Pinoy Hot at HEAT in Edsa Shangri-La is a Filipino food festival featuring the fiery flavors of the Bicol region featuring Chef Sonny Almendras. Coconut cream and chilies are the most famous ingredients of this cuisine, as can be seen in this painting made from chocolate. My taste buds got a great workout, trying all the spicy dishes in the preview launch last week. My taste buds got a great workout, trying all the spicy dishes.
We were given a choice of Formosa or Cool Magma (with alcohol) for our welcome drinks. I picked the Formosa, made up of pineapple and coconut juice, look closely and you’ll see floating its of sili labuyo. I found the drink refreshing at first but it packs a spicy wallop. I knew this drink would be of little help for the succeeding dishes and went for a soda instead.
4 kinds of canapes were served, all made chic and presentable. Sinarapan sa Tanglad, Kandingga, Nilutong Balaw and Kinuot nin Sorsogon (top left, clockwise). The one I liked best was the kinuot, which was a combination of tuna and sting ray meat mixed with morninga leaves. The spiciness level was just right to complement the seafood.
Ceviche of Banana Heart and Fresh Dilis was an enjoyable appetizer with varying textures from crispy to soft to chewy.
Cocido, a seafood stew with vegetables and camote tops. The soup reminded me of a nilaga but made with seafood and a fair amount of spice. I found this one quite enjoyable.
Laing, the usually photo unfriendly dish made of dried taro leaves simmered in coconut cream, shrimp paste and chili. I love laing but this one was a bit lacking in coconut cream and had an abundance of chili.
Bicol Express, the eponymous dish of Bicolano cuisine, made with pork ribs, coconut cream and chili. I had a tiny little piece and had to stop eating for a while because of the spiciness. Chef Sonny told us that the level was tempered down already compared to what you may have in the province. I can not imagine how spicy that would be, probably to the level of smoke coming out of the ears that we often see in cartoons.
Camalig’s Pinangat. This one is a bit similar to the Laing but contains soft shell crab and young coconut meat. I enjoyed this one more because it had more coconut cream and the addition of soft shell crabs was a great flavor enhancer.
Pancit ‘Bato’ Rinuguan, noodles with shrimp, pechay, pig’s blood and crispy chicken. Although I do not eat dinuguan, the way they cooked this noodle dish made me like it (I just avoid thinking about it).
Sorsogon’s Catch of the Day, fresh grilled seafood. This one will be presented in a live cooking station during the festival.
The first dessert we got to taste, Daet’s Formosa Pineapple Upside Down, was both beautiful and did not contain any chilies (Yipee!). This one uses the small super sweet pineapples from Daet, in an individual upside down cake presentation. There also a surprise pili cookie underneath that was really good.
Some of the other desserts include the Chocolate Chili Truffle and Chili Creme Brulee. I got a little taste of that creme brulee and that was enough for me, way too spicy for me.
Good thing for the Nilupak, a mashed banana and coconut dessert which pounded away all the spice in my taste buds.
I’m happy that more and more hotels are holding Filipino themed buffets, with classic dishes given a modern update using western cooking techniques. Dishes are presented and served differently to make it easier for foreigners to appreciate and hopefully our cuisine will not be immediately associated with the cringe worthy balut.
Pinoy Hot at HEAT featuring Chef Sonny Almendras runs from June 12 to June 30, available during lunch and dinner.
Pinoy HotHEAT Edsa Shangri-la Manila 1 Garden Way, Ortigas Center, Manadaluyong City Manila, Philippines Telephone no. : 633-8888
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