Wednesday, June 13, 2018

What's For Dinner? Timeless Flavors for Dinner at F1 Hotel Manila's 6th LuzViMinda Filipino Food Festival

Authentic, local and real flavors made with the freshest regional ingredients. This year's edition of F1 Hotel Manila's much-awaited LuzViminda 6: Timeless Flavors Filipino Food Festival takes you on a culinary journey around the country's rich and diverse culinary heritage, all in one place.

From June 8 to 30, 2018, F1 Hotel Manila offers vibrant and authentic regional flavors with LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Flavors, a flavorful culinary journey of Filipino cuisine in tune with the country's Independence Day celebrations. Following the success of the past five Filipino Food Festivals at F1 Hotel Manila, this year's edition takes you deeper into the heart of our culinary heritage with a curated spread of dishes. After a sumptuous lunch at F1 Hotel Manila's signature F All-Day Dining Restaurant (for more on the epic lunch earlier that day, see my previous post Timeless Flavors at F1 Hotel Manila's 6th Edition of the LuzViMinda Filipino Food Festival), it was time for dinner at the hotel's Silver Function Room to sample the next cycle of local dishes from the long-running LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Flavors Filipino Food Festival. Read on and feast your eyes on timeless Filipino flavors...

The recent Independence Day celebrations are more than enough reasons to explore and rediscover uniquely Filipino flavors. For this year's LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Flavors edition, F1 Hotel Manila's Executive Chef Angelo "Chubby" Timban, along with guest Chefs Zheryl "Zhe" Jacinto and 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) showcase an impressive curated spread of regional specialties including inspired updated versions of classic favorites. And if that meant going straight to the source for the finest and freshest local ingredients, then that's how it was. Executive Chef Chubby Timban traveled all the way to Taytay and down south to Cagayan de Oro to ensure authenticity in all his featured dishes. The extensive research behind this year's edition of LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Flavors is evident from the starters to savory mains all the way to desserts. Later that day, the next cycle of featured dishes for the LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Flavors Filipino Food Festival were served, starting with the Crispy Bagbagis served in shot glasses, an Ilocano dish with deep-fried pork innards in a tart and mildly spicy sauce... a wide array of garden-fresh salads using regional vegetables for unique flavors and textures. Each region has their own recipe using what's available locally, and the featured salad creations provide so many insights on the local palate and agrarian economy.

During the month-long Filipino Food Festival, guests can indulge in refreshing local salads like the sweet and tart Pomelo Ubod Salad made with palm hearts...

...the elegantly plated ensemble of Ensaladang Talbos ng Sayote, Paku, Katuray, Suha, at Bulaklak ng Kalabasa with local edible flowers...

...and the flavorful Manga, Bayabas, Suka at Bagoong with regional fruits drizzled with a tart vinaigrette, fermented shrimp paste and chili. The variety of salads alone are a clear indication of the diversity of Filipino cuisine, and there's just so much more to be discovered. 

The play on textural contrast and flavors delight the palate with the Crispy Fried Sotanghon at Hipon, a refreshing take on the traditional noodle dish. The freshness of the ingredients add clean yet bold flavorful notes with each bite, and that's just for starters.

The Dinuguan Pudding is another inventive twist on a classic dish, with pig's blood pudding topped with fresh vegetables and crunchy pork chicharon.

Pakbet becomes a whole lot better with pork, and the Pinakbet Na May Bagnet is a winner. The fresh vegetables and crunchy pork belly combine for rich flavors, capped by the intense notes of the fermented shrimp paste to complete the dish. You'll want extra rice with this one.

The popular favorite pork sisig is also given a flavorful tweak with the Sisig Itum, infused with burnt coconut. Rich, savory and spicy with subtle nutty notes, it's your favorite sisig with a distinct southern twist. And it works. 

The classic roast stuffed chicken is given an indulgent makeover with the Rellenong Manok with Truffle Oil. Tender and juicy with the unmistakable hint of truffles, this one's a winner chicken dinner.

The northern version of sisig from Ilocos is also featured with the Dinakdakan ni Apo Lakay, with fork-tender pork mask draped in a creamy sauce topped with chili. Have this with a refreshing cocktail.

