Last week, I was invited to join the group of media people that included us bloggers to cover the sneak preview of “BIG BITE! The Northern Food Festival” at the MarQuee Mall in Angeles City.
|The MarQuee Mall of Angeles City, Pampanga|
|Some of the featured regional delicacies: (right to left) Bella's puto Calasiao, Tollhouse clubhouse sandwhich, Kuliat empanada, and the Sweet Heaven's Nueva Ecija's leche flan.|
The organizer provided a free ride and I chose to hop in at the designated pick up point at SM Makati open parking area in Makati City. In the car, I met new foodie friends, among them were Az Coladilla of Azrael's Merryland Blog and Kenny Ngo of Life is Kulayful and her brother, Kirk Ngo. I also met Enzo Luna of Juan Manila Express, Joy Felizardo of Gastronomy by Joy, Jill Gundayao of Sun Star, and Anne Tachado of UP Los Baños. It was a surprise when Az told me he is an avid reader of my food blogs.
|My newly found foodie friends, among them are Az Coladilla of Azrael's Merryland Blog and Kenny Ngo of Life is Kulayful and her brother, Kirk Ngo. I also met Enzo Luna of Juan Manila Express, Joy Felizardo of Gastronomy by Joy, Jill Gundayao of Sun Star, and Anne Tachado of UP Los Baños.|
|Everybody has each share of every food presented in the event.|
After an hour of travel, we reached the MarQuee Mall and proceeded to the venue in the second floor. RJ Ledesma of Mercato Centrale did all the talking as host for the event that morning.
Then atching Lilia Borromeo, the iconic Capampangan from Mexico, Pampanga became the center of attraction when she demonstrated the conventional process of making her heirloom recipe of the famous Panacillos de San Nicolas (San Nicolas cookies). She brought along and presented before us her prized collection of carved wooden molds, passed on from generation to generation. She inherited those wooden baking implements from her old folks, some even dating back to 17th century.
|Atching Lilia Borromeo, the iconic Capampangan from Mexico, Pampanga demonstrates the conventional process of making her heirloom recipe of the famous Panacillos de San Nicolas (San Nicolas cookies).|
All our lenses were aimed at her and her wooden family treasure that she used in actual molding of the legendary cookie and told us some narratives on how the cookie-making started in Pampanga and why most of the delicacies in this province would use plenty of egg yolks. Atching Lilia retold the story on what happened to all the egg whites during the Spanish era in Pampanga – they were used as binding agent in mixing the plaster for the masonry works and constructions of stone churches in Pampanga.
The word atching before her name of is not actually a designation of ranks or position but the Capampangan way of addressing a woman who is older than you, from the Chinese Hokkien a-chi. It is also the origin of Tagalog ate, now customarily used when addressing your elder sister.
The host of the sneak preview impressed me a lot with the exotic Capampangan delicacies they presented to us. I was lucky to have some of the Capampangan ebun a barag (egg of bayawak), betute tugac (stuffed edible frog), sauteed camaru (mole cricket), tibok-tibok(carabao milk pudding), etc. Some of the photos I have taken now appear in my blog Philippine Food Illustrated.
|The betute tugac (stuffed edible frog). Joy Felizardo of Gastronomy by Joy, kisses her prince frog before it goes down to her stomach|
|The tugak (edible frog) are chopped and cooked with chili and garlic. At least, in this exotic dish, you are not staring at the nasty image of spreading legs and bulging belly of the frog.|
|Sauteed Capampangan camaru (mole crickets). This one is moistened by the juice of the chopped tomatoes and onions. I rather like the pan-roasted or dry-adobo version, but they are not around.|
|Closer look at camaru (mole cricket). It is the dreaded timus of the Cebuanos.|
|RJ Ledesma samples ebun a barag (egg of bayawak)|
|The contents of ebun a barag (egg of bayawak)|
The official date for the food festival is from October 18, 2013 to October 20, 2013. BIG BITE! The Northern Food Festival would be the biggest culinary celebration of Luzon this year. The food market is participated with over a hundred vendors representing the provinces of Pampanga, Benguet (particularly Baguio City), Bataan, Bulacan, Cagayan Valley, Ilocandia (Ilocos sur and Ilocos norte), La Union, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Zambales, including Metro Manila.
