30 Nov2006

Sinigang in Saveur!!!

by Marketman


I think I have developed a sixth sense for some things food related. Heehee, read on and decide for yourselves… I only have a subscription to Gourmet Magazine that sav2arrives at our home every month. In addition, I keep a list of back issues of Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Australian Vogue Entertaining and Saveur Magazine. I have that list in my wallet because I buy back issues when they have dropped the price to say just PHP150 or PHP100 an issue from the original PHP400-550! I troll through all those magazine stores and slowly accumulate roughly 75-80% of all the back issues for a given year if I have been vigilant…and I save money in the process…after all, food isn’t generally that time sensitive and I never have enough time to read through a current issue of a magazine anyway. However, occasionally, I buy the Thanksgiving issues hot off the press, or a Christmas issue if there is a recipe that I might want to try that year. But that is rare, I don’t like to pay full price when I don’t have to. This morning, I was at National Bookstore and I spied the December issue of Saveur and while sealed in plastic, I felt a very strong urge to buy it without checking the recipes inside…

A few minutes later, I ran into Lori of DessertComesFirst and we were chatting about this and that and I mentioned that it really bothered me that there still wasn’t sav3enough exposure for Filipino food in the mainstream American and Western food magazines. I have emailed and written all of the large magazines over the past two years to encourage them to try and feature Filipino food and never got a single response. I even offered to take their writers or editors on tours of the Philippines, explore our markets, produce, etc. and I never asked for anything in return except that they feature our country and food. Well, when I got home and opened up my Saveur magazine, imagine my surprise and elation to see a FULL PAGE photograph of a “Sinigang na Hipon,” as part of an article on tamarind/sour food by Madhur Jaffrey! Earlier in the year there was also a New York Times article on sour being the new IN flavor and it is just really nice to see that some of our food is getting some much deserved exposure, particularly considering we are probably the second or third largest ethnic Asian group of immigrants into the U.S. The recipe itself is a bit fusionized what with lime juice and ripe tamarind puree as the souring agents, but never mind, it looks and sounds good nonetheless. Bravo to Saveur for including a Filipino dish in their line up… buy your copy and open straight to page 62!



  1. Nikita says:

    for back issues don’t forget to go to the annual year end sale of Emerald headway (naturally they have to get rid of their back issues somehow) ü located along katipunan extension beside the new Elorde gym. Btw, Hope you can join Menu for Hope III ü please check out http://grabyourfork.blogspot.com for more details

    Nov 30, 2006 | 5:53 pm

  2. Anson says:

    Actually I’ve read somewhere that Madhur Jeffrey came to the Philippines sometimes during the Marcos era. I saw her cookbook several years ago on Asian cooking and she featured items like Crispy Pata (or was it knockout knuckles), which she claimed is her family favorite pork recipe.

    I find this rather odd though, Madhur Jeffrey is of Indian descent and is very much into Indian cooking. Yet I am amazed that she like Filipino food considering that we directly fry the garlic and ginger in the pan, which is considered a no-no in Indian cooking, since they think it will ruin the taste.

    Nov 30, 2006 | 6:15 pm

  3. corrine says:

    Really, MM, you did that? Hope you continue with your efforts. Filipino food need more exposure! I love Saveur Mag.

    Nov 30, 2006 | 7:18 pm

  4. edee says:

    i saw that show where Madhur Jeffrey came to the Philippines, she was invited to the house of the Daza’s, I saw Gloria Diaz and I think Sandy Daza, i remember they had paella, and she also went somewhere in the Visayas, where she saw how they made dried fish and some sweet pastries, and was also invited for dinner where they have the usual everyday pinoy fare of rice, fish and veggies. And the recipe she featured was but of course, pork adobo :)

    Nov 30, 2006 | 8:09 pm

  5. Johnny says:

    MM, have you tried writing to Anthony Bourdain? My friend and I were just talking about him. I only saw him once in an interview with Ferran Adria but my friend told me that he’s been to different places like Malaysia (?) and China where he tried Fear Factor type of food. These were featured in a Travel channel show that he hosts. My friend hopes that Bourdain will go to the Philippines too and maybe try balut! With regards to Filipino food going “mainstream” in the US, I am all for it! I sometimes think, when you mention pizza you think Italy, Tiramisu – Italy, General Tso’s chicken – China, Pastries – Austria, Jerk Chicken – Carribean, Tacos and Burritos – Mexico, etc. There really isn’t a food that I know of that’s associated with the Philippines when you’re talking US mainstream. Or is there? Adobo? Well, there’s Mexican adobo. Flan? Latin. Hopefully, in the future, people will talk halo-halo from the Philippines.

