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EP Farm Tagaytay: A divine slice of Thailand |


EP Farm Tagaytay: A divine slice of Thailand

RENDEZVOUs - Christine Dayrit - The Philippine Star
EP Farm Tagaytay: A divine slice of Thailand
The reception area sets the stage for the amazing culinary journey with Khun Lek.
Photos by Mike Mina and EP Farm

I just experienced pure culinary bliss, where the flavors are as divine as the ambience that envelops you. Every bite here is an epiphany — a joyous celebration of the vibrant tapestry of authentic Thai traditions.

Nestled in a place just an hour and a half away from the bustling metropolis, where the cool embrace of nature permeates the air, lies EP Farm. It is a five-hectare sanctuary meticulously created over a decade by skincare specialist Elvie Pineda. This Thai-inspired abode recently opened its doors to welcome guests into a world of luxurious indulgence.

As you enter this home, the alluring fragrance of lavender verbena greets and arrests the senses. One will be awed by the Thai Buddhas, furniture, artifacts and embellishments collected by Tita Elvie for over 40 years. Her creativity and artistry are a delight to witness. In the impressive dining room, guests are greeted with impeccable tablescapes adorned with an array of exquisite Thai décor.

EP Farm is not just all about the stunning surroundings that beckon; it is the promise of an unforgettable culinary experience that awaits. Here, delightful Thai cuisine takes center stage lovingly prepared by the multi-talented actress, fitness enthusiast and fire dancer extraordinaire, Rachel Lobangco, now also known by her Thai name, Khun Lek.

The 2020 Taal Volcano eruption and COVID pandemic devastated EP Farm, once a paradise. However, fate intervened as Rachel pursued culinary arts at the Blue Elephant Cooking School & Restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand. This unexpected turn proved to be a hidden blessing. Rachael and her talented daughter, Leona, reignited their love for Thai cuisine under the guidance of Rachael's dermatologist mother, Elvie, who has practiced in Thailand for over 40 years. Rachel and Leona consider Tita Elvie as their inspiration for her life of prayer, hard work, humility, dedication and sense of humor. Together, they rebuilt EP Farm and crafted an extraordinary dining experience in an amazing setting.

Scrumptious Chicken Curry with multi-colored rice noodles, Pineapple Fried Rice, and the exquisite Laab Nam Tok served with fried egg-topped butterfly pea-infused rice.

Khun Lek introduces each dish and explains how she prepared it. As the first course is served, the tantalizing aroma of Tom Yum Goong teases your senses. Tangy, spicy and savory flavors blend beautifully with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Plump shrimp, tender mushrooms and fresh herbs enhance the dish, while lime juice and fish sauce complete the harmonious fusion.

The pomelo salad steals the show with its ripe, juicy segments bursting with citrusy goodness. The sweet and tangy flavors invigorate the palate with each refreshing burst, complemented by a dressing made of cilantro, palm sugar, chilies, Thai dates and peanuts.

Khun Lek's special rendition of Pad Thai takes diners to the street food of Thailand with its fresh rice noodles, perfectly cooked shrimp, and a balance of tamarind tanginess, palm sugar sweetness, and umami heat from fish sauce and chili flakes. Crushed peanuts add a satisfying nutty finish.

Next, taste the exquisite Laab Nam Tok, minced pork wonderfully seasoned with fish sauce, chili flakes, lime juice and a wonderful assortment of fresh herbs that bring it all together.

Khun Lek’s chicken curry is truly a feast for the senses — a flavorful and aromatic dish made with tender chicken, tasty green curry paste, coconut milk, Thai dates and a medley of vegetables. The side of multi-colored rice noodles adds an interesting layer of texture that makes this dish almost too beautiful to savor.

For sweet endings, Khun Lek has mastered the art of making the delightful Thai delicacy known as Khanom Chan. This unique dessert, which takes approximately 10 hours to make, is a multi-layered cake consisting of glutinous rice, tapioca powder and coconut cream. A labor of love and work of art, each layer is individually steamed using molds shaped like flowers, resulting in a visually striking array of colors.

EP Farm’s precious gems, from leftt: Khun Lek (Rachel Lobangco), Elvie Pineda, and Leona Lobangco in traditional Thai outfits.

EP Farm's culinary delights are also accompanied by refreshing drinks made from the freshest fruits from their orchard — tamarind, banana and lime, cleansing the palate for the next dish. They also serve aromatic coffee and soon, Khun Lek will also have her own coffee plantation within EP Farm. “Serving Thai food in beautiful tablescape is my passion. EP Farm is dedicated to quality and authenticity to ensure that our guests experience the true flavors of Thailand,” said Rachel.

Beyond satisfying taste buds, EP Farm recognizes the need for relaxation and rejuvenation. The sanctuary offers a serene spa experience, where cosmetologist Elvie Pineda pampers guests with massages, scrubs and skin regimens, leaving them feeling refreshed and renewed.

The most precious gems of EP Farm are the three generations — Tita Elvie, Rachel and Leona. They honor legacy and stewardship. They vow that EP Farm will never be sold but enhanced and handed down to the next generations.

EP Farm is a paradise filled with bromeliads, citronella and pine trees, an orchard of avocados, mangos and pineapple, an herb garden, six Thai-inspired villas accommodating up to 18 people, an impressive function hall, an outdoor cooking studio where Khun Lek will teach the dishes she serves, and a chapel that stands as a testament to Tita Elvie's spiritual devotion and boundless creativity. “EP Farm holds a very special place in our hearts as a family, serving as a sanctuary of love, creativity, and togetherness. Sharing it to the public brings immense joy to us. We do our best to make each guest feel special — to go beyond being just a number,” added Rachel.

Being here is an immersive journey to Thailand without having to leave our shores. Such culinary divinity leaves a smile on your face, an appetite satisfied and a dash of love in your soul.

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By reservations only. EP FARM Tagaytay is located in Mendez, Cavite. For more information, please visit their Facebook Page EP FARM Tagaytay or call 0917-8814951.

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