26 Apr2015


Some freshly made kinilaw served on fried fish skins. Roughly 700+ of them were served up over 90 minutes or so during the regional lunch on the second day of Madrid Fusion 2015. We were situated in the area where Via Mare put out a spread with over 20 different dishes for some 300-400 of the participants in the Congress. This wasn’t the fancy area with the most innovative dishes being served to VIP’s, think of this more as the “yaya lunch” area. I jest, I jest. Think of it more as First Class and Economy Class on an aircraft. That’s okay, we were just helping out our good friends at the Dept. of Tourism in Region 7 (Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor) who initially requested we send lechons for a 1,000(!) people and we declined as we didn’t want to serve them cold and in less than the ideal state. Ours has always been simple food done with heart and perhaps just a little twist for the sake of the snazzy event. And this was gratis, by the way, despite the (PHP20,000+ what?) price of the full ticket for the convention.


This was all very rush-rush and last minute and the DOT Region VII Director arranged to pay for airfare for 3 of our people, and we paid for the rest. We had a small table from which we were supposed to display some small bites of a particular dish from that region. We used some greens, planks of acacia and wooden bowls as the base for the table. A trip to the market early yesterday morning yielded some spectacular local cherry tomatoes, while the day before, Gejo of Malipayon farms delivered the most amazing baby labanos and other radishes and microgreens for my use and for the display table. Thanks Gej, I know you were crazed with all the other restaurant orders but you still managed to send me stuff.


This is what we managed to cobble together on short notice. That’s Joan, our GM, smiling and calm before the storm of 300+ people streaming into the buffet area all at once. To the left are still sealed kilo bags of our chicharon which we bought as a back up in case something went seriously wrong with our dish. We brought 10+ kilos of chicharon… funny how people can’t resist picking up fried pork rinds despite a massive buffet in front of them!


We originally planned to place the fish skins directly on the acacia plank, but that got messy so we decided to use the little wooden trays instead. This particular kinilaw had fresh tanguigue, as well as onions, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, green mango, chilies, etc.


Before the deluge, several local chefs happened by, and I post this photo with Ms. Norma Chikiamco as she said a friend of hers from London was a marketmanila reader, so if you’re out there, this is proof we met and said hellos. :) Gejo’s baby labanos and radishes and microgreens got as much commentary as the dried fish skins we served. It’s amazing how many restaurant purchasers inquired about sources and this just cements my view that restaurants don’t really serve what’s freshest or most seasonal in markets, and they need to get out more. Gejo, I sent a good dozen folks your way and to Nico’s Down to Earth stall as well… and admonished them to pay small suppliers in cash or on time and to support over time, not just one-off needs. Can you hear me preaching? :)


Once the guests hit the buffet, it was crazed. We wanted to dish the fish skins just seconds before folks ate them, so they would be incredibly crisp, so it meant last second assembly 700+ times over. It was fun, and very gratifying to hear folks positive reactions to the offering.


We snickered at how amateur our approach was… but that’s what makes it charming. Many of the other dishes had been cooked or assembled hours before, and well, they suffer a bit that way, I think. But that seems to be the only practical way to feed 400 at the same time.

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Some folks had 6 or 7 servings! Others just outright grabbed our serving platters and took them to their tables. Mrs. MM doggedly re-claimed the platters or we wouldn’t have anything to serve things on! Mrs. MM also took all these photos.


As always, there is NO WAY WE COULD HAVE PULLED THIS OFF without a terrific crew slaving away in the prep kitchens in the bowels of the venue. One of our head chefs, our trusty head of branches, our kinilaw specialist, Chief of stuff, GM and our crew at home for earlier prep work. We were up at 530am, bought the freshest ingredients that we had home by 730am, prepped everything and served it for lunch. Even Mrs. MM was pressed into service… :)

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In a slight break in the crowds.

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A photo of the menu that Via Mare catered for the Luzon and Visayas regional lunches on Friday and Saturday at the Madrid Fusion 2015. By the time participants were through with the conference, I bet they had a dozen different kinilaws, adobos, etc.!



  1. Connie C says:

    As always, over the top, MM!! Simple, imaginative , intelligent choice and so dalish!

    Really incredible how you managed to prepare more than 700? pieces of crisp fish skins one can’t help wonder, yes, where did you source them?

    Apr 26, 2015 | 12:53 pm


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  3. may says:

    Nice photos! Magnificent buffet!

    Apr 26, 2015 | 1:57 pm

  4. Greens and Blossoms says:

    Way to go, MM and crew..and Mrs.MM too!!! Lovely spread and to think this was all last minute – it doesn’t look it though…

    Apr 26, 2015 | 5:15 pm

  5. Footloose says:

    Those colourful tomatoes are eye-catching. As it turned out, its initial introduction to Europe was far from an instant success. People regarded it with suspicion and wrongly presumed they were poisonous, limited its use to adornment. I guess the feast habitués who routinely ate the daisies were the ones who discovered they were perfectly edible.

    Your photo with deliciously named Ms. Chikiamko makes a Yao Ming out of you while the cute labanos makes me forget they are related to the ones I encountered here: http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2012/11/20/ravishing-radishes-japans-weird-humanoid-daikons/

    Apr 26, 2015 | 5:28 pm

  6. Monique says:

    Hi MM,
    On a different note, my 14 year old daughter just came from Palo, Leyte for a medical mission with teachers and friends from school. They also taught catechism in one of the schools there. Cebu Pacific cancelled their straight flight back to Manila. They had to pass by Cebu and stayed there for 4 hours. She was able to get me Zubuchon lechon and chicharon. Yummy!!!!