    Nov 30, 2006 | 9:47 pm

  6. edee says:

    i’ve seen that Anthony bourdain show as well, and he already tried balut in Vietnam, i think…..yeah i was hoping he’ll do the philippines as well, but no such luck :(

    Nov 30, 2006 | 10:06 pm

  7. Marilou says:

    Isn’t it great to see a Filipino recipe featured in a major food magazine! Adobo was also in a previous issue of Saveur and I think either Bon Appetit or Gourmet. It irks me that Memories of Philippine Kitchen is not widely available at major bookstores such as Borders or Barnes and Noble. Still, I keep looking and I have given copies to friends and family members to spread the word so to speak.

    Nov 30, 2006 | 10:47 pm

  8. anonymous paul says:

    i’ve beeen trolling back issues as you since my college days. if my house catches fire, my saveur stash is the first to be picked up along with the pictures

    Nov 30, 2006 | 11:47 pm

  9. Maria Clara says:

    Saveur as we know is an international food magazine. As such, its circulation is across the globe. Madame Madhur Jaffrey came up with the lime juice as the souring agent because lime is available everywhere and ripe tamarind puree is accessible in any Oriental store originating from Thailand in the U.S., Canada and Europe. In Paris, Vietnamese and Thai foods are prevailing now – ripe tamarind puree is available too. Any recipe featured on this magazine, calls for fresh ingredients and accessible to the general reading public. They cannot call for a package of instant tamarind broth or Knorr sinigang broth that’s a taboo for them. They call for the freshest ingredients that your hands can get. In fact they even list the source where you can get them, i.e., Asian/Oriental markets. We will get to the international food fare surely but slowly. This is a good head start. Your site is a good connecting vehicle to the international foodies that reach out to them.

    Dec 1, 2006 | 1:35 am

  10. Chinachix says:

    MM I agree with Johnny and edee that Anthony Bourdain should be adventurous enough to try Filipino cuisine. I loved his writing ever since reading Kitchen Confidential, and I havent read his latest book that chronicle his food experiences in his travels around the world.

    However, I think this is a chicken-and-egg issue. Familiarity with new cuisine I think usually begins at a grassroots level (notice the proliferation of pho places and Thai takeaways) esp here in North America. I live in the west end of Toronto, and while there are Pinoy restos, they are not common as those previously mentioned…comments anyone?

    Dec 1, 2006 | 6:08 am

  11. Robyn says:

    I’ve been preparing for an upcoming food-focused trip to the Philippines by perusing Centro Escolar University’s ‘Philippine Markets’ book and reading some of Doreen Fernandez’ back titles, kindly mailed to me from Manila by a friend. It’s all been a real eye-opener for a Westerner who knew nothing of food in the PHI.

    The profile of PHI food overseas would rise by leaps and bounds if these titles (and others — the PHI local food book industry is amazing!) were easily available outside the Philippines. There is so much interest now in books that go beyond a list of recipes … pple want to read about food culture and history, and books like the Markets title would be an easy seller in the West. Perhaps ‘Memories of the PHI Kitchen’ will spark an interest that will lead foreigners to seek out these titles, as difficult as they are to acquire. But really, the PHI publishing industry would be doing the national cuisines a huge favor by promoting these well-written, beautifully photographed (those that have photos), and very engaging books overseas.

    Dec 1, 2006 | 9:12 am

  12. Dina says:

    Adobo was also featured in a Williams Sonoma’s Food Made Fast cookbook series -slow cooker. So check it out….

    Dec 1, 2006 | 12:35 pm

  13. pam says:

    Hi MM,

    I’ve seen an article on Filipino once at the library. It came from either Australian Good Taste or Fresh, both, if I’m not mistaken, publications of Woolworths. That particular magazine features different home cooks every issue and yeah, the featured a Filo (what they call Pinoys here) family a while back.

    Have you seen Australian Gourmet Traveller or Delicious? I prefer both over Vogue Entertaining + Travel. Perhaps you could write to the editor of Australian Gourmet Traveller?

