Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Timeless Flavors at F1 Hotel Manila's 6th Edition of the LuzViMinda Filipino Food Festival

It's an annual culinary tradition that I keep looking forward to, and since my very first experience five years ago, each edition just keeps getting better and better...

Authentic and timeless regional flavors, recreated. F1 Hotel Manila recently launched the much-awaited and long-running LuzViMinda Filipino Food Festival, with this year's 6th Edition dubbed as Timeless Flavors. From June 8 to 30, 2018, guests can indulge in traditional local cuisine masterfully prepared by F1 Hotel Manila's Executive Chef, Angelo "Chubby Timban, in collaboration with Chefs Zheryl "Zhe" Jacinto and Antonio Jose "AJ" Reyes. From Luzon's Insarabsab and Kalabasa Flan, Sinuglaw from the Visayas to Mindanao's Chicken Piyanggang, rediscover the country's rich and diverse culinary heritage at F1 Hotel Manila...

And there's just no better way to celebrate Independence Day and fully immerse yourself in local flavors than an overnight staycation at F1 Hotel Manila. Arriving early for check-in, all arrangements were were facilitated by the always courteous and efficient staff at the hotel's Premier Lounge...

A platter of fresh fruits served as a sweet welcome at my Fort Suite, my home for the weekend. It's the weekend before Independence Day, and a Filipino Food Festival just feels right. It's amazing how time flies, as I look back on my food blog's journey from the very first LuzViMinda Filipino Food Festival at F1 Hotel Manila (see my very first post here at Simply Awesome: The LUZVIMINDA Filipino Festival of Flavors at F1 Hotel Manila) all the way to the current edition. Through the years, one can't help but notice the subtle progression in both authenticity and creativity for the annual festival at F1 Hotel Manila and my food blog's visual style and growth (for more on the previous LuzViMinda Filipino Food Festivals at F1 Hotel Manila, see my earlier posts here at A Sneak Peek at F1 Hotel Manila's LuzViMinda 2 Buffet back in 2014, An Epic Celebration of Local Flavors at F1 Hotel Manila's LuzViMinda 3 Pistang Pinoy from 2015, Classic All-Filipino Flavors with F1 Hotel Manila's LuzViMinda 4 Heirloom Recipes Festival back in 2016, and Five Years Running: The LuzViMinda Ika-Limang Serye Gastronomical Fusion Filipino Food Festival at F1 Hotel Manila from last year). And what a journey. This year's LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Flavors promises to be just as special as all the previous editions. This year, I'll be sharing with you both the lunch and dinner spreads (more on the epic dinner buffet featuring the next cycle of dishes on post here at What's For Dinner? Timeless Flavors for Dinner at F1 Hotel Manila's 6th LuzViMinda Filipino Food Festival) of LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Flavors, so grab a drink and read on...

For the latest edition of LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Flavors at F1 Hotel Manila, Executive Chef Angelo "Chubby" Timban takes us on a culinary journey around the Philippines using regional and local ingredients for a curated menu of masterfully prepared dishes. Digging deeper into each region's local cuisine, Chubby Timban set out to recreate timeless flavors that continue to shape our national identity with the freshest indigenous ingredients from all over the country.

Sourcing fresh, local and indigenous ingredients is no easy task. And surprisingly, getting imported premium ingredients is often much easier. But Chef Angelo "Chubby" Timban goes the extra mile, from Taytay to Cagayan de Oro and every place in between to bring back the finest regional ingredients for the LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Flavors buffet spread at F1 Hotel Manila's F All-Day Dining Restaurant. Teaming up with Executive Chef Chubby Timban are popular TV host and Chef Zheryl "Zhe" Jacinto and Chef Antonio Jose "AJ" Reyes of Privatus Dining (for more on Privatus Dining, see my earlier post, Elevating the Bespoke Private Dining Experience at Privatus Dining ).

Almost like a second home for the past six years, it was good to see old familiar faces again at F1 Hotel Manila. Each visit becomes even more special when greeted by the same people with their genuine heartfelt smiles.  Definitely good to be back and seeing old friends once F1 Hotel Manila.