    Apr 26, 2015 | 8:55 pm

  7. EbbaBlue says:

    Wow, wow, wow!

    Apr 26, 2015 | 10:46 pm

  8. Sleepless in Seattle says:

    Stunning pictures,The Veggies & the food ,delish..I could almost taste it!! MM your place in the culinary world is in the books !!

    Apr 26, 2015 | 11:51 pm

  9. Natie says:

    What an event! So exciting! I scrolled up again to confirm the price of the ticket for the convention. Maybe that’s why some grabbed the whole platter!

    Apr 27, 2015 | 12:16 am

  10. Gej says:

    Wonderful, elegant, very Filipino presentation with the quintessential kinilaw, MM! Thanks for making us a part of it! I must say this Madrid Fusion Manila event, after all the apprehensions, even perhaps some flaws, turned out really well, because of the generosity, smile and grace under pressure, ability to adapt to the situation, and many other wonderful qualities of the Filipino. Very Pinoy!

    Apr 27, 2015 | 7:28 am

  11. ami says:

    Sounds like a Top Chef challenge! Congrats MM

    Footloose, thanks for sharing that link!

    Apr 27, 2015 | 9:28 am

  12. Rafael Hocson says:


    Apr 27, 2015 | 9:36 am

  13. marilen says:

    Love that you, Mrs.MM and the tireless crew were part of it !! Must have been a dizzying array of great food.

    Apr 27, 2015 | 11:06 am

  14. Joe-ker says:

    Congratulations MM

    Apr 27, 2015 | 11:35 am

  15. belle says:

    Very nice of you and Mrs. MM to be hands on this event. Rarely do use owners doing the actual preparation of their food in this events. A very homey touch.

    Apr 27, 2015 | 12:47 pm

  16. EJ says:

    Ha, ha, ha, very thoughtful of you to post for that photo with my friend Omay Chikiamco. She wrote me about how you personally prepared the kinilaw for her. “So sarap” daw. Thanks from Amsterdam!

    Apr 27, 2015 | 2:01 pm

  17. EJ says:

    ”… post that photo…” Was a bit too eager to post the comment – and thanks. ;-)

    Apr 27, 2015 | 2:21 pm

  18. Pam says:

    You did it!!! WOW. Congratulations, MM! The delegates are so lucky to have tried your kilawin! Looks really delicious!!!

    Apr 27, 2015 | 6:15 pm

  19. Thel from Florida says:

    Bless your heart and all the crews for all the extraordinary hard work you all did. Congratulations!

    Apr 27, 2015 | 9:10 pm

  20. Malou says:

    Bravo, Zubuchon!

    Yours is a company thriving on serving the best of the local cuisine with topnotch service. Thanks for elevating Filipino dishes in the culinary world!

    Apr 27, 2015 | 11:10 pm

  21. ignaciolegarda says:

    Preach on Marketman Preach On!

    Apr 28, 2015 | 3:37 am

  22. millet says:

    very nice! we served 300 mini durian cheesecakes there on Day 3.

    Apr 28, 2015 | 8:08 am

  23. Kasseopeia says:

    Congratulations… and keep on preaching!

    Apr 28, 2015 | 8:42 am

  24. Susie says:

    MM, you made the pages of El Pais! Well, at least your kinilaw did :-)


    Apr 29, 2015 | 6:11 pm

  25. Marketman says:

    OMG, Susie, THANKS for spotting that! How kilig to the bones. :)

    Apr 29, 2015 | 7:49 pm

  26. shiko-chan says:

    As always, you are such an inspiration! That would have been P20,000 well spent ;)

    Apr 29, 2015 | 8:00 pm

  27. Kasseopeia says:

    Congrats to the very photogenic kinilaw! :)

    Apr 30, 2015 | 10:03 am

  28. Betchay says:

    Yes, I’ve tried this and it is really very good! Congratulations MM and crew!

    Apr 30, 2015 | 4:26 pm

  29. Susie says:

    Super kilig!

    Apr 30, 2015 | 9:41 pm

  30. Footloose says:

    This is one hors d’oeuvre I’m adding to my bucket list.

    Talking of hors d’oeuvres, here is a great definition I lifted from the NYT…The hors d’oeuvre is precisely as practical as fins on a sports car or pinstripes on a Yankee. You don’t need any to get the job done — eating or driving or playing ball. But you need them to get in a certain state of mind. An hors d’oeuvre calmly invites an eater to approach whatever follows not merely with physiological expectation but with gastronomic attentiveness. There should only be one.

    Emphasis on the felicitous turn of phrase… not merely with physiological expectation but with gastronomic attentiveness. Theses fish skin tacos topped with Zubudagat ceviche will definitely do just that.

    May 2, 2015 | 9:49 pm

  31. Dhanggit says:

    YOu never fail to impress us MM! Beautifully delicious!

    May 3, 2015 | 4:26 pm

  32. Faust says:

    Wow! way to go MM! good thing you declined the 1000 orders of lechon.. lols

    May 5, 2015 | 8:45 pm

  33. akosistella says:

    Rats! The only time I missed the regional lunch! Was there during the Luzon and Mindanao feedings. Sayang. Thanks for helping out the DOT though, MM. The regional directors really did a great job assembling chefs and other culinary professionals from their respective areas to feed the delegates. Congrats!

    May 19, 2015 | 11:57 pm


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