Saturday, November 29, 2008

Filipino Cuisine Finally Gets Featured in Saveur, a Mainstream Culinary Magazine in the United States

Two days ago I received an urgent e-mail from an ardent foodie somewhere in North America. My unofficial correspondent noted that Filipino cuisine is featured in Saveur Magazine, a mainstream culinary magazine published monthly in the United States. It piqued my curiosity, and so I joined the holiday crowds snatching bargains during the annual Black Friday shopping spree, and bought a copy of the December issue of Saveur from Barnes & Noble in Burbank, California.

This is a major development, not only for foodies like me, but also for the entire Filipino ex-pat community in the United States. This seminal event deserves the support of food-loving Filipinos living in North America. We can make it better by buying a copy of the December issue of Saveur to make an impression on the magazine's publishers. If even just a quarter of the estimated 3 to 4 millions Filipinos living in North America bought a copy of the December issue of Saveur, it would make a huge impression on its publishers and show how large a consuming public we really are. Hopefully, with that show of support, we could enlighten the path of other mainstream publications in North America to pay attention to our unique culinary traditions, as well as other attractive aspects of our beautiful country. Tourism is the first thing that comes to mind. And while we are on the subject, why don't I suggest culinary tourism?

Surfing through the food and cooking blogspots emanating from the Philippines, I have discovered to my delight that it has made quantum leaps in its culinary evolution. Following a North American fascination with the new celebrity darlings -- chefs, cooks, and cooking advocates -- the Philippines is making huge strides in showcasing what can be considered one of its national pastimes: foods and holiday feasts. This renewed focus on foods and cooking has not escaped the attention of foods and cooking icons, from Andrew Zimmern, who brought his Travel Channel show, "Bizarre Foods", to the Philippines last year and merrily sampled the country's uncommon delicacies -- from baluts in Pateros, Rizal, to raw coconut tree worms in Palawan. And there's more. This coming January or early February, chef Tony Bourdain, an irreverent and funny foods and lifestyle commentator cum traveler, who enjoys a widespread following in the country, will unveil a full "Without Reservations" show on Filipino cuisine -- from chef Claude Tayag's home-restaurant destination in Pampanga, the country's culinary epicenter, to Talisay's (in Cebu province) famous pig lechon. These developments are creating a buzz among foodies everywhere, and they augur well for the country. The Philippines is finally getting its just desserts.

The nine-page spread in Saveur is titled "DAYS OF FEASTING" and is chockful of color photographs taken by David Hagerman and written by Robyn Eckhardt. The feature focuses on the Christmas holiday culinary traditions in the province of Pampanga and the article also showcases four recipes on Ensaimada, Adobong Manok, Ulang sa Gata and Pinakbet. That's just a peek of the entire feature article, enough to tease your appetite and make you run to your closest newsstand or bookstore to buy a copy. We hope that you could do your patriotic bit and get yourself a copy of the December issue of Saveur. My gosh, at five bucks, that's cheaper than some of McDonald's burger lunch combos.

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