As the weekend lunch crowd arrived, the station chefs fired up the grills. Down the convenient linear layout of the buffet spread, diners can experience the full depth and width of our rich culinary heritage. So pick up a plate...

A tasty glimpse of the country's rich agrarian and marine economy can be seen in the diverse buffet spread at F All-Day Dining Restaurant, from Crispy Dilis and other dried fish popular before refrigeration became available and still sought after today... Deep-Fried Crablets coated in a light batter for that extra crunch and Fried Spring Rolls with a savory meat and vegetable filling. Spanish and Chinese influences have molded the country's diverse culinary heritage, and this is showcased at F1 Hotel Manila's LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Flavors. 

Battered Deep-Fried Tawilis, a freshwater sardine unique to the country and found only in Lake Taal in Southern Luzon, is yet another example of our unique culinary heritage. 

Recreating the vibrant street food scene are skewers of various grilled meats including Pork and Chicken Barbecue, and the wittingly-named Adidas or barbecued chicken feet and Walkman or grilled pig's ears. Often discarded, no part is wasted in the local street food scene. In fact, many local favorites such as sisig has its origins from discarded parts, where pig heads were disposed of after delivering the carcass for commercial use. Inventive cooks found use for the discarded pig's head, and the rest, as they say, is history. Take the now popular Sinigang na Salmon, made with fish heads, as another example. You could say that Filipino cuisine was already in the groove with the nose to tail movement way before it was even a culinary concept.

But it's the variety of salads and fresh vegetables that impressed me the most at this year's edition of LuzViminda 6: Timeless Flavors at F1 Hotel Manila. Generations old recipes are revived using indigenous vegetables and grains for some unique salads, like the Adlai and Smoked Corn Salad, with heirloom grains from Mindanao...

...and other simple yet complex salads with bold and vibrant notes. Each part of the country has their own recipes based on locally available ingredients, and you can have a taste of the different regions by the Salad Bar of F All-Day Dining.

From the familiar Ensaladang Talong of Luzon... the refreshing Seaweed Ensalada of the Visayas...

...and the Burong Catmon, Inihaw na Gulay, Karamay, Bignay at Peras with preserved fruits and grilled vegetables also from the far south are just some of the unique salads at F1 Hotel Manila's LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Flavors Filipino Food Festival.

With over 7,107 islands, seafood remains an integral part of our culinary heritage. At the Fresh Seafood Station, enjoy the day's freshest catch of shellfish, including plump Mussels and Clams...

...succulent Crabs...

...and fresh Shrimps. Great as is with a drizzle of chili vinegar, you can also have your seafood baked, grilled or sauteed with butter and garlic.

Fresh Oysters on a Half Shell from Antique topped with seaweed, peppers and chili are the perfect starters before the savory mains with its light and delicate briny sweetness. Grab an easy dozen and enjoy.

With an abundance of fresh seafood, regional variations of ceviche can be found throughout the country. Executive Chef Chubby Timban and guest chefs Zhe Jacinto and AJ Reyes collaborate for an extensive selection of local ceviche, like the Kilawin de Choca...

...and the refreshing Kinilaw na Lobster served in shot glasses. Fresh, clean flavors capped by the bold sharp notes of vinegar tempered by the sweetness of fresh fruits, you'll want another shot. And another. During the month-long run of LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Classics at F1 Hotel Manila, guests will experience even more regional variations in the succeeding cycles.

That day, the buffet spread featured even more tasty bites like the Ensaladang Talong at Okra (L) and delicate hand-rolled Scallop Nigiri (R). Ideal between plates of savory mains, these tasty appetizers prepare your palate for the next round of dishes at F All-Day Dining Restaurant.

The delicate flavors of the Seafood Galantine with Dried Fruits is another must-try at the Appetizer Station. The impressive buffet spread is both a feast for the eyes and palate, and I've got to hand it to chefs Chubby, Zhe and AJ for their detailed, meticulous and intensive research on regional cuisine. 

