by Greedy Glutton

August is a well-celebrated month as it pays tribute to the men and women of courage that enabled us to experience the freedom we have now. The Manila Hotel commends this month of valor through a two-week KABAYANIHAN food festival at Cafe Ilang-Ilang prepared by Chef Jessie Sincioco, an acclaimed chef that prepared the meal of Pope Francis and the delegates of ASEAN Summit held last 2017. I was lucky to sit down with her and sample some of her masterpieces on a plate.

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This special menu highlights some of our National Heroes’ favored dishes like Melchora Aquino’s Tinolang Manok that she served to wounded soldiers. Chef Jessie took a different route by using free-range chicken, boiled to perfection, and conserved the same ingredients we all love about tinola; slices of green papaya and chili leaves in a thick and rich ginger broth.

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Chef Jessie prepared a delicious salad using Alugbati, our very own spinach, as the key ingredient mixed with dulong, bagoong and salted egg.

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Did anyone ever wonder why Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo were so emblematic and eloquent? Dr. Jose Rizal wrote these laudable novels while eating his favorite Bistek Tagalog. Chef Jessie used Angus cooked medium-rare to retain the natural taste and juiciness of the beef. Homemade atchara and sweet onions were tossed in to keep that sweet-sour taste of this Filipino favorite.

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She prepared Budin for dessert which is a Filipino pudding that deserves to have its own space in the National Museum. This pudding has a delectable variance of sweetness and texture from three different ingredients; leche flan, sponge cake and macapuno.

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Some of the dishes that she will also be preparing during this two-week fete are Gabriela Silang’s Pinakbet, Gregorio Del Pilar’s Sapin-Sapin and Andres Bonifacio’s favorite Litson Manok.

Buffet Rates for August 20 to September 2, 2018
LUNCH (Monday to Saturday) PHP2,375 net
BRUNCH (Sunday) PHP2,550 net
DINNER (Sunday to Wednesday) PHP2,675 net
DINNER (Thursday to Saturday) PHP3,270 net

Special Degustation menu at the Champagne Room will be held on August 30 and 31. For inquiries and reservations, call 527 0011 extension 1261 to 1264 or email restuarantrsvn@themanilahotel.coms.