Sunday, October 4, 2020

Dining in the Next Normal: Tidtad, Kilayin, Sampelut and Other Nostalgic Flavors Delivered by Culinarya Pampanga

For some months now, our world as we know it seems to have stopped amidst the viral pandemic. It's a time to pause and appreciate the things that truly matter as fond memories of childhood favorites from simpler times keep popping up as a response to the new normal. Culinarya Pampanga lets you rediscover these comforting dishes conveniently delivered to your home...

Culinarya Pampanga takes you on a flavorful and nostalgic trip back in time with their wide array of traditional Capampangan dishes available for pick-up and delivery. The chefs behind Culinarya Pampanga are some of the country's finest led by Chef Sau del Rosario as they take Pampanga to your home dining table with classic savory Capampangan dishes and desserts. Dining at home is now the new normal and along with the rise of the food delivery culture defining new consumer habits, Culinarya Pampanga lets you revisit some of your childhood favorites for a memorable feast in the safety and comfort of your home (for more on Culinarya Pampanga and their authentic Capampangan offerings, see my previous post, Dining in the Next Normal: Nostalgic and Authentic Capampangan Flavors Comes to Your Home Dining Table with Culinarya Pampanga). Does Tidtad, Kilayin, Sampelut and Leche Flan trigger some food memories? Then, read on... 

In addition to traditional and savory Capampangan dishes from their All-Star Menu, Culinarya Pampanga now offers indulgent Desserts  highlighted in their new "Diserts" Menu. Each order from Culinarya Pampanga is packaged and sealed following the health and safety guidelines established for the new normal. 

Culinarya Pampanga brings together noted Filipino chefs including Sau del Rosario of Cafe Fleur and 25 Seeds, Howard Dizon of Howard Dizon's Catering, Vince Garcia of Rainforest Kitchene, Judy Uson of Cafe Noelle, Cherry Pasion-Tan of Apag Marangle, Den Lim of Denlim's Kitchen, Froi Cruz of Cioccolo and Nico Bailon of Downtown Cafe and Bale Dutung. It's an all-star cast of Pampanga's very best with each one sharing their specialty Capampangan dishes. Launched at the height of the lockdown, Culinarya Pampanga's journey was curiously serendipitous as dining at home became the norm. 

The timing just seemed right. From elaborate and festive dishes to simple yet comforting meals, here's some of the bestsellers from Culinarya Pampanga: Tidtad (P 400 Medium good for 2-3/P 790 Large good for 4-5), the Capampangan version of dinuguan is a rich regional variation of the local pork stew in pig's blood with green chili. Chef Froi Cruz recreates this local classic the way I remember it, fork-tender pork slathered in a dark, thick sauce bursting with real flavors. 

There are countless variations of dinuguan as there are regions in the Philippines, but it's the use of pig's blood as both the sauce and thickener becoming the common thread that ties the dish with its regional counterparts. Dinuguan is known by different names, depending on the province, from Dinardaraan in Ilocos to Rugodugo in Visayas and Sinugaok in Batangas. In Pampanga, the pork blood stew is known as Tidtad. Simmered until tender with vinegar, the sumptuous pork stew combines all the flavors of the ingredients in a delicate yet rich balance of savory notes.

Best paired with steamed white rice, the richness of the Tidtad is tempered by the soothing heat of the siling haba or green chili. Some would enjoy it with a condiment of fish sauce loaded with chili on the side, but the complex flavors of Tidtad are more than enough and best enjoyed on its own. And don't forget to slather some of that thick sauce on your rice. 

Then, there's one more dish to complete your nostalgic journey of rediscovery back in time. The Kilayin (P 400 Medium good for 2-3/P 790 Large good for 4-5) by Chef Den Lim is another Capampangan classic made with pork, innards, lungs and liver simmered in vinegar and topped with green chili for a unique and distinct richness. The blend of different pork cuts adds layers of complex notes to the local stew with the various offals lending its unique flavors. I remember my first experience with Kilayin from so many childhood summers back, enjoying every spoonful with the contrasting textures of offals draped in a savory sauce. It's memories like this that makes the dishes of Culinarya Pampanga special. 

Every Capampangan family may have their secret recipe for kilayin, but Chef Den Lim captures the subtle nuances of the dish from the delicate notes of the pork to the pronounced and distinct flavors of the various offals in a seamless blend. It's this richly layered weave of flavors from different cuts of pork tenderized with vinegar that makes this dish special. Liver and offals may be an acquired taste for many, as Capampangans are known to use all the cuts of pork in traditional dishes without wasting any part of it. Just like the iconic Capampangan sisig, when something special can be created from unwanted cuts. The snout-to-tail philosophy is deeply rooted in Capampangan culinary tradition even before it became a culinary trend, and this can be experienced with the classic Kilayin

As a child, I remember seeing my parents enjoy kilayin paired with sweet bananas. It may seem strange at first, even funny, and it took a while for me to try it. But then it all makes sense when you eventually give it a go. The nutty and savory richness of the kilayin are perfectly complemented by the sweetness of the bananas. Even the pronounced notes of the liver are tempered by the bananas for a unique taste of Pampanga's colorful tapestry of flavors. It's dishes like this that allows you to reconnect with your past, and in these challenging times, a nostalgic trip back to simpler times triggered by a few comforting bites of familiar flavors is a welcome reprieve from the realities of the new normal. And you can enjoy it within the safety and comfort of home.   

