Friday, August 12, 2022

Weaving Asian Flavors in a Colorful Tapestry by Chef Christina Sunae at Sunae Asian Cantina

Food, they say is a reflection of the past and evolving present, epic journeys and memories shaped by history, geography and foreign influences dictated by available produce. For one American-Korean chef who spent her formative years in Pampanga and now based in Argentina, it's all that and more. 

Chef Christina Sunae brings all this with a unique and wider perspective to the restaurant that bears her name at Sunae Asian Cantina in Bonifacio Global City. It's also what sets Sunae Asian Cantina apart from other Asian restaurants in the metro. Weaving both traditional and familiar flavors without being confined in a box, Chef Christina Sunae opens up a world of flavorful possibilities with her innovative culinary style for inspired interpretations that delight the palate. Step inside Sunae Asian Cantina and take your palate for a ride on the wild side with flavors without borders.  

Located at One Bonifacio High Street Mall, Sunae Asian Cantina exudes a casual and welcoming vibe with its al fresco area for that perfect tipple paired with tasty bites at sundown. Showcasing an extensive menu of diverse Asian cuisines, Sunae Asian Cantina spins a unique tapestry of flavors with a playfully inventive approach for a unique dining experience. Familiar yet refreshingly different, Chef Christina brings traditional notes reinterpreted for a new and novel experience from her Burnt Coconut Curry to Sunae's Sisig and Seafood Peanut Curry (for more on Sunae Asian Cantina, see my earlier post, Dining in the Next Normal: Sunae Asian Cantina Bounces Back with Vibrant Southeast Asian Flavors at One Bonifacio High Street Mall from two years back).

The vibrant color palette of Sunae Asian Cantina's interiors with its open kitchen design provide diners a glimpse of the eclectic yet seamless blend of diverse Asian flavors. For first-timers at Sunae Asian Cantina, the thrill of trying something new sets the tone for the dining experience. For return customers, there's always a dish that will surprise you and make you come back again and again.  

Sunae Asian Cantina also offers fresh baked croissants, pastries and cakes by The Daily Knead adding to the colorful character of the Asian restaurant. Pair it with coffee for a leisurely late morning breakfast or mid-afternoon snack.   

Drawing inspiration from her roots, her travels and various influences, Chef Christina fires up the kitchen for a preview of her new dishes at Sunae Asian Cantina

Arriving early for the special preview, the kitchen is already geared up for the evening's dinner service. Back in Manila after two long years of the quarantine experience due to the global pandemic, Chef Christina wastes no time in prepping the various components for her new dishes at Sunae Asian Cantina.

Guests started to arrive before sunset, as Chef Christina and her team expedited orders. The kitchen starts to buzz with a flurry of activity as more diners arrived.

One of Sunae Asian Cantina's popular bestsellers was served to kick-off our culinary journey of Asian inspired flavors. The Lemongrass Barbecue (P 380) featuring skewered grilled pork with lemongrass and ginger brings the savory richness of pork with subtle smoky hints fresh off the grill followed by the distinct notes of lemongrass and ginger with each bite. 

The juicy pork, infused with the aromatic fragrance of lemongrass used as skewers, delivers multiple layers of flavors from the blend of seasonings. The complex flavors with the savory richness of the pork tempered by the sharpness of the ginger gives it a delectable whisper of sweetness.

The range of vibrant notes in this one dish recreates the diversity of Asian flavors masterfully executed by Chef Christina. Each plate is like a page out of Chef Christina's own personal culinary journey, recreated with fresh, bold and pronounced flavors. 

Chef Christina heads back to the kitchen to prepare the next batch of dishes, exciting new creations taking diners to a much deeper dive into Asian and local flavors. 

Chef Christina then presented one of her new dishes, the Tiger Cracker...

...with fried tofu, a medley of herbs and vegetables drizzled with mildly sweet peanut sauce on a crisp rice cracker.

