Starweek Magazine

A massive and laudible endeavor

- Lydia Castillo - The Philippine Star

Not too long ago, SM and PeopleAsia launched their “My City, My SM, My Cuisine” cookbook, which is a massive and very laudable endeavor. It focuses on the country’s regional cuisines, from the provinces and towns in Luzon to far away Mindanao. It took all of two years to make, with SM zeroing in on the promotion of authentic Filipino food in almost all of their malls, mounting cooking events featuring well known chefs and discovering people, men and women, who have traditionally cooked for their families or have successfully put up restaurants in their respective areas.

The cookbook is a culinary treasure, informative of the various cuisines’ backgrounds and a good guide for cooks and foodies on what is special in different localities.

Tessie Sy Coson, in her foreword, acknowledged the fact that food plays a very organic role in the Filipino lifestyle and how it brings people together, for don’t we all love eating and at the same time bonding together? We might add, the Filipino loves to eat and therefore we welcome anything that will lead to a good meal and a joyous get together. Thus as SM opened many, many malls in the country, food played an important part in their vision to please its public. So the Food Events were born, in the course perhaps encouraging the growth of tourism, as news of food would always make one  want to sample and eventually travel to where the authentic items are offered.

Millie Dizon has been assigned the task of scouring the archipelago for the components of their food promotions. The indefatigable Millie, from the time of the project’s inception in 2009, took to the towns and provinces and found out that food indeed impacts very much on our life as a people. She discovered heirloom recipes, the families  behind them, their cooking techniques, the new generation of foodies who cook, and she saw how rich our natural resources are. Thus evolved “My City, My SM, My Cuisine.”

As a cook, we went through the cookbook page by page and while we are impassioned about and perhaps partial to Biñan cuisine, which failed to be included, we delighted in discovering similarities and differences in cooking techniques and in the use of various ingredients. The pochero from the Cordilleras, for instance, also uses chorizo Bilbao, but it has fresh watercress, which is quite rare to find here in Manila. The gambas a la ADL (Anthony de Leon) is done with lots of spices. Tarlac’s adobo has pineapple juice and onion. The pansit buko from  Luzon has the usual vegetables but made more succulent with grated buko (young coconut). Cebu has the humba and estofadong pato sa tuba. Cagayan de Oro has sinuglaw which focuses on the bounty of the sea.

This is indeed one cookbook that must be in any cooking (and eating) enthusiast’s collection. And we commend SM and PeopleAsia for producing it.

While on the subject of SM, we take this opportunity to commend their staff, especially those on the second floor of SM Aura where we carelessly left a small purse in the little female cubicle. They found it and delivered it to us. Thanks, Millie.

Now that Japanese food, especially ramen, is very popular, our thoughts go back to about three decades ago when Tokyo Tokyo first opened its outlet. While travel to Japan has afforded us the taste of Japanese cuisine, we got enthused with the sobas and teriyaki in this particular restaurant because of their moderate pricing. Through the years it has changed hands but the food continues to be good. Today they are offering Sumo Meals, each a combination of the diner’s favorite dish plus rice. There are five combos to choose from – beef misono, pork tonkatsu, fried chicken, prawns and vegetable, honey chicken teriyaki and vegetables. They allow choices and each Sumo Meal costs P285.

Enjoy your Sunday!


E-mail me at [email protected].

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