Knowing you have a stash of childhood favorites in the ref from Culinarya Pampanga is both comforting and reassuring, making it easier to look forward to another day in the new normal. Reheated the following day, the flavors of the Kilayin are even more concentrated and intense. Dining at home becomes so much more special with the dishes of your childhood. 

And just like many Filipino dishes stewed in vinegar, Kilayin just tastes better days after it's cooked. Culinarya Pampanga offers a wide array of traditional Capampangan dishes, from Humba to Pastel de Lengua and Pindang Damulag to Lamb Shank Sinigang sa Bayabas or bulanglang, Begukan, Lechon Paksiw and Asadong Dila (more on their savory offerings on my previous post, Dining in the Next Normal: Nostalgic and Authentic Capampangan Flavors Comes to Your Home Dining Table with Culinarya Pampanga). Each dish is prepared by Pampanga's finest chefs, delivered and served on your dining table. 

Culinarya Pampanga now offers a wide variety of traditional Capampangan desserts under their indulgent "Diserts" Menu selection including classic favorites like Pastillas de Magalang, Panecillos de San Nicolas Cookies, Suman Pasku, Tibok-Tibok, Buko Lychee Sherbet, Turrones de Casoy and Sans Rival

The silky smooth Sampelut (P 390) or ginataang bilo-bilo with jackfruit, bananas and sticky rice balls draped in sweet coconut milk by Chef Sau del Rosario is one of those childhood favorites offered by Culinarya Pampanga. Like many local delicacies, the lavish dessert reflects the agrarian heritage of the province and bountiful abundance of the land. Rice, coconuts, bananas and jackfruits are just some of the crops that defined our heritage, history and economy, and it all comes together in a lavish bowl of pure indulgence recreated by Chef Sau del Rosario.

Served either hot or chilled, the Sampelut was usually the highlight of countless childhood summer afternoons in Pampanga. And Chef Sau masterfully recreates this traditional dessert with his elegant culinary style. From the soft, chewy texture of the sticky rice balls to the natural sweetness of the bananas and jackfruit slathered in creamy and indulgent coconut cream, this is ginataang bilo-bilo elevated. After all, it's what you can expect from the creative genius behind the decadent Vananah Walnut Tsokolateh Vread (for more on Chef Sau del Rosario's famous Vananah Walnut Tsokolateh Vread, see my post, Dining in the Next Normal: Move Over Banana Bread and Make Way for Chef Sau del Rosario's Indulgent Vananah Walnut Tsokolateh Vread).

Craving for more indulgence? The Delicate Leche Flan (P 450) by Chef Cherry Pasion Tan is another must-try from the long list of tempting dessert offerings of Culinarya Pampanga. Made from carabao's milk and duck eggs, the Delicate Leche Flan is so much richer with its dense yet silky smooth texture. Each bite drapes the palate with its indulgent richness finished by a hint of zesty citrus notes from the local dayap for balanced flavors. The Delicate Leche Flan isn't just about sweetness. It's the blend of both texture and flavors from the blend of carabao's milk, duck eggs and local dayap that gives this dessert lavish layers of indulgent flavors. And one slice just isn't enough. Like many Capampangan dishes, it's all about real, unrestrained flavors. 

If you like what you've seen so far, there's more. With your nostalgic cravings triggered, here's the full menu of Culinarya Pampanga from their authentic savory dishes to indulgent desserts including traditional delicacies from the grand dames of Capampangan cuisine, Lillian Borromeo and her famous Panecillos de San Nicolas Cookies and Mila Gomez of Aling Mila with her popular Tocino BBQ...

It's an impressive menu, and Culinarya Pampanga has that dish you've been craving during the quarantine. Pick-up or delivery, enjoying your favorite dish is easy. 

You can write-off the year 2020, thanks to the virus. But we've seen creative innovations rising from the quarantine experience adding a positive note in these uncertain times. Now, you don't have to drive up north for comforting and nostalgic dishes, Pampanga comes to your table at home. And all you need is one call to Culinarya Pampanga to take you back on a culinary journey, one flavorful dish and indulgent dessert at a time...

For more on Culinarya Pampanga and their specialty menu offerings, simply call 0917 324 2768 for orders, inquiries and more information. You can also order via PM on their FB Page at and DM on IG at for more updates. You can also opt to pick-up your orders at Culinarya Pampanga's commissary/delivery hub located at 62 Victoria Avenue, New Manila, Quezon City right across St. Luke's Hospital. 

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