    Dec 1, 2006 | 2:39 pm

  14. negrosdude says:

    Hi Marketman, you read all the magazines I do too, and i particularly like Food & Wine (excellently written articles) and Saveur. That’s excellent information on sinigang being featured in the latter! Mario Batali was in the country a year or two ago for a friend’s wedding and Gaita Fores told me she was able to get an introduction and invited the celebrity chef to her restaurant Pepato in Greenbelt 3. Of all the things she offered him, what Batali liked the most, according to Gaita, was pig trotters – a.k.a crispy pata! I hope your efforts to get Anthony Bourdain (i love the irreverent humour of this guy! have you read his Kitchen Confidential and Cook’s Tour? He’s got a new one) to the country meets with success. It would be terrific to go on a culnary adventure through the country with you and Bourdain!

    Dec 1, 2006 | 5:07 pm

  15. gonzo says:

    Saveur mag is pretty good. i think the american food writer Colman Andrews is the main man of that magazine and he is a very knowledgable food guy, albeit focused often on Catalan cuisine and other less well-known Mediterranean cooking styles.

    Re Filipino food hitting the global mainstream, i think we’ve had similar debate on this before and my contention is that, compared to other SE Asian cuisines, ours lacks the intense fresh asian herb or chilli hit that is typical of say, Vietnamese, Malaysian, or Thai cooking, and so is relatively less interesting to foreigners.

    People like to try new foods to experience new flavours– different from what they’re used to, and the fact is that thai or vietnamese cooking offers a more intense taste explosion than ours (to the Western palate).

    Having said that, i was in a cookery bookshop (they sold only cookbooks from all over the world, nothing else) in Portobello Road, London recently, that featured Romy Dorotan’s ‘Memories of Philippine Kitchens’ very prominently on its main display table. It really is the first pinoy cookbook that is, um, world class; which is great because so many pinoy cookbooks are…pangit.

    The shop (near Notting Hill Gate) is called Books for Cooks and they have a charming cafe in the back that serves lunch and cakes using recipes they pick from the cookbooks chosen for that day (from their shelves).

    They then place the cookbooks right on the kitchen counter so that if you liked your meal you might think of buying the featured cookbook/s. Everyday they pick a new cookbook (usually two. plus the baking books for the cakes are also displayed) so the daily changing menu is very eclectic, as the books they stock are from all over the world.

    what a novel idea!

    Of course, upon closer inspection of their kitchen, i found out that the ‘chef’ was a pinay named Marilou.

    I asked her if she ever cooked pinoy dishes at the cafe and she said, ‘e last week nga nagluto ako ng karekare, pero walang bagoong, masyado nang exotic yun para sa mga puti.’ so i naturally asked her what the customer response was. ‘yung iba nasarapan, yung iba “nanibago”…’

    Dec 2, 2006 | 11:38 am

  16. gonzo says:

    The other thing of course is that i and many other pinoys have cooked adobo for foreigners abroad and it has always been a hit. One of my old cooks who is now working in a restaurant in Cornwall, England, cooked adobo for some Cornwall locals and the response he got–from unsophisticated countryside Brits– was, “oi this is facking good, mate!”

    Dec 2, 2006 | 11:45 am

  17. Honey says:

    Hello! This is totaly out of the topic but I need your expertise, Market Man! Where can I possibly get the following spices?

    Balti masala paste – 4 Tablespoons

    Garam masala – 1 teaspoon (optional)

    Fresh coriander leaves – 1 Tablespoon

    Any response would be highly appreciated. Thanks a lot and more power! :)

    Dec 2, 2006 | 6:13 pm

  18. Marketman says:

    Honey, you’d have to get to an Indian spice shop. I did a feature on Raj or Taj in Makati somewhere but I think it has since closed. There are apparently some Indian stores near U.N. Avenue. Coriander is just wansoy, available at most good groceries or markets… If there are other Indian cooks/readers, please chime in with sources…thanks.

    Dec 2, 2006 | 6:20 pm

  19. Christine says:

    That is truly uplifting news! My subscription to Saveur ended in October, and instead of renewing I switched to Gourmet Traveller so I missed that one. I will have to buy a copy. I needed to trim down my subsciptions, as they can get quite costly. I decided to just buy the issues of the magazines I want off the rack. I know I’m going to end up buying every issue anyway though cos Saveur has become a big favorite of mine!

    Thanks for the heads up and kudos to you for the efforts you put into promoting our local cuisine! :)

    Dec 2, 2006 | 6:56 pm

  20. wysgal says:

    This is off topic but … your dog is so cute!