The play on textural contrasts from that first bite with a crunch then releases a burst of fresh and clean flavors tied together by the thick and sweet peanut sauce. Freshness is flavor, and Chef Christina brings a deceptively simple dish to a whole new level with its blend of distinct notes in a seamless and balanced blend.

The Burnt Cabbage with fresh herbs and peanut sauce is the third dish in the special preview dinner by Chef Christina at Sunae Asian Cafe. A vegetarian dish, the subtle and nuanced sweetness of the fresh cabbage and herbs come through with each bite...

...with the charred outer layer of cabbage adding even more sweetness with just the right smoky hints for another refreshingly new flavor experience. The deep lingering notes of the peanut sauce ties all the distinct notes of the cabbage and assortment of fresh herbs together with every bite. 

The shifting light signals the arrival of magic hour, best enjoyed with a soothing cocktail. Sunae Asian Cantina is the perfect spot for round after round of cocktails.

Enjoy your cocktail outside in the wide open al fresco area and take in the views...

And Sunae Asian Cantina offers some of the best handcrafted libations in BGC, like the classic G&T with its clean and crisp notes to cool you down. 

The Prawn Pao is another new dish from Chef Christina featuring soft cuttlefish ink paos topped with large and succulent prawn tempura, papaya salad and peanuts. Sunae Asian Cantina is known for their savory paos, this time Chef Christina infuses cuttlefish ink to the pillow soft buns for even more flavor.

The briny sweetness of the plump prawns drapes the palate with fresh and bold flavors contrasting with the mildly sour notes from the papaya salad. Completing the dish with its contrasting texture, the crushed peanuts add one more layer of flavor to the Prawn Pao. 

The Curry Puff filled with garbanzo curry brings both Latin and Asian notes in a flaky pastry puff reflecting the culinary journeys of Chef Cristina. A spicy and sweet chili sauce punches through the soft and buttery shell and rich curry, making you go for another bite. It's a large empanada, guaranteed to satisfy any hefty appetite. 

For the last dish, Chef Christina served one of the mainstays of Sunae Asian Cantina, the Crab Curry (P 650). Sweet and succulent blue crab claw meat draped in a homemade curry sauce with a lingering heat from the rich spice blend and chilies gets even more layers of flavors from the fried shallots, kaffir leaves and sigarilyas or winged beans. Best paired with steamed white rice to soak up the curry making it a real meal in itself. The dish is a fitting finale to Chef Cristina's preview of exciting new dishes at Sunae Asian Cafe.

The natural and delicate sweetness of the blue crab meat is kicked up by the punchy flavors of the spicy curry lingering on the palate long after the last bite. But you just keep going at it with another spoonful. And another. 

Cool your palate with another round of cocktails at Sunae Asian Cantina with the Antigo Coco Old-Fashioned (P 295) with its blend of Luisita Oro, coconut sugar syrup and orange bitters. The sweet libation cleanses away the fiery chili of the Crab Curry, and one more sip gets you right back in the groove. Later in the evening, Sunae Asian Cantina takes on a whole new vibe featuring yet another facet of the Asian restaurant. 

Chef Christina Sunae's return to Manila culminates with a special brunch on August 21 at Sunae Asian Cafe...

...featuring a five-course set menu paired with a selection of wines before she flies back to Argentina. Good food triggers an emotion or memory, and Chef Christina has colorful stories to share drawing inspiration from her own roots, experiences and travels. Discover the colorful stories of an American-Korean Chef who grew up in Pampanga and now based in Argentina with the familiar yet refreshingly different Asian flavors with each dish at Sunae Asian Cantina... 

Sunae Asian Cantina is located at the 2/F View Deck of One Bonifacio High Street Mall, 5th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City or call 7746 9046 and 0916 607 4903 for inquiries. For more on Sunae Asian Cantina, visit their FB Page at and their IG Feed at @SunaeAsianCantinaPH.

Dude for Food is now on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, check out these social media accounts for regular updates on good eats. Better yet, click "Like" and "Follow" and enjoy the ride...just look for the FB and IG widgets on the right sidebar.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got something to share? I'd love to hear from you...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...