A feast of Kapampangan food
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Kapampangan food — or what evolved from the time of precolonial Kapampangan society leader Malangsik — took center stage in the celebration of the 446th Foundation Day of Pampanga province.
The province’s culinary heritage — displayed not in a museum but as genuine dishes and delicacies — grabbed national attention on Dec. 7 when President Rodrigo Duterte joined a feast laid out by the provincial government and Culinarya Pampanga, a newly formed group of Kapampangan chefs and restaurateurs.
The menu was a gourmand’s delight, whether as authentic Pampanga recipes or as fusion meals.
It started off with “pako” (fern) salad, then “bulanglang sugpo” for soup and followed by crispy “okoy,” “pitichan,” “tidtad,” “sisig,” “burong hito” and hito fillet, “rolliza” and tamales.
The main course consisted of pork belly “bringhe,” “kilayin,” “morcon,” “kamaro” tacos, “relyenong batute,” “pindang damulag,” “pancit luglug,” “asadong dila,” chicken galantina, “kalderetang kambing” and “lechon.”
The choices for dessert were “bibingka,” “puto bumbong,” “duman kalame,” “mochi,” “tibok-tibok,” “ensaymada,” “tsokolate batirol,” “sampelot,” “buko” pandan salad and “lelot mais.” Drinks were limited to “sago’t gulaman,” “ginumis” and lemongrass coolers.
Mr. Duterte told about 1,000 guests at the food festival that he was no stranger to Kapampangan cuisine. He got a taste of what he described as “really very delicious food” from his closest friends in the Lising clan in Davao.
“Unlike those in the Visayas and Davao which have simpler cuisines, Pampangueños have the best in the Philippines because of the native talent and extreme expertise of Kapampangan when it comes to food,” he said after the chefs filled his table with small servings of their specialties.
At one point, he stopped his speech midway, coughing at the saltiness of “chicharon.”
According to historians, Kapampangan food was the result of various cultural influences in the province’s colonial past, the soil’s richness and local farmers’ toil.
Gov. Lilia Pineda was elated about the attention drawn by the food festival.
She said she spotlighted the province’s cuisine to fulfill the dream of Culinarya Pampanga, led by Sau del Rosario, to make Pampanga the culinary capital of the country.
Culinarya Pampanga is composed of chefs Arceli Timbol (The Village Chef), Bong Sagmit (Century Hotel, Pigs and Pints and BBQ & Co.), Chloe Ann Cauguiran (25 Seeds, Cafe Fleur and Frida), Chris Locker (Amare in Royce Hotel), Dennis Lim (Denlim’s Kitchen) and Des Tanglao-Castro (Teaspoon Cafe).
Also in the group are Eric Rivera (25 Seeds and Cafe Fleur), Froi Cruz (Grand Palazzo Royale), Howard Dizon (Howard Dizon Catering), Josephine Mendoza (Tollhouse), Ramon Tang Jr. (Century Hotel), Judy Uson (Cafe Noelle), Claude Tayag (Bale Dutung), Patricia Tayag (Sweet Maven), Poch Jorolan (Everybody’s Cafe), Reinner Perez (System Plus College Foundation) and Vince Garcia (Rainforest Kichene).
Lilian Borromeo (Atching Lilian Borromeo), Ian Jocson (My Lola Nor’s Meryendahan), Norma Garcia (Taldawa Pipanganan Bibi Kambingan), Zeny Cunanan (Aling Lucing), Rex Soriano (Banh Mi), Nikki Wilkerson (Uni-Chefs) and Nico Bailon (Downtown Cafe) round up the talents of Culinarya.
Pineda said there are plans to hold the Kapampangan Food Festival in major cities next year.
“Sumikat talaga ang Pampanga sa pagkain (Pampanga got well known for its food),” she said.
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