    I also recall reading an article on South East Asian Cookbooks in The New York Times recently … they featured “Memories of Philippine Kitchens” that MM also featured in this blog a while back.

    Dec 2, 2006 | 9:22 pm

  21. Christine says:

    Gonzo, that was one of my favorite bookshops in London! And it’s right across my most favorite, the travel bookstore. I had no idea it was a pinay behind the kitchen counter, if I had known, I would have made more of an effort to attend some of the demos.

    Honey, you may be able to find those in Assads on UN Avenue. Try calling them: 5261349 / 5265034

    Dec 2, 2006 | 10:02 pm

  22. gonzo says:

    Well if the aim is to bring Philippine cuisine to the attention of the world, i reckon the way to do it is to have an entry point dish– something that most people will like enough to say, “hmm, that was good. and you say that was a filipino dish eh? wonder what else they have in their repertoire…”

    I will actually be doing something about this at some point soon, starting in Europe. That is, i am starting a project that will increase our exposure in the global gastronomic arena. Why should the thais, indians, vietnamese et al, get all the glory? Tayo rin dapat. It’s about time.

    And yes aridelros, bibingka is a very good idea. will tack that on to the strategy. we all remember that culinary TV show in NY where the two hosts were eating bibingka and raving about it…

    Dec 3, 2006 | 4:41 pm

  23. tulip says:

    I remember there’s this well received and quite upscale Aux Iles Philippines (?) restaurant years ago. It was quite good in presenting Filipino dishes, that they had equal Filipino and foreign patrons. I remember my mom had several copies of mags featuring it. And it was always my mom’s recommended place to visit in Paris among friends. It was really doing well in the business but has closed. Then a small restaurant, Chez Genia came which has since closed too. It was said that it didn’t quite attract people.
    I guess the not so “pure” Filipino cuisine hasn’t been quite attractive. Many of our dishes are quite “hirap” or almost alike with other countries. If only we can come up with quite innovative/ creative ideas in styling, presentation, tweaking and cooking Filipino dishes, we can probably hit the global market.

    Dec 4, 2006 | 12:29 am

  24. tulip says:

    aridelros, it can be done. A french chef ( a friend of mine) once cooked for a Filipino themed dinner for friends (mostly foreign expats in the country) some barbecued chicken tails paired with his own kind of sauce as appetizers. Chicken adobo cooked with beer with a little thick sauce paired with mashed potatoes. There was even a kamote tops salad, a tweaked halo halo, leche flan and maja mais.And pureed mango as beverage, Batangas coffee and salabat etc. etc. And foreign friends liked it so much they actually request such theme for get-together dinners.
    Like I said, a little tweak and innovation, it can be done.

    Dec 4, 2006 | 4:30 pm

  25. Marketman says:

    I think a lot of philippine food can be presented better, after all, we have a tremendous amount of grilled items, including salads, plus lots of ingredients that could be visually interesting…

    Dec 4, 2006 | 6:07 pm

  26. gonzo says:

    Yes i remember Aux Iles Philippines. Was owned by Nora Daza. A couple of the kids are friends of mine (Sandy and Stella). In fact Stella and her husband Jay were working there when i tried it out.

    It was an attempt at stylised pinoy cuisine. i liked it but i think Europeans looked at it more as a novelty restaurant, i.e. good to try once to show one’s culinary adventurousness but not to use as a regular haunt as the food was too ‘exotic’.

    I still remember the comment a French girl (typical Parisian type) at our table said when she tried the ube ice cream: “doesn’t taste how it looks.” then made a face. That’s when i thought– uh oh, this restaurant might be in for a bit of trouble. But Tulip, you say they were doing well? They wouldn’t have closed it if they were. i know Jay really wanted to make a go of living abroad. Have not been in touch with the Dazas unfortunately (i think sandy is in vancouver or something) but it would be interesting to hear about their experiences, trials and tribulations operating a Philippine restaurant in one of the major food cities of the world.

    Sayang, really.

    French gastronomy i think is all about tradition (they have one of the oldest established cuisines and are rightly proud of it), so it really would be hard to break in a new cuisine even in a big city like Paris, as opposed to, say, London, where after years of poor restaurant choices, there has been an explosion in the food scene over the last ten or so years, to the point where they are now open to virtually any new foods.

