Hapag ng Pamana, the Filipino Food Month’s initiative to promote local producers and other stakeholders in the farming industry, wrapped off its two-day event on Saturday by highlighting Palawan food specialties like tinambunan, combo, and batbat, which may be offered and marketed outside the province.
The cooking demonstration and exhibit for food specialties took place on April 30 at Cacaoyan Forest Park in Sitio Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan, in support of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Tourism (DOT), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM) targets to sustain food production in the country and preserve food culture.
Chef Melissa Olit demonstrated in Hapag how to make tinambunan, or grilled kamote, and combo, which is fried bananas with flour coating and is a native Cuyo island merienda.
She also taught how pusit (squid) may be used as a replacement for chicken in tinola, a popular Filipino soup dish with sili leaves and green papaya.
Palawan produces fewer food ingredients due to its soil composition and the fact that it is an island province, according to Olit.
“Ang lupa po natin ay buhangin, wala masyadong nag-go-grow. Ang dish po natin ay common, so bland lang din ang lasa natin dahil sa kaunti lang din ang resources within the area. And if you get the study, kapag nilagyan natin ng social science at nilagyan ng history, talagang pasok tayo sa pinaka-common na ingredients, kaya mahirap hanapin kung ano ang identity,” Olit said.
“Ang identity po kasi ng pagkain natin, [dito] sa Palawan na nag-go-grow ang ginamit kong ingredients… local kasi ang nagtanim ng mga sangkap. But Palawan can be a culinary destination at ‘yun ang dini-dream ko at ito ang simula… dahil ang dami nating fresh product na hindi talaga natin pwedeng dalhin at ilabas from Palawan, so people could go here and enjoy the food,” she said.
Chef Cecile Chang of Lionheart Farms Philippines, on the other hand, presented new cooking techniques and stressed the importance of local food ingredients, especially found in southern Palawan.
She demonstrated how to cook the appetizer kilawing batbat using batbat, which is a palm tree.
Chang also gave some culinary tips, such as how to grill tanigue fish and cook it with coconut milk and the leaves of kamoteng kahoy.
“Hindi talaga tayo pwedeng napag-iiwanan when it comes to the culinary world. Ginagamit ko ang mga resources na makikita ko mismo sa Southern Palawan,” she said.
“Kapag sinabi kasing Palawan, we only think about the north, so gusto ko naman na bigyang buhay ang south kasi maraming makikita doon, hindi lang sa eco-tourism ng south but also the culinary treasure of southern Palawan” added Chang.
During their cooking demonstration, the culinary chefs interacted with the guests, allowing them to ask questions about what they were creating.
Meanwhile, a food exhibit featured popular Palawan dishes such as laoya, lato, and tamilok, as well as Filipino cuisines like chicken adobo, grilled pork liempo, pancit, crab dishes, banana heart blossom salad, roasted cashew, bandi, Palawan honey, and more.
The event was done in cooperation too with Lionheart Farms Philippines Corporation, Cacaoyan Forest Park, Robinsons Place Palawan, Palawan State University, and Gabay Kalinga.
Its theme was “Pagkaing Pilipino, susi sa pag-unlad at pagbabago”.