by Adolf Aran Jr.
Some people are calling 2020 as “the Great Pause”. Some call it as the phenomenon that forced us to take the digital transformation journey. Whatever you call 2020, the effects for all of us are the same: disruption, economic reprieve, or challenging times.
I take my hats off to those daring and courageous food entrepreneurs who continue to find ways on how to innovate and create amazing culinary outputs. And I salute those who dare to try them despite all the limitations, both environmental and individual. Here are some of the food finds that I discovered during the pandemic.
- CHOCO STRAWBERRIES & FRENCH MACARONS by AMAZE & GRACE
When God closes a door, He opens many windows of opportunities. That’s exactly what happened to entrepreneur Marjorie Pacheco. Rediscovering her passion for baking, after the closure of her salon chain due to COVID, her chocolate coated strawberries and beautiful and delightful French macarons were a huge success. The Christmas Box, the bestseller, is a good mix of macarons, king size strawberries, chocolate coated Oreos and white and dark chocolate characters (10×3 round, 12x10x3 square, 9x6x3 rectangle petite). Visually appetizing and pleasantly flavorful, this Chef Marj’s culinary masterpiece is destined to be one of this season’s amazing grace.
FB: Amaze-Grace-by-Chef-Marj IG: amazeandgrazebychefmarj Viber: 0917-8692867
- BAKED SUMAN SA LATIK by OYE KITCHENPH
“Kakanin” is a Filipino comfort food. From the traditional “bilao” wrapped in banana leaves, here comes, Oye Kitchen’s version of Suman Sa Latik, baked and served on a tray. It comes in 3 sizes, small (good for 3), medium (good for 6) and large (good for 10-12). Aside from Suman sa Latik, Oye Kitchen also serves Pork Humba, Pangat, Ginger Soy Steamed Pampano and Cheezy Baked Lasagna. Ideal for potluck gatherings.
FB: Oye Kitchen PH, IG: oyekitchenph Mobile: 0916-2534187
- SPANISH BREAD by GOURMET GYPSY ART CAFÉ
There’s Spanish bread practically in any panaderia in the metro, but there is one that’s distinctly remarkable because it stays true to its promise of freshness and quality. Gourmet Gypsy makes it with real butter, premium bread flour and sourdough crumbs. Yes, Gourmet Gypsy is known for its great tasting meals, but that did not stop Chef Waya Wijangco from serving this even on a limited basis. Guaranteed freshly baked. Order during weekdays. Pick up by weekend.
FB: GourmetGypsy Art Cafe Website: www.gourmetgypsy.ph Mobile: 0995-3825736
- KOREAN CHEESE BREAD by DON BAKES
Pinoys can’t seem to get enough of Korean culture. From K-pop to K-drama to ssamyeopsal barbecue, here’s another winner, Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread that’s filling, hearty, creamy and suited for the discerning palate. Biting into one is “bitin”, and finishing two is just right (at least for me). Don Bakes is a congruence of the global flavors that Chef Don RG Orense got exposed to during his travels to Japan, Korea and Italy. Enjoy it in boxes of 2s and 4s.
FB: Don Bakes Manila IG: @donbakesmanila Mobile: 0949-4080125 Website: https://tinyurl.com/DonBakesOrders
- DIMSUM & DUMPLINGS by XO46
It’s back! To bring back bestsellers from the archives is one thing; to compete in a crowded dumpling market is another. One thing going for these “blast from the past” dumplings? It is based on tried and tested recipes, and it comes in a shrink wrapped Ready-to-Fry format, in four winning variants: Chili Crab, Pinsec Frito, Shark’s Fin, and Pork & Prawn. Definitely not your run-of-the-mill type of dumplings because its meatier, more flavorful, and has great value for money. And the best partner for these dumplings? XO46 Chili Garlic Oil. Packed in 15pcs/box and chili garlic bottle in 230gms.
IG: xo46_heritage_bistro FB: XO46HeritageBistro mobile: 0945-6158255, 0927-5907335, 02-85536566
- BAKED BULALO KALDERETA & SISIGLAW by SIGLO MODERN FILIPINO
What happens when you blast freeze your restaurant’s bestsellers in Tagaytay and transport them to Manila? Made by the same team who promised to take us to different parts of the country through food, Siglo Modern Filipino, a tourist destination in Tagaytay, brings us the Baked Bulalo Kaldereta and Sisiglaw, two of the dishes that are distinguished and made Siglo a true ambassador of Filipino cuisine. Frozen meals are available for take-out, pick-up and delivery.
FB: Siglo Modern Filipino Website: http://www.siglomodernfilipino.com Mobile: 0943-1316625
- KANGKONG KING CHIPS
Healthy snacks! According to their Facebook page, “kangkong is high in carotenoids and Vitamin A which are essential in keeping your eyesight healthy”. And it’s Gluten-free! Try these chips as your alternative to your “normal” snacking. In five variants: KKK (special in house flavor), barbecue, sour cream, cheese and original.
Website: www.kangkongking.ph FB: Kangkong King Mobile: 0945-5532555
- SEAFOOD LAKSA by Bugis Singapore Street Food
It cannot get closer to the real Singaporean Laksa than this! Want to be transported to Singapore, without travelling? Try Bugis’ Singapore Seafood Laksa, especially during this cold season of Christmas! In party trays, good for sharing for 6-8 pax.
FB: Bugis Singapore Street Food Email:email@example.com Mobile: 0945-9943662
- CRAZY CARABAO
If you are a fan of local craft beer, Crazy Carabao is “irresistibly good”. Got it from a friend as a gift and got hooked! Try its 5 variants: Pilsner, Wheat, Golden Ale, Pale Ale, India Pale Ale (IPA).
FB: Crazy Carabao IG: @crazycarabao Mobile: 0917-8420969
- PLANT-BASED WHOPPER by BURGER KING
If you’re a carnivore like me, one does not have high expectations for anything vegetarian or vegan. Out of curiosity, I had to try it when it was launched, more than a month ago. It turned out to be one of the best things I did during the pandemic. Not only is the plant-based faux meat trend on the upswing, it’s also catching on for many meat-eating diners out there. As expected, stock out happened for a few days, and now its back. Try it before it runs out of stock again. Also available in Junior Whopper.
Discovering new food finds. Rediscovering old finds. It’s still a challenge to dine in due to restrictions (age limit, curfew, and contact tracing protocols). When you can, please go out and support our F&B industry. In whatever way you can. Merry Christmas! Stay safe, guys!