    (btw, i think the Italians are even worse; they’re so into their own cuisine that even when they travel to other countries they tend to eschew the local restaurants and look for italian-owned places because, “we have the best cooking in the world, why try other cuisines?” Narrow-minded and mayabang, i know, but i’ve heard many italians express this sentiment.)

    But i agree with the tweaking idea. We just have to find the right amount and style of tweak. I’m itching to give it a go, frankly.

    Dec 5, 2006 | 7:22 pm

  27. Myra P. says:

    Hey fellow foodies, the writeup about Adobo (vinegar stew) in Saveur Mag came out in the Oct. 05 issue, complete with a recipe for “Adobong Baboy” :) Plus, another short writeup on Asian salsa (chopped tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, bagoong) in the Kitchen section,same issue. There is a special mention of Pufina patis and Kamayan shrimp paste in The Pantry section.

    Like MM, I had previously written to them (maybe twice), offering to host/guide/initiate any food writer they may want to send to the Philippines. I have such faith in Filipino cuisine! And of course, just like MM, i recieved no response. SO, when i saw that adobo article months later, i thought, hey, maybe things are changing! It was written by a lady named Amy Besa. Alas, it has taken over a year for another pinoy dish to make it to the pages of Saveur… :( I guess we should be happy, but really, i wish there was a real way we could introduce Pinoy food on a more global scale.

    Btw, i totally agree with Tulip about tweaking and presentation… Ive done it many times, and gotten rave results from non-pinoy foodies. The first thing anyone can do to make our food more globally acceptable is to not overcook our veggies! Nothing turns people off more than gray, mushy overdone gulay :( Plus, it’s healthier too.

    Dec 5, 2006 | 11:02 pm

  28. Johnny says:

    Gonzo, I do not think you can say for sure that the Italians who wanted only their cuisine (based on what you said) are mayabang. Narrow-minded, perhaps, but I think it has to do with just the food you were used to and how one can be less adventurous/curious. I don’t blame them as some Filipinos I know only eat Filipino food and don’t even want to try other type of cooking. I hesitated before about eating salads (not the macaroni salad that we know! but the leafy grean salads) but now I’m used to it and even eating just sandwiches and sometimes no rice to go with meat or a dish. But there comes a time when I’m really longing for sisig or adobo or simple Filipino dishes. It could just be personal choice due to one’s upbringing.

    Dec 5, 2006 | 11:05 pm

  29. tulip says:

    gonzo, my mom and Nora Daza are friends. And Sandy is the one supervising the restaurant then, he does the marketing and all I believe. My mom told me before that indeed the restaurant was doing well but they were having a hard time with resources/produces etc. It was even one of the top restaurants there ata as far as I can remember. I was too young then, don’t really know extensively. Last time I heard Sandy is in Canada.

    Dec 6, 2006 | 1:30 am

  30. Marketman says:

    Myra, I did a write-up on Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan’s book a few weeks ago…it’s in the archives.

    Dec 6, 2006 | 7:16 am

  31. gonzo says:


    That’s very possible that sandy did the marketing and was the one supervising the restaurant. It still doesn’t make sense though. If you are making money why would you close your business down? I will ask him about it if I bump into him at some point. It’s possible that the restaurant got very good reviews from the food critics but still did not get enough regulars to sustain the business. As i said, the French are traditionalists by nature and Filipino food would be quite a stretch for them.

    Johnny i understand what you’re saying, most people like to eat what they grew up with, but when most of us travel, we try the cuisine of the country we are visiting, like when we visit Japan, Italy, Spain, Singapore, Vietnam, the USA, do we look for adobo? hindi naman di ba? we like to try their cooking too.

    The Italians are far less gastronomically adventurous than the average world traveller. This is my point. And they can get arrogant about it. Da best daw sila e. Of course there are open minded italians too, but listen to the average italian conversation about food when they are amongst themselves and they think noone is listening..

    Dec 6, 2006 | 9:13 pm

  32. tulip says:

    gonzo, just like I said earlier all I know is they had a hard time getting resources e.g. Philippine mangoes,coconut milk, spices, condiments et al. to Paris with the demand they are having. And I hardly know for sure since I only heard from my mom (who gets tidbits directly from Ms. Nora Daza then) when I was probably 10-12 years old during early 90s. I wasnt even born yet when it started in the 70s.

    Dec 6, 2006 | 11:21 pm


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