To celebrate its 75th year, Taal Vista Hotel thru their Executive Chef Babes Austria has created a collection of dishes that that’s not only Filipino but makes full use of the produce and ingredients of local farmers in Tagaytay. During our stay at the hotel, we got a chance to sample all the dishes ahead of its launch on August 15, 2012.There were a lot of dishes that night, good thing even just sampling each one left me filled to the brim.
Bulanglang ng Tagaytay. A dish of native Tagaytay vegetables simmered in ginger and rice water. Although the vegetables tasted very fresh, I found the dish a bit lacking in flavors compared to the other dishes.
Maliputo sa Miso. The maliputo is a tasty fish found only in Taal Lake, cooked with a miso broth, tomatoes and mustard leaves. The meat of the fish was smooth and delectable, made even better with the earthy miso.
Nilagang Para ng Baboy sa Native Mais, Gabi at Sitaw. A hearty dish of boiled pork hock and knuckle with vegetables. The addition of the native corn and gabi (taro) made the broth silky and a bit chunky. Enjoy eating the sticky native corn, which is not always available in the city.
Adobo sa Tubo ni Tatang. This dish is created in honor of “Tatang” or how Henry Sy Jr. is endearingly called by his employees. What makes this different from other adobo is the use of homemade vinegar and local peppercorn which makes it sweeter and smoother. I liked that the taste of vinegar was not as overpowering as most Filipino adobo. Its very tasty but also quite oily because of the use of the fatty meat.
Sinantulang Organic Roast Chicken. Free range mountain chicken stuffed with native santol and cooked in fresh coconut cream. I love the creamy taste of the coconut milk evident in the chicken. Not liking santol, I removed the stuffing and concentrated on the chicken which had already absorbed the sweet and sour taste of the fruit.
Tinuktok. This was my favorite of the night, very similar to laing. in its use of taro leaves, coconut milk stuffed with dulong (anchovy fry) and shrimps. I really love dishes cooked with coconut cream, it adds a very unique creamy taste, add to that the salty dulong and briny shrimps. I had way too much of this dish.
Ensaladang Pako with Itlog na Maalat and Calamansi Viaigrette. Wild fern tossed in calamasi-honey vinaigrette, with added salted egg, tomatoes and red onions. The presentation above is a stylized, not really how the fresh tasting salad is served. The freshness of the vegetables are really evident, add to the zesty vinaigrette and finished off with the salty egg.
There were two kinds of rice, Binusang Kanin sa Balaksila (steamed rice tossed with crispy salted shrimp) and Pinipig Rice (rice cooked with coconut juice and immature glutinous rice). Of the two the crispy salted shrimp rice is by far the tastier and the more popular choice.
Despite all the main courses we already tasted, there was still a multitude of dessert awaiting us.
Brazo de Nilupak, Avocado Mousse Cake, Pimpkin Leche Flan and Guyabano Cheesecake (clockwise from L to R).
An assortment of Filipino flavored home made ice cream like Taro, Carabao’s Milk, Moringa and Mint and Tomato was also served. The Carabao’s milk ice cream was very good while the tomato was quite interesting. The yellow cup to the right is Balinghoy with Langka, a sweet mix of cassava and jackfruit. The jackfruit that they use is one native to Tagaytay that is sweeter and has a deeper yellow color. I loved it so much I had to buy some jackfruit on the way home the next day.
The best dessert by far was the Caramelized Baklang Saba. “What is Baklang Saba?”, that was our question also. It turns out that baklang saba is a cross between the Lacatan and Saba varieties. The resultant mix is a sweet, slender and meaty plantain. The bananas was soft and super sweet, this should not be missed.
I like how Taal Vista Hotel and Chef Babes Austria are introducing cuisine taking advantage of the abundance of the local area, not only is this eco friendly, it means the produce is fresher. The range of dishes in their Heritage Cuisine is a great introduction for tourists to the rich Filipino cuisine. There’s definitely something that will tickle one’s palate, be it sweet, sour or savory.
Here’s a little treat for you guys. I’m giving away an Overnight stay at Taal Vista Hotel complete with buffet breakfast. Open to Philippine residents only.