Mindanao’s Cuisine Shines in Madrid Fusion Manila


So the country’s first and biggest international food congress just happened last week. Madrid Fusion Manila was a great experience as it was an impressive showcase of our local food industry and tourism. If there’s one thing that we can all learn from this previous event, it’s that we are a nation of bounty. We are rich in natural resources, in agriculture, and we are definitely rich in culinary talent.

Madrid Fusion Manila was the first of its kind in the country. It was an international gathering of the industry’s best that highlighted the Spanish-Filipino culinary ties, as well as the two countries’ individual food industries. There were presentations made by both the international celebrity chefs and our own local chefs at the SMX Convention Center throughout the weekend of April 24-26.

There were also regional lunches hosted by the Department of Agriculture, led by Undersecretary Berna Romulo Puyat. These lunches highlighted the 3 different cuisines of our 3 major islands: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Each regional lunch was curated by some of the top names in the food industry: cookbook author Angelo Comsti for Luzon, Pinoy Eats World founder JJ Yulo for Visayas, and Town and Country’s Executive Editor and author of Eat Out Now, Alicia Sy for Mindanao.

Due to time constraints, I was able to make it only to the Mindanao Regional Lunch.

Still, look at the enormous amount of food I was able to try in just one day! Some chefs prepared one featured dish, while others had two or more.

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Let’s start with the cheese spread by Malagos Farmhouse, from Davao.

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Here is Chef Carmina Del Rosario’s DAGAT: Aragu of imbao , bihod (roe), bagaybay (male egg sac), ubol-ubol (tendon) over strips of homemade pasta.

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Chef Carmina Del Rosario’s second dish was called Ikog or Balbacua—a rich stew made from braised oxtails and shanks in ginger, ground peanuts, red peppers, and spices and herbs from Davao.

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Chef Rolando Laudico prepared his Tuna Kilawin: tuna loin, suwa, tabon tabon. sea urchin roe, lato, sili labuyo, roasted bell peppers, virgin coconut oil.

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Chef Laudico’s second dish was Grilled Pineapple and Curacha Salad, which was made of curacha, coconut milk, lemongrass, pineapple, crab roe, heirloom tomatoes, Malagos goat cheese, cilantro, and coconut spiced vinegar.

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Chef Tippi Tambunting and Chef Alec Santos served Chicken Satti with Adlai (adlai, chicken, tomatoes and coconut).

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Chef Tippi Tambunting also served Endulsao Chavacano: braised pork belly and pickled radish over heirloom rice.

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Chef Jordy Navarra’s Kinilaw of Kitayama Beef was composed of beef from Bukidnon, tuna roe, biasong or kabayawa.

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Chef Mark Tan’s Salt Roasted Spiny Lobster Salad had Zamboanga spiny lobster in grilled chico fruit bisque, with chico and buttermilk.

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Chef Bruce Rickett’s Dirty Rice was made of Adlai, pig’s blood and offal. It was very similar to the traditional dinuguan!

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Desserts were aplenty too! I started with this one: Chef Jackie Laudico’s Trio of Mindanao Fruits and Cheeses. It had Durian Cheesecake, Malagos Chevre gougeres, with Banana Caramel and Pepato Crisps with Bignay Jam.

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This is Suman Panna Cotta, also by Chef Jackie Laudico. It was made of Adlai cake topped with coconut cream panna cotta.

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This Chocolate Dessert, again by Chef Jackie Laudico, was composed of molten tablea chocolate cake with cacao nibs, golden cashew meringue, and coconut sugar dulce de leche.

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Chef Ana de Ocampo’s Farmacy Ice Cream was also there! She served very Filipino flavors that highlighted our local ingredients.

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I tried her two flavors: Carabao Milk with Dayap, and Langka with Kasuy. Both were light, creamy and really delicious!

There was so much prepared for the Mindanao Regional Lunch, that it was simply impossible for me to try all the dishes. What I was able to photograph is only a sample of the entire feast!

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Congratulations to everyone who made this event happen! These are just some of the chefs and organizers… kudos especially to Alicia Sy, for organizing Mindanao’s well-curated regional lunch!

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Undersecretary Berna Puyat is flanked by chefs, organizers and student volunteers from Enderun Colleges.

Madrid Fusion Manila is a world-class event that showcased our country’s culinary resources. With Mindanao’s Regional Lunch, it was evident that this was a successful endeavor that added to the totality and success of the 3-day event that put our country on the global culinary centerstage. This event not only highlighted the abundance and variety of local produce and food products from the Philippines, but more importantly, it also showcased our talented and world-class chefs.

Madrid Fusion Manila accomplished something that has never been done before. It was able to show the world what the Philippines is capable of. Yes, our country, our people, our cuisine are now more than ready for the world!

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