This Dinner Let Guests Travel to 9 Provinces in 9 Courses
How do you celebrate the incredibly rich food culture of the Philippines? If you’re the country’s largest local hotel chain, you gather your head chefs and reinterpret some of the most famous Filipino dishes for a one-of-a-kind dining event.
That’s exactly what Megaworld Hotels and Resorts (MHR) did when it invited the executive chefs of its 11 hotels across the country in a themed dinner called The Modern Filipino Table. Held at LaMeza at the Kingsford Hotel Manila in Parañaque City, the nine-course dinner took guests on a culinary trip across nine provinces of the Philippines.
“We want to create and celebrate Filipino food that we love because it’s from our home,” shared Cleofe Albiso, managing director of MHR. “As a proud homegrown brand, we want to offer our very own.”
Chefs and executives of Megaworld Hotels and Resorts
The journey started with a bite out of a Baguio treat: a freshly baked soft raisin roll topped with crispy quinoa and the dark sweetness of molasses. It’s also made with cream cheese and softened butter, flavored with locally picked strawberries.
From Baguio: Raisin Bread with Strawberry Cream Cheese Butter
The appetizer was followed by a unique pasta based on Aklan’s freshest crab catch and Boracay’s famous choriburger. The sauce draws its flavors form seafood consomme and saffron cream and made more savory with the spinach tuile from a local harvest.
A few small bites of Laing Espesyal (Bicol), Pulpo Ala Plancha (La Union), and Chicharon Crusted Diver Scallops (Cebu) served as a detour before the entrée.
Laing Espesyal is a classic Bicolano dish in which taro leaves are braised in coconut milk for three hours and enhanced with scallop and prawn paste. Adding prawn and lechon kawali into it makes it an even more filling dish.
From Aklan: Crab Chorizo Tortellini with Seafood and Saffron Cream with Mushroom Tuile
La Union, known for its pugita or octopus, did not disappoint with a Spanish twist. The pulpo is poached until it is fork-tender, and then seared with “a la plancha” or grilled on a metal plate. It’s served with creamy celeriac butter, classic aioli, and smoked tomatoes.
Cebu was par for the course with a dish of stir-fried scallops with crusted chicharron, served with purple yam and corn puree with chorizo oil and Sriracha cheese. It is a perfect mix of Cebuano favorites: Bantayan Island’s scallops, Carcar’s chicharon, and Chorizo de Cebu.
The main course was a combination of two of Filipino kitchen mainstays: Davao’s Calderobo with Cacao Cheese and Nueva Ecija’s Prawns, Pumpkin, Edamame.
From Davao: Calderobo with Cacao Cheese and Nueva Ecija’s prawns, pumpkin, and Edamame
Mixing caldereta and adobo (Calderobo) makes a beef stew like no other where the sous vide beef cheeks are stuffed with Wagyu beef fat to create the most tender beef, and then braised in calderobo sauce. Elevating the richness of the flavors are homemade carabao’s milk cheese infused with cacao compote and heirloom vegetables.
As expected from the rice granary of the Philippines, Nueva Ecija was represented by a rice dish: tiger prawns cooked in a vacuum container and served with pumpkin-infused risotto, nutty and earthy edamame pods, and topped with Parmegiano Reggiano.
As all great adventures end with a breathtaking view, the gustatory journey came with the only and right choices for afters: a serving of Bulacan’s Pastillas Macaron, Macapuno Truffle, Espasol Praline, and Peanut Brittle Chicharon; and a plate of Iloilo sweets: Local Artisan Cheese, Batuan Marmalade, and Guimaras Mango Essence.
The Bulacan delicacies-inspired set of four exquisite bites was a fusion of classic local ingredients, presented European-style. The chewy French macaron was given the distinct sweet, milky flavor of pastillas de leche; the macapuno ball we all know was transformed into a truffle ball coated in white chocolate with a waft of roasted desiccated coconut; while the soft and chewy espasol rice cake got a praline makeover with a nutty chocolate coating. Ultimately, bringing a unique sweet-salty end was a piece of chicharron coated in glass sugar and cashew crunchies.
From Bulacan: Pastillas Macaron, Macapuno Truffle, Espasol Praline, peanut Brittle Chicharon
How do you put Iloilo on a dessert plate? First you place the finest cheese made from their carabao dairy farms. Then you add Iloilo’s very own batuan fruit to make sweet jam. For the final touch, create a compote made from Guimaras’ famous mangoes.
True to its Filipino brand, MHR’s Albiso noted that, “The Filipino cuisine is diverse and flavorful and comes with a unique story represented by its own signature dishes from different regions.”