Islas Pinas, a Food Hall That Is Strictly Filipino
The flavors of the Philippines and the country’s popular landmarks have found a home inside a spacious 2,500 sqm food hall located at the DoubleDragon Plaza in Pasay City. The concept brings together traditional dishes from the different regions of the country, carefully curated under the expertise of no less than Chef Margarita Fores.
Here, you can find several stations that serve homegrown hits in a comfortable air-conditioned space that brings together elements of our rich heritage. You start off with SINAG, the Tagalog word for ‘ray of light’ offers all-day Filipino breakfast favorites like our tapsilog, tocilog, different types of Longanisas, and Batchoy, an Ilonggo noodle soup with pork offal, crushed pork cracklings and beef loin.
Just down the “street” is ALAMAT or legend, tells the story of the different regions of the Philippines through its signature dishes. Next door is BILAO, which is coined after the woven winnowing basket where comfort snacks like pansit (fried noodles) and puto (rice cakes) are usually served—we suggest lining up for the pancit Malabon!
There is even a Panaderya that offers neighborhood bakery goodies such as pan de sal and kalihim. Tusok-tusok was a popular station at the opening, as it offers urban street-food finds like barbecue on stick, isaw (grilled chicken intestines) and kwek-kwek (fried quail eggs). Pampang will allow guests to enjoy chosen fresh catch cooked to their preference, while Panulak is where the samalamig (cold drinks with different flavors) will be available, including fresh buko juice served in the coconut shell. There is also a dessert station that serves saba con yelo and a super-creamy halo-halo topped with ube ice cream and an honest-to-goodness barquillos stick. To add an even more Pinoy touch, mamang taho and a magbabalut are also present—at the same time—to offer their ambulant street food specials.
Chef Margarita, in her welcome remarks, said that the menu will change every day, and they try to be as authentic as they can get, by bringing in not chefs, but home cooks, who taught them how things are done in traditional kitchens. “It is the home cooks who cook these dishes the best, it is the nanays who prepare the meals that have been passed down through the years.” she explains.
The chef adds, “When they asked me to be part of this, I told them that it has always been a dream project for me to be able to do something that showcases everything from Batanes to Jolo in a big way.” Another impressive lady who lent her time and support to this project is Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat, who started out even with her capacity as Undersecretary of Agriculture.
They are planning to host activities at Islas Pinas and one of those that are in the pipeline are cooking demonstrations that highlight traditional dishes from different places in the country, to highlight our vibrant food culture.
As if the gustatory pleasures are not enough, you get to ‘gram to your heart’s content too, with artistic re-imaginings of familiar sites such as the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, Vigan’s Calle Crisologo, and a replica of the Ifugao Rice Terraces. Of course, the diorama would not be complete without a real-life jeepney, a vegetable kariton, and a sari-sari store located inside the premises, all of which are interactive displays that you can take your photos with. The venue will also feature modern and traditional cultural performances and games to ensure a fun and truly Pinoy ambiance, so it is best to be prepared for a rousing round of Tinikling on your visit here.
DoubleDragon Chief Investment Officer Hannah Yulo says that they hope to promote the Filipino culture not only to tourists, but also to the younger generations, by spurring their interests in Filipino food and traditions. “We want to inspire them to be proud of our heritage and in our own way, help them to understand what being Filipino is.”
Islas Pinas is located at the DD Meridian Park in the Bay Area along EDSA Extension and Macapagal Avenue, Islas Pinas.