Malabon has acquired a reputation of being a sunken town in the Metro. But for someone who has lived in this humble city for 18 years, I grew to love my hometown and call it our local Venice. This May, Malabon City celebrates its 413th Foundation Day. And in line with this important occasion, the city government launched its first Kulinarya Festival to showcase our city's culinary tradition and distinct food heritage.
Held at the Dampa sa Paseo in Catmon, Malabon City, bloggers and members of the press got to witness the opening ceremony of Malabon Kulinarya Festival 2012 this Tuesday (May 15). The media launch kicked off with a cooking demo from Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) founder Ms. Annie Pascual-Guerrero, assisted by Chef Mira Cruz who both hail from the city.
For a frustrated cook like myself, the very informative and entertaining cooking demonstration didn't only make me appreciate our traditional local cuisine more, but also taught me how to prepare and cook Sumpia, fried spring roll served with garlic vinegar dip.
Since our city was originally called the town of Tambobong, and was believed to come from maraming labong (plenty of labong), it was just fitting that CCA also prepared Ginataang Labong -- edible bamboo shoots cooked in coconut.
Aside from a visually appetizing cooking demo session, different food establishments in Malabon also showcased their special food items. From specialty eateries to home-made local delicacies, the participants put up an enticing array of dishes. So if you're ready, let me take you on a quick tour of Malabon's gustatory delights.
Nanay's Pancit Malabon
Okoy ni Jr.
Nanay Elvie's Tinapa and Relyeno
Aling Upeng's Kikiam
Turon Pinipig and Puto
Simon's Online Bakeshop
Made of Heaven Atchara and Peanut Butter
Tita Rowie's Special Bagoong
Alvin's Bakery and Gen. Merchandise
Taste of Heaven Catering
Jack's Food Haus
Dampa sa Paseo
I know, Malabon Kulinarya Festival 2012 had a food overload! I wasn't able to taste all these dishes, but I can say that everything I've sampled was of really good quality. And if you think we were already treated enough, think again. After a generous tasting of Malabon's local flavors, we still had round two. This time, it's Lumpiang Hubad (skinless spring roll), Okoy (shrimp fritters) and Pork Binagoongan (pork in shrimp paste) for lunch.
Even if I was already really full, I still tried to squeeze in desserts -- Ginataang Bilo Bilo (rice balls with coconut milk) and Minatamis na Saging (sweetened banana), both of which are merienda food items I grew up with.
The day at Malabon Kulinarya Festival 2012 was one great experience. Although I've lived in Malabon almost my entire life, I've taken our local cuisine for granted. However, this food fest opened my eyes and my palate to the city's distinct food culture. True enough, there's more to Malabon City than Pancit Malabon, Sapin-Sapin and Pichi-Pichi. As Acting Mayor LenLen Oreta said, the people of Malabon are gifted chefs, developing delicious recipes and even making good profits out of their culinary prowess despite their lack of formal training.
As a proud citizen and foodie of Malabon City, I invite you to join the fun and gustatory treat at Malabon Kulinarya Festival 2012. Visit the back of Malabon City Hall from May 16 to 18 to grace the wonderful Food Bazaar of local entrepreneurs. If you're not just a curious foodie, but also a budding cook, then you'll probably enjoy the Cooking Competition on May 21 at the Malabon Amphitheater.