Saturday, October 19, 2013

Best of Northern food featured in MarQuee Mall’s Big Bite!

The organizers and VIP guests strew the toppings of giant Capampangan biringhe that formally opens the BIG BITE! The Northern Food Festival at the park of MarQuee Mall in Angeles City, Pampanga.

Having the first bite of giant biringhe
The best of the Philippines’ northern cuisine took centerstage in “Big Bite! The Northern Food Festival” at MarQuee Mall in Angeles City, Pampanga. Held from October 18-20, 2013, the three-day festival presented visitors with a food market filled with vendors from across the regions, cooking demonstrations, cook-offs between culinary schools, an heirloom recipe contest, food eating contests and more.
The hosts of ABS-CBN Umagang Kay Ganda morning TV show joined the launching of the BIG BITE!

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The event kicked off with the cooking of giant biringhe, the Kapampangan specialty dubbed as the local version of Spanish paella. Pampanga’s native son Chef Sau del Rosario, celebrity Chef Rolando Laudico and Pampanga’s culinary historian Lillian Borromeo, led the cooking of the heritage dish, stirred in a giant paellera measuring 11-feet in diameter. The giant biringhe welcomed visitors and guests, including Ayala Land executives, Department of Tourism Regional heads, Pampanga Government Officials, Department of Trade and Industry Regional Directors and MNTC Officers.

Chef Sau del Rosario later headlined the afternoon’s cooking demo. Sabrina Artadi, star of Asian Food Channel’s Sabrina’s Kitchen, led the cooking demo for Saturday, October 19. Chef Boy Logro, of Kusina Master and Idol sa Kusina fame, regaled visitors with his cooking demo on October 20.

This Ilocos version of tupig is massive and thick. A piece of this has filled enough space in my stomach.

Big Bite! offered visitors a food-packed market of specialties from across the different northern regions. The Ilocos Norte B.R.A.I.N. had six booths of bagnet, okoy, Ilocos empanada and other food products. Empanada de Norte, Vigan longganisa from Juan Longganisa, Chocolate de Batirol from Baguio, Pangasinan meal dishes from Pangasinan Food Specialties and Bella’s Puto Calasiao from Pangasinan were among the available treats. CEC Food Ventures from Tuguegarao offered local condiments. Kalinga Food Treat offered local delicacies, Unoy Rice coffee, and Unoy Champorado. Kalinga’s famous organic mountain coffees were available from VBS Food Products and Magallaya Mountain Specialty Coffee.
Bulacan offered goodies from Cristy’s Chicharon and milk products from Sta. Maria dairy Farmers. King & Queen Fruits served things fresh from Nueva Vizcaya.

Lobes and strips of freshly scraped buko (young coconut) meat are laid underneath these scoops of luscious coco ice cream.
As the Philippine’s culinary center, Pampanga was well-represented by Kapampangan restaurant Apag Marangle, Kuliat with their delicious empanada, Nathaniel’s with its famous fresh buko pandan salad and siomai, Susie’s Cuisine which is famous for tibok-tibok and pancit palabok, and Kabigting’s Halo-Halo.

Magallaya Mountain's features its civet coffee (Robusta premium) and indigenous packaging, all ready for the Yuletide season of gift giving.  Ms. Lita  B. Degay (in the picture), tirelessly retold and retold the stories on how she started collecting the precious droppings of civet cats in the forested mountains of Cordillera when she was just a little girl till she opened her small business using her personal savings (no loans). Now, the business is a promising business and would likely succeed with the help of some agencies, and by this time with the BIG BITE!

Culinary schools went head to head in a cooking battle judged by industry experts. Students from the Philippine Women’s University (PWU), Angeles University Foundation (AUF), NorthPoint Academy for Culinary Arts, Systems Plus College, and Bulacan State University showed off their skills in the daily culinary cook offs.

Romana's peanut brittle

The family heirloom recipe contest awarded P20,000 to the best Pinoy sweets recipe handed down through generations. Judges from Appetite Magazine, Restaurateurs and ISCAHM Officers, went through food entries submitted from C.A.R, Region I, Region II and Region III.

The turrones de casoy of Ocampo Lansang Delicacies from Sta. Rita, Pampanga is cleverly rolled in edible bondpaper-like wrapper made with flour. No need to unwrap, you can chew the whole piece. 

The food festival also featured Big Banquet where a minimum of P500 receipt from any MarQuee Mall store entitles foodies to sample delectable treats from participating stalls for free everyday from 6:00-8:00 PM.

Killing time is fun while having a pack of Paning's butong pakwan (watermelon seeds).

MarQuee Mall’s Big Bite! The Northern Food Festival is staged in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry, Manila North Tollways Corporation, Asian Food Channel, Cignal Digital TV, and Mercato Centrale Group.

A canister of buttery Rico's lengua de gato (cat's tongue).  The cookie would melt easily on your tongue. It's not exactly the French kiss.

Opened in 2009, MarQuee mall is just an hour’s drive from the metro and is strategically located adjacent to the Angeles exit of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). With over 400 shops, exclusive boutiques, restaurants and cinemas, It is the region’s premier destination for shopping, dining and entertainment.

Puto making in Calasiao, Pangasinan is now a multi million peso industry.  Try Bella's Calasio puto to find out the why it is like gold.

MarQuee Mall is the first mixed-use integrated community in the North. In celebration of Ayala Land’s 25th anniversary, MarQuee Mall brings together the community of Pampanga and nearby Northern Provinces staying true to Ayala Land’s promise of enhancing land and enriching lives.

For further details and inquiries, please contact:
Cell phone:  +639177527071 
Like and follow: 
Twitter: @MarQueetweets
Instagram: @iloveMarQueemall

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sneak Preview of the BIG BITE! - There's more on the upcoming 3-day food festival

The organizer of the sneak preview of Big Bite! Northern Food Festival with atchi Lilian Borromeo. 

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. 
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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:

  1. It is the largest Northern Food Festival ever.
  2. It is a food festival of regional cuisines in one location (see all the foods at the Marquee Mall of Angeles City in Pampanga).
  3. It at the Philippines’ culinary center – in the province of Pampanga.
  4. It’s at MarQuee Mall – the place for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
  5. 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.
  6. It is a big banquet. Get a free sample of nice foods here and there.
  7. Cheer on your favorite culinary school as they vie for the royale title among culinary schools.
  8. It is also about sharing of heirloom recipes from kitchen enthusiasts and let us all learn a lot from them.
  9. There is an eating contest in the event – a big welcome to big eaters!
  10. 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 
These shapely molds of buttery cookies from Pitang's Bakeshop & Cafe requires delicate handling as they would crumble when pressed by your fingers. This buttery cream cookie turned out to be a perfect pair for my morning black coffee. I suddenly acquired the craving every time I hold my coffee cup. I want more.
Apag Marangle's wrap sisig. A spoonful of Capampangan pork sisig wrapped in green ice lettuce. 

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About Edgie Polistico

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Author of Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary. A lexicographer since the age of 14.  Filipino Linguist. Blogger with 11 blog sites. Researcher of food culture, pop culture, places, structures, transportations, churches and whatever interest him about the Philippines. Visual artist. Photographer. Traveler who had been to all four corners of the Philippine archipelago, and still setting more footprints. 

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