Yes, there really is a lambanog tiramisu or coconut vodka tiramisu and its one of the unique and interesting desserts served at Independencia, Marco Polo Hotel Cebu’s Cafe Marco Culinary Journey in celebration of the Philippine Independence Day. It’s wonderfully strong, just like how lambanog should be but with the flavor of tiramisu lingering longer right after the alcohol has vanished. This, served in a small glass more like a shot glass.
Independencia is this month’s Culinary Journey at the Cafe Marco, Cebu’s best buffet, conceptualized by guru Jessica Avila, which focuses on the cuisines of Luzon, Visayas (sans Cebu) and Mindanao. It’s actually like traveling around the country and sampling the flavors and food of these regions in one place! Lots of preparation was done for this event with the chefs specifically visiting provinces in these three regions to learn how to cook certain dishes.
There were lots of dishes served, representing these three regions and some of these were really standouts. From Luzon kare-kare was one of the highlighted dishes and I just love the way the skin and ligaments were cooked, tender and melt in your mouth. Iloilo and Bacolod was well represented with KBL (kadyos, baboy kag langka) with tempered use of batuan, the souring agent, lumpia ubod (sauteed coconut pith wrap) which was delicious and can stand on its own even with the minimal sauce, Pansit Molo and Batchoy. The last two were especially good.
If you want to know how pansit molo and batchoy actually taste like the best in Iloilo, you have to try these two dishes at this food event. The pansit molo is actually based from the one prepared by Kapitan Ising of Molo, probably the best there is in Iloilo. Savory broth with diaphanous molo wrappers swimming in the soup while the meat component was flavorful. The batchoy on the other hand was based from one of the well known batchoyan in La Paz Market, where it all started. The broth is rich, just the way I have it at Netongs where I eat almost every morning whenever I am in Iloilo City.
There was satti and beef kulma from Zamboanga City as well as shrimps in Alavar sauce. The satti is tender with its rich sauce, although, not as spicy as it is in the south. The beef kulma is actually beef in coconut curry and popular as a Tausug dish. For the shrimp, it was tender and fresh. What I do remember each time I eat at Alavar’s in Zamboanga City is the aromatic and rich taste of the Alavar’s sauce which they use over seafood and especially the curacha, or spanner crabs. Eating with my hands, I always lick my fingers clean after each meal. But at this buffet, how I wish to do that!
Dessert was a smorgasbord from the different regions. There was flaky napoleones from Bacolod, soft cassava cake made interesting with grated cheese on top. Bukhayo balls (coconut meat strips cooked in syrup and shaped), piaya (muscovado flat bread), peanut brittle, tagaktak (rice flour mix steadily poured into cooking oil and formed into triangles like a messy coil), masareal (sugar and peanut mix bar), and that camote triangle (mashed sweet potato wrapped into triangles, fried with sugar and served with vanilla sauce). And delicious squash ice cream!
Independencia, a Culinary Journey
Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Cebu (032) 253 1111 and Manila (02) 887 1263
10-16 June 2016