June means Independence month for the Philippines. It is the time dedicated to honoring all of the sacrifices that were made in the name of the freedom of our country. Among those who facilitate the remembrance of our heritage are restaurants and hotels who offer the best Filipino food.
F1 Hotel Manila is at the forefront in honoring Filipino food and uplifting Philippine cuisine. They hold an annual Filipino feast entitled LuzViMinda. It is an acronym for Philippines’ island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Now on its 5th year, their theme is called Gastronomical Fusion. Classic Filipino and/or heirloom dishes were recreated to adjust to the modern palate. Such display of creativity was possible through the guest chefs: Mikel Zaguirre (Locavore), Dennis Uy (MexiMama), and Kale Chan (Museum Café). They each represent Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao respectively. Spearheading them is Executive Chef Decker Gokioco.
LuzViMinda Gastronomical Fusion Dishes
Salad and Appetizers
They have a beautiful spread of salads and appetizers composed of the following:
- Kinilaw na Tanigue (Tanigue Fish Ceviche)
- Embutido Toast (Filipino Style Meatloaf Toast)
- Devilled Tukneneng (Devilled Quail Egg)
- Ensaladang Penoy (Hard Boiled Duck Egg Salad)
- Pakwan Salad (Watermelon Salad)
GRILLED BAGAYBAY ON OYSTERS
The moment I laid my eyes on these I knew I would love them even if I didn’t know what bagaybay is. We only learned what it was after asking around.
It turns out bagaybay is a fish’s sperm (seminal fluid of a fish’s gonad). I know eating it may sound strange. However, it has a pleasantly oceanic taste plus chewy texture that some may find to their liking.
The dolloped teriyaki sauce complements the subtle smoky flavor it acquired from grilling. Meanwhile, a drop of lime along with the combination of the garnishes certainly boosts its flavor.
Another eye-catching spread is the seafood section with the huge tuna fish in the backdrop. The seafood displayed can be cooked based on one’s preference or can be eaten as it is. I personally slurped plenty of those oysters.
I’ve seen a lot of renditions of Sisig (Filipino dish made of pig’s head and liver) but it is my first time encountering it as a fried roll.
Thin crepe pastry skin called lumpia wrapper envelops the sisig filling that has just the right crunch. It is coupled with a sour and savory dip that adds the tanginess it may lack.
Honestly, I don’t like deep fried rolls that much but this lumpiang sisig is an exception. Not only is this the perfect bar chow for me, it’s a great way to present it to those who are squeamish of trying it.
Chicken Inasal is probably my favorite chicken dish of all time and their rendition of this Bacolod classic did not disappoint. The chicken is prepared with a distinctive marinade of various spices then grilled. Thus, the tasty meat has a beautiful blistered skin.
This chicken dish is readily available but you still should definitely try this version.
CRISPY PATA ROULADE
Philippine cuisine is known for some of the world’s best pork dishes and I think the innovated crispy pata (pork leg) dish should be added. It has a crunchy, deep-fried exterior thanks to its breadcrumb coating. The succulent meat is tender but does not fall apart just like how it should be.
Pair it up with a soy sauce mix or liver sauce and you’re good to go. Also, did I mention that dish is boneless?
This version was widely accepted which is evident in the photo above. Me-An also prefers this version more because she finds the original version’s crunchy rind to be too oily for her taste.
If fried dishes is not your thing, you should consider trying this out instead. Its appearance certainly closely resembles the famous pork adobo
The difference of it I think is that the golden brown pork belly noticeably swims in its own oil. Plus, it has mellow tasting white beans that blends with the dish’s delicious balanced taste of sweet and savory.
Eat it with a hard boiled egg for a tasty combination that will make you come back for more.
SALMON IN PHYLLO PASTRY AND LATO TEMPURA
We didn’t notice this dish until our food blogger friend, Bettina, gave her “Bett na Bett” approval for this. The seasoned salmon is wrapped in layers of airy and flaky phyllo pastry. Much of the flavors though are drawn from the salted egg flavor incorporated in the pastry.
Tempura battered lato (an edible seaweed commonly known as sea grape) adds a popping sensation that astonishingly matches with the salmon.
It is not the first time we had tried this classic chicken dish from Mindanao. The chicken is made more exciting through the burnt coconut mixed with aromatic spices and chili.
This dish will make you realize that there are a lot more delicious Filipino food out there waiting to be discovered.
Other main courses to try:
Adobong Short Ribs sa Gata
I‘ve eaten Adobo more times than I could count since it’s one of those to go dishes of Filipino people regardless of the occasion. It usually has a dark color thanks to the use of soy sauce. However, it is the first time I’ve encountered gata (or coconut milk) is used instead giving the dish a creamy flavor and texture. The use of short ribs is a good choice since it’s tender and is very rich in flavor.
Cochinillo de Cebu
How does roasted suckling pig sound to you? As expected, chefs from Visayas used their Lechon making prowess in delivering one of the most delicious roasted pig I’ve tasted. The skin is irresistibly crispy and perfectly seasoned, while the meat is super tender and juicy. I was able to enjoy it even without any sauce even if there are sauces offered.
UBE OTAP NAPOLEONES
This is a marriage of the distinct qualities of the otap and napoleones desserts. Thus, custard cream is sandwiched between flaky puff pastry. Flavored with ube (or purple yam), not only does it look good but it also tastes good as well.
I got excited when I learned that this is a cheesecake because I’m a huge fan of the thing. At the same time, I was also curious because of its blackish (papaitum) color.
It has a scorched taste to it. I’m not sure if they used black glutinous rice or toasted rice for it. What I’m sure of is that it has a burnt grated coconut at the bottom and is topped with grated coconut and fresh coconut slices. Overall, the dessert tastes and look more like a traditional Filipino rice delicacy than an actual cheesecake just to set your expectation.
DURIAN PANA COTTA
As you dive into this creamy dessert, a strong Durian taste will greet you. If you’re a fan of durian, pana cotta, or both, you should try these out.
Other desserts to try:
Langka (or jack fruit) is infused to the custard filling of the pillowy meringue. It easily became one of my all time favorite desserts.
Kamote fries with caramel
Kamote Fries is a favorite merienda (afternoon meal) for me and my family. I’m glad it took center stage in LuzViMinda as well. Fried sweet potato is placed in a shot glass with caramel sauce at the bottom which served as the dip. You can eat already the kamote fries without the sauce since it already has a sweet coating. The caramel sauce is still a nice addition for a richer taste.
Admittedly, being able to try some of the best cuisines in the world has led us astray from our roots. I’m really happy that F1 hotel’s Luzviminda and the amazing chefs mentioned helped us rekindle or make our love stronger for Filipino cuisine, one of the most diverse and best cuisines in the world.
You can try out the LuzViMinda gastronomic fusion buffet experience right now until the 30th of June in F1 Hotel at BGC for only Php 1699 (or USD 40) nett per person.
F All-Day Dining
Third Floor, Best Western Premier F1 Hotel, 32nd Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
- 6 AM to 10 AM
- 11 AM to 2:30 PM
- 6 PM to 10 PM
For reservations and inquiries, call 908-7888 or visit www.f1hotelmanila.com.
Thank you to the KTG (Kain Tulog Gang) family and to F1 Hotel BGC for our F1LuzViMinda experiential stay. Please stay tuned for the part 2 of this blog post.