Not your usual bone marrow soup, the Ox-Tail Bulalo is a leveled-up version of a classic made with ox-tail. Thickened by the natural collagen from the ox-tail, it's a savory dish that lines your palate with beefy richness. Perfect on a rainy evening. Or just about any day, really.

At the far end of the buffet spread, another dish is served lit up by the heat lamp...

The Hinurnong Maya-Maya sa Sibuyas, Kamias, Kulantro, Kamatis at Luya, oven-baked whole red snapper topped with onions, cilantro, tomatoes, ginger and bilimbi is a feast for the eyes. The fresh and delicate notes of the fish are kicked up by the vibrant notes of the various vegetables for bold yet balanced flavors. 

To make the evening even more festive, Philippine Craft Spirits from the country's oldest distillery, Destileria Limtuaco, were also served. The new line of craft spirits are yet another expression of uniquely Filipino flavors (for more on Destileria Limtuaco's line of Philippine Craft Spirits, see my previous posts, Philippine Craft Spirits: The Best of the Philippines in a Bottle on their extensive range of local spirits, Local Flavors in a Bottle: At The Manille Liqueur de Dalandan Launch... on their newest liqueur, Salo sa Taal: The Liquid Chef at Villa Tortuga on the inventive local-inspired cocktails made with Philippine Craft Spirits by Destileria Limtuaco, and Flavors of El Nido: Good Vibes at Manille Beach Bar on Destileria Limtuaco's cool beach bar in Palawan).

Soothing with just a whisper of a kick, have a round or two. And have another. Good times...

For dessert, Executive Chef Chubby Timban along with Chefs Zhe Jacinto and AJ Reyes pull out all the stops with their indulgent creations like the Tamales Blanca, steamed corn masa wrapped in a corn husk with mildly sweet and delicate notes...

...and the decadent trio of Kutsinto, Durian Creme Eclair, and Guyabano Cheesecake flavored with local fruits for that unique Filipino touch.

And there's more to satisfy your sweet tooth. The popular street food taho, or silky tofu with tapioca pearls, is given a fresh upgrade with the White Chocolate Cold Taho (L) while the Cheesy Pichi-Pichi Festival (R) made from grated cassava gets cheesier at F1 Hotel Manila's LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Flavors festival. 

Matcha has become popular the past few years, why not transform the popular deep-fried rice ball dessert with the Carrioca Matcha? It's flavorful twists like this that make LuzViMinda 6: Timeless Flavors a much-awaited culinary event. Now on its 6th year, the LuzViMinda Filipino Food Festival has become a tradition at F1 Hotel Manila, allowing diners to experience authentic Filipino flavors from all around the country. The month-long festival not only showcases indigenous ingredients and traditional recipes, it also highlights the creativity of the hotel's culinary team and guest chefs. It's a celebration of timeless Filipino flavors, our heritage and our culture. Congratulations to Chef Chubby, Zhel and AJ for ensuring the continued success of the long-running LuzViMinda Filipino Food Festival at F1 Hotel Manila. 

That evening, one of the metro's leading names in native rice cakes was also featured. The Pastillas Cupcake from Aging's Food Delight recreates the childhood favorite, pastillas, in a moist cupcake. It's a cupcake with a Filipino spin. 

Known as "Ang Original Suman na Espesyal sa Bagong Ilog", Aging's Food Delight has taken the native rice cake or suman to the next level with her indulgent creations like the showstopping Suman Cake (R), a best-selling favorite among Tita Aging's loyal customer base.

Stuffing her bite-sized suman with ube or purple yam and creamy leche flan transforms the native rice cake into an indulgent dessert. Top it off with fresh mangoes, cashew nuts or Choc-Nut and drizzle liberally with the thick and sweet coconut cream syrup, and everything in the world is just right.  

Aging's Food Delight also offers decadent Leche Flan, meringue pastries and a whole lot of suman varieties that made Tita Aging the one and only original of special suman (for more on Aging's Food Delight, visit their FB Page here at

Early the next day, a buffet breakfast at F All-Day Dining rounded off another memorable weekend at F1 Hotel Manila. Almost like a second home for the past six years, leaving my Fort Suite after a restful sleep and sumptuous breakfast is always difficult. But then again, coming back home to F1 Hotel Manila is always special...

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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