Blessed with abundance of seafood and tropical fruits, Philippines had begun cooking simple dishes, adapted to suit the country's varied geography. Her plate mostly comprised by seafood, red meat and a ton of agricultural crops.
Over time, foreign influences have shaped Filipino dishes with blend of Chinese, Spanish and Malay that serve as living memory of the Country's rich cultural history.
And since the country reflects a wild blend of diversed culture, it somehow creates confusion. Some foreign food stylists have been known to position chopsticks alongside Filipino dishes, assuming that the country’s geographical origin uses chopstick as primary vehicle to carry food when it is in fact fork and spoon—even bare hands in some cases.
It is indeed that the spoon of the orient has an astonishing flavor of surprises. And since they are people who love to eat, their dedication to handcraft great tasting dishes is a perpetual affair that can be seen in multiple festivals.
Moreover, if you are a person who fancy local cuicines, you might want to check this humble restaurant serving authentic Filipino dishes.
Nestling within the heart of a small town in Sta. Mesa, not far from the bridge connecting Bacood to Mandaluyong, you may find "Indang Ising".
Some may assume that Filipino authentic dishes may only be savoured inside high-end restaurants or may only appear during prominent fiestas. Well, unbeknownst to many though, there are quite a few around the metro where you can actually explerience legit and authentic cuicines without spending tons of cash.
Indang Ising has been serving native dishes—mostly Kapampangan—since October 2017. Being established by two sisters, Meriam Padua and Cindy Surban—also known as owners of the Sabroso Restaurant—they have started to gain popularity as the spectrum of dishes they offer exhibits a taste of expertise from its birthplace: the culinary capital of the Phillippines, Pampanga.
Their dedication to handcraft ethical dishes is a never-ending passion that has been running through decades. Named after their great grand mother "Ising", the restaurant itself also reflects the owner inspirations to continue the highly sophisticated culinary tradittion of the family.
Inside lives a delightful marriage between antique frames and luxuries of modernity. Its an open-air dining with collection of wooden tables and chairs. The walls are garlanded by frames and the buoyancy of colors are uplifting and relaxing. It was designed by Meriam who happened to be the kitchen's head and an event enthusiast.
|A varied collection of frames is adding a more innovative, yet a classic character to the place.|
Looking at their menu is like roving the rich culinary flavors of the country. Though it may be challenging to predict the taste, with an awe-inspiring picture labeled with reasonable price is fair enough to find anybody's attention.
The menu also features a dedicated section for Boodle. Its a meal where a variety of tropical dishes is arranged to create drama on top of fresh banana leaves. Defined as military way of eating, Filipinos began to change it as boodle fight starts symbolizing friendship, camaraderie and equity. What makes it more interesting is the way people has to make their hands worked instead of utensils.
Feeling hungry, I went straight to longaniza and bagnet. And since I have this culture running to my veins, in a decisive manner, I quickly partnered it with rice. The taste, to say the least is astonishing.
The juicy and fatty, yet decadent oil squishing out of the chestnut-colored bagnet meat had brought excitement as I dip it countless times in a blend of fermented vinegar and lots of red chillies. It made me crave for almost a liter of iced tea but the experience makes it all worthy, setting up new standard to my tastebuds. Credit: Bagnet and Chorizo
Next, we tried their Bagnet Kare Kare which earned a lot of attention. It was served in palayok that has been known for its ability to neutralize natural flavors. I still remember how this ancient tool started to become ubiquitous as people tend to practice our ancestor's natural and healthy way of cooking, thinking that authentic methods are much better.
|Prior to tasting, a delectable and crispy slabs of bagnet are already playing those little fantasies as I try to move my sight away but still cant help it. Credit: Kare-kare paired with the salty, yet delicious shrimp paste.|
This popular stew composed of oxtail, steamed veggies and meat covered with velvety peanut-based sauce is said to be the dish reflecting our connection with Malays. Though the name "kare" refers to the Malay term "kari" which means curry, the composition of the dish is still a far cry from what the unacquainted may expect. My friends and I cant really find the best word to describe the buoyant and scrumptious combination as we just simply savoured each bites while painting a ray of sunshine all over our faces.
Soon enough, plate of Hardinera slid on our table. Described as "embutido version 2", Hardinera will provide you a proof of being an artisan dish. This dish is quite resembling a home-made meatloaf with mix of ingredients such as ground meat, chorizo, egg, raisins and a wild array of secret spices.
It seems like forever before we notice that after those scrumptious bites, our feast has came to an end. As I look at my self, drawing smile and curves, feeling my tummy pushing my clothes, there is no doubt that I've finished an everlasting experience.
For the Philippines, food is more than a collection of nutrients. It is a passion binding the whole archipelago.
Filipino cullinary is a repertory. On an indigenous matrix – an ethos of freshness, a predilection for taste combinations like sweet-sour and salty-tart, a daringly flexible usage of the natural landscape – are grafted qualities absorbed in cultural interaction. In the indigenization of all these, always and exuberantly, it defines itself as Filipino.
So when will you start your gastronomic adventure?
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SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Address: Lubiran St. Bacood Sta. Mesa, 1016 Manila, Philippines
Contact no. : +632 6167396
FB Page: Indang Ising
Map: How to get there?
Thank you friends!