Jars of Burong Manga, Burong Singkamas, and Burong Pugo bring back nostalgic memories and flavors from countless childhood summers. Green mangoes, fresh native turnip or jicama and quail eggs brined in a sweet and sour vinegar solution are perfect condiments with fresh seafood.

Local sausages from Batangas, Cabanatuan, Vigan, and Lucban were also served, simply pick your link. The different types of regional longganisa offer distinct flavors, from mildly sweet to earthy and nutty hints of garlic.

Have your longganisa pan-fried to a slight crispness, and enjoy with steamed white rice with a vinegar chili dip.

For the mains, F All-Day Dining Restaurant featured the Adobo Bone Marrow, think of it as a leveled-up pork adobo with a light vinegar and soy-based sauce. The richness of the bone marrow adds an indulgent layer of flavor to this traditional favorite.

Tender and juicy Smoked Chicken Inasal (L) from Bacolod draped in annatto oil and the meaty Bulcachong (R), a buffalo meat stew from Davao are some of the regional dishes featured at the spread. The lean yet tender beef of the Bulcachong and the smoky notes of the Chicken Inasal are just some of the tasty options at the buffet.

But there's more. The Grilled Bicol Express (L) is another inspired take on a southern classic with slabs of grilled pork belly simmered in a rich coconut milk based sauce spiced up with fiery chili while the Beef Korma (R) is a creamy curry dish from Mindanao reflecting culinary influences from our Southeast Asian neighbors.

Leave it to Executive Chef Chubby Timban to find some wild boar featured in his tasty Dinuguang Baboy Ramo. The leaner yet flavorful pork is a tasty spin on the local classic, complimented by the fresh chili.

Another local classic is recreated with the Pocherong Baka ni Ipeng, a hearty stew slow-cooked with tender beef and vegetables. The dish traces its origins to Spain reflecting our shared history and the colonial experience.

Meanwhile, at the Carving Station, savory treats await diners like the boneless Lechon Belly with tender and juicy pork capped with a crisp outer layer of crackling...

...and the fork-tender Beef Belly Tapa, a personal favorite.

Not to be missed is F1 Hotel Manila's Papaitan, an Ilocano soup made with cow or goat innards. Known for its bold bitter notes, Papaitan can be an acquired taste. But there's nothing better on a rainy day than a bowl of authentic Papaitan and some steamed white rice for a satisfying meal.

The starters alone are a meal in itself at F1 Hotel Manila's LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Flavors Filipino Food Festival. But save room for dessert.

And just like the starters and savory mains, you can indulge in all kinds of desserts from far up north to down south and everything in between at F1 Hotel Manila like these elegant shooters with coconut cream and tapioca pearls topped with purple yam and jackfruit... the classic Leche Flan topped with cream and chocolate shards, perfect with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.

Chefs Chubby, Zhe and AJ's collaboration led to some inspired and inventive dessert creations, like the Raspberry Piaya, Guava Creme Brulee (L), Chocolate Polvoron Cups (R) for a playful fusion of local flavors. Like all previous editions of LuzViMinda at F1 Hotel Manila, there's so much more to discover. 

After a sumptuous lunch, I head back to my home away from home at my Fort Suite as another sweet surprise welcomed me. A short nap on a rainy afternoon is always a good idea. What's for dinner? Chefs Chubby Timban, Zhe Jacinto and AJ Reyes have even more flavorful surprises in store for the evening's feast (see my post on the sumptuous epic dinner here at What's For Dinner? Timeless Flavors for Dinner at F1 Hotel Manila's 6th LuzViMinda Filipino Food Festival featuring the next cycle of Filipino dishes). Celebrate authentic regional and local flavors, timeless flavors, at F1 Hotel Manila and rediscover the rich culinary heritage of the Philippines. Guests can indulge in F1 Hotel Manila's annual culinary festival of local flavors, the LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Flavors from June 8 to 30, 2018 for only P 1,699 net per person at F All-Day Dining Restaurant. Start your culinary tour of the country at F1 Hotel Manila with the LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Classics at F All-Day Dining Restaurant.

F1 Hotel Manila is located at 32nd Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City or call (02) 908-7888 for inquiries and reservations. You can also send an email to or visit their site at

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