|The other featured delicacies are the Capampangan delicacies that include: (left to right) the Apag Marangle's wrap sisig, Pampanga's Best tocino, Nathaniel's buko-pandan salad, and Susie's cuisine's tibok-tibok.|
BIG BITE! will host to a number of exciting events that include cooking demos by famous culinary icons, cooking competition among culinary schools, demonstration contest of heirloom recipes, food eating contest (my favorite), food sampling (my other favorite), and many more. If you are fond of taking pictures or an aspiring food blogger, you are very much welcome to witness all the events and take all the pictures you want for your next blog and brag about it next time you update your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, etc..
This coming October 18, 19, and 20, bring the whole family to the magnificent BIG BITE! The Northern Food Festival. Get your gang ready, grab a date with someone special, or have the office sign up for a road trip (better yet, a food trip). It is a glorious Filipino food celebration that promises to surpass all food feasts before it. Some of the reasons why, would include the following:
- It is the largest Northern Food Festival ever.
- It is a food festival of regional cuisines in one location (see all the foods at the Marquee Mall of Angeles City in Pampanga).
- It at the Philippines’ culinary center – in the province of Pampanga.
- It’s at MarQuee Mall – the place for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
- Food legends will take the center stage – see for yourself chef Rolando Laudico, chef Sau del Rosario, Sabrina Artadi, atching Lilian Borromeo, and other Filipino culinary icons.
- It is a big banquet. Get a free sample of nice foods here and there.
- Cheer on your favorite culinary school as they vie for the royale title among culinary schools.
- It is also about sharing of heirloom recipes from kitchen enthusiasts and let us all learn a lot from them.
- There is an eating contest in the event – a big welcome to big eaters!
- Live entertainment – nightly music from lived band.
Reminiscing back the sneak preview is to want more Capampangan and other delicacies and exotic dishes in central and northern Luzon. Among my finds in the sneak preview of the BIG BITE! are immortalized in the following photos:
| Nathaniel's buko-pandan salad. A luscious creamy cold delight of scraped young coconut meat and cubed pandan-flavored gelatin, smothered with creamy fresh milk and sweetened with sugar. |
|The Sweet Heaven's Nueva Ecija's leche flan|
|The Capampangan Kuliat empanada|
|What makes Kuliat empanada heavy is a thick filling of cheese bar with sliced ham. The name of this turnover pie is derived from the old town of Pampanga called Culiat. Years later after the Word War II, when the American soldiers settled in the area and built the Clark Airbase (now Clark Freeport Zone), the old town of Culiat became the Angeles City of Pampanga where you can find the MarQuee Mall, the venue of the BIG BITE! The Northern Food Festival . |
|The Kabigting's halo-halo is the pride of Arayat, Pampanga|
|Cristy's special Bulacan chicharon are curling with thin layer of toasted meat|
|The greaseless peanuts of Edelyn's has plenty of crisp fried garlic flakes|
|The Apag Marangle's lemongrass tea has the distinct flavor of tanglad grass herb.|
|The marzipan Honey & Daisy's Pastries (HDP) is filled with milky yema-like confection|
|This is the Capampangan's pepalukluk manuk (pinaluhod na manok in Tagalog). It is cooked sans the bed of rock salts.|
|The many colors of Bella's puto Calasiao, but they all taste the same.|
|Susie's cuisine's tibok-tibok topped with latik (browned residue of simmered coconut cream)|
|Susie's cuisine's sapin-sapin super delicious and it melts easily in the mouth .|
|Pampanga's Best tocino|
|Pampanga's Best tocino skewered in bamboo toothpick|
|A buttery pastry of Pitang's Bakeshop & Cafe|
| Apag Marangle's wrap sisig. A spoonful of Capampangan pork sisig wrapped in green ice lettuce. |