‘Kinilaw’ steals spotlight at food festival in Madrid

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SPAIN – The Philippines’ very own raw dish in vinegar captivated food lovers and the world’s top chefs who participated in Spain’s important international gastronomy summit, Madrid Fusion.

It is a culinary milestone for the Philippines as this is the first time the country has been invited to showcase Filipino cuisine in an event considered as world’s most important chef’s congress, and a dream come true for superstar Filipino chefs Margarita “Gaita” Fores and Myrna Segismundo to put the country in the world’s culinary map.

Fores and Segismundo’s demonstration on how to prepare kinilaw received enthusiastic reception and praises from the public at the Palacio de Congresos Municipal in Madrid where the event was held.

Fores presented Negrense seabass kinilaw while Segismundo showed how to prepare Batangueño seafood kinilaw. They also prepared grilled pork and fish kinilaw called ‘sinuglaw’ and introduced some of the ingredients that can only be found in the Philippines such as tabon-tabon fruit, calamansi, and salt with coconut called ‘duldul’.

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“Very innovative, I like it a lot. It has a mixture of new flavors, lot of spices, very spicy. It’s new for me,” Amanda Iglesias, a chef at Madrid five-star Hotel Orfila, said in Spanish after tasting kinilaw.

“I never knew that you could create this kind of acidity with this fruit that you have, so it’s amazing to me on how can you avoid to use lime or lemon and use this kind of fruit vinegar,” said Texas-based chef Juan Gomez.

Why kinilaw?

“When the Madrid Fusion people came to Manila, of course we were entertaining them and during the MOA signing, which was happening in Restaurant 9501, we had lechon, adobo, all other things, but it was particularly the kinilaw that caught their attention,” said Segismundo.

She stressed that kinilaw is a Filipino dish that doesn’t have any Spanish, Chinese, or foreign influence on it.

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“Kinilaw is pure 100 percent Filipino (pero) international ang appeal,” she said.

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Aside from kinilaw, attendees flocked to the Philippine booth strategically located at the venue entrance to have a try of Filipino delicacies such as pili and cashew nuts, chicharon, dried mangoes, and cocktails.

The Philippine delegation, headed by Department of Tourism director for Europe Verna Buensuceso with Agriculture undersecretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, introduced five different Filipino flavors—maalat (salty) matamis (sweet), mapait (bitter), maasim (sour), and malinamnam (tasty).

Taking Madrid Fusion to Manila

Philippine cuisine will be further introduced to the world in the upcoming Madrid Fusion Manila, which will be held on April 24-26 at MOA SMX Convention Center in Pasay.

The country has been chosen to host the event to rekindle cultural and gastronomic ties with Spain, which has strong influence on many Filipino dishes.

“They realized also that for European chefs, for Western chefs, their inspiration now comes from Asia, and our cuisine is so rich, the ingredients are unique,” added Fores.

Eight Spanish Michelin-starred chefs and top Asian chefs will travel to the Philippines to demonstrate and discuss with top Filipino chefs latest techniques and innovations that are transforming the global culinary scene.

“It will be a fusion of chefs of all over the world but also with the Philippines, and I’m looking forward [to it]. I’ve never been to the Philippines. I really want to go for many many years,” said chef Elena Arzak of three-starred Michelin and three-starred Repsol restaurant Arzak in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN.

Fores could not contain her excitement and believes that this will further boost Philippine tourism.

“To come to the Philippines and discover all these new things. I think that they’re really looking at not only our food but at our beaches, our hospitality,” Forés said.

“Alam nyo mga kapamilya, bihirang mangyari ito sa atin sa Pilipinas, sa kasaysayan ng ating kulinarya, ika nga,” said Segismundo. Daniel Infante Tuaño, ABS-CBNnews.com

Watch the related TV report aired on The World Tonight, ABS-CBN:

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