By Mye Mulingtapang, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau
There is no single dish that represents the Philippines, but a lot of world class chefs promote Filipino cuisine for the locals to experience and describe the flavors themselves. It has always been difficult to define what Filipino food is and many would associate it to typical Asian dishes. While Filipino fashion, furniture, and our white sand beaches have already reached mainstream, our food has had its fair share of challenges alluring the foreign palate. The style of cooking, the food associated with it, and the layers of history and culture in Filipino gastronomy have evolved. A paradigm shift from traditional to modern and fresh approaches without losing the counterpoint of sweet and salty in every plate. Who would have thought that our adobo and kaldereta will conquer the land of pizza and pasta? Or English people would trade their fish and chips for lumpia and sisig? Guess what? Two restaurants made it to the list of the best places to dine in Italy and London and, yes, they are proudly Filipino.
YUM Taste of the Philippines is the first Filipino gourmet restaurant in Milan offering a new wave of Pinoy dishes, which locals think they can only find in the Philippines. Equally satisfying from the plate to the palate, Chef Marvin Braceros has further promoted Filipino cuisine up a notch. He experimented on Filipino fusion modernizing our novelties such as pansit, lumpia, palabok, and kare-kare giving them a totally different presentation making Italians feel more comfortable to try our food and eventually developing a taste for it.
A year after it opened, YUM has gained a huge Italian following of foodies, food bloggers, and those who are just curious about the microrestaurant that has become the talk of the town. Just recently, it was chosen as one of the Best Restaurants in Italy for 2018 by a prestigious wine and food magazine Gambero Rosso. The only Filