National food month to celebrate culinary heritage of the Philippines

Preparing the giant paella at Paella Gigante which kicked off Flavors of the Philippines. The event was held last March 11 at Greenbelt Makati.
A giant paella being cooked at Greenbelt 3 Park in Makati

With Lent soon coming to an end, the Philippines is celebrating its culinary heritage throughout the month of April.

A mouth-watering calendar of events is planned across the country to mark Philippine Food Month, including cook-offs, food bazaars, tasting events and other festivities.

Organised by the Department of Tourism, “Flavors of the Philippines” is now in its third year and was launched with a ‘Paella Gigante’ at Greenbelt 3 Park in Makati City. Crowds gathered to watch a group of chefs create an 11ft round paella, cooked in the traditional manner over charcoal and firewood.

Here are some more culinary events being held this month:

In National Capital Region, there are two events ongoing until April 30: “Smokey Tour” will walk visitors through the market area of Old Manila with merchandise ranging from medicinal herbs, birds and clothing to digital , open every day except Wednesdays. “Glimpse of Filipino Culture,” is a cultural exhibit in Art Gallery Sining Kamalig in Quezon City; Other events include “Sabado Mercado” in San Juan City, “All Natural Health Fair” and “Vegan Fair” in Lucky Chinatown, week-end fair “Cheese and Deli Festival” and international cuisine fair “Taste the World at Eastwood City” at Eastwood City.

There will also be “Culinary Weekend Fair” at SM North Edsa, as well as culinary sessions and food tasting with outstanding chefs called “Food Meets Fun: Chef Creations.”  There will be a “Tapas Night” at Green Sun Hotel in Makati; “Dessert,” an extraordinary confectionaire dégustation at Le Petit Souffle at SM Megamall; and “Flavors of Brunch at Forbes Town” that aims to draw attention to the brunch dishes and pairings on the menu from participating restaurants within Forbes Town in BGC, Taguig.

The Cordillera Region will mount “Flavors of Cordillera” which will feature local specialities fused with mainstream recipes.

The will host several bangus-related activities like “Bangus Rodeo” and “The Search for Ms. Tisang Bangus’” in Dagupan, Pangasinan.

It is a gigantic celebration for Central Luzon as two of their event highlights are the “Giant Bringhe,” a 15ft diameter variation of famous Arroz Valenciana and “Giant Bucket of Chicharon,” which should be self-explanatory. There will also be food and gourmet fairs, cook-off challenges and food truck fest with concerts and shows hosted by different parts of the region.

Calabarzon will parade the “Pamana ng Quezon Kulinarya”, featuring the heirloom recipes of Quezon, along with a photographic and recipe exhibition entitled “Cavite: Culinary Destination.”

Aside from food fairs and buffet, the Bicol Region will host a one-day event called “Kinalas Y Kinolor,” which will highlight the art and culinary preparation of ‘kinalas’ mami, a uniquely Naguena noodle-based dish.

Central Visayas, along with its Kadaugan Festival, will highlight its own Cebu-grown restaurants through “Flavors of Mactan” and “Sugbo Flavors,: featuring a Cebuano chef and Cebu’s best dishes and delicacies.

For Negros Island Region, it’s all about the sweet favorite mango with their “Mango Festival” to be held at SM Bacolod City.

Zamboanga Peninsula will once again have their “Savores” (chavacano term for ‘flavours’) comprised of two activities namely “Savores Expo,” featuring the cooking skills of the local chefs, and “Savores Dine,” highlighting the different specialties of Zamboanga.

Northern Mindanao will have “Humba de Oro Festival,” where different COHARA member establishments will display their own variations of Humba. Humba de Oro is a stewed pork dish similar to Filipino adobo, only the former is sweet, sour and salty.

To celebrate Davao’s gastronomic treasures, the Davao region will hold “Flavors of Davao” at their SM supermalls

Soccskargen will have their “Seslong Festival” at Kule Gono on the way to Lake Holon and “Mahin Festival – 4Gs (Great Glan Gourmet Getaway)” at Glan, Sarangani Province. This aims to highlight the food offerings and specialties or participating restaurants in Glan where Sarbay Fest, the largest beach festival, is held.

Various Moro-inspired like spiced curry beef paella negra valenciana line the kiosks during last year’s Savores in Zamboanga City.