsp. chopped garlic                                                                                            Lifestyle Feature ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1/2 cup minced button mushrooms 1/2 cup minced shiitake mushrooms 1/4 kg. Monterey ground beef 1 tsp. iodized fine salt 1 tsp. pepper Ingredients (ravioli): 2 cups Magnolia all-purpose flour 3 pcs. Magnolia brown eggs 2 tbsps. olive oil 1 tbsp. iodized fine salt For the sauce: 2 tbsps. Magnolia Nutri-Oil 1/2 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup minced garlic 1 cup canned tomatoes 1 tbsp. Italian spice 1 tsp. iodized fine salt 1 tsp. pepper 1 (185g) pack Magnolia Quickmelt cheese, grated Procedure: 1. Heat butter in a pan over medium heat. Sauté onions, garlic, mushrooms, beef, salt and pepper for 5 minutes. Set aside. For the ravioli: 1. Combine ingredients. Mix until a dough forms. Wrap with Glad Cling Wrap and rest for 30 minutes. For the sauce: 1. Heat oil in saucepan. Sauté onions, garlic, tomatoes, Italian spice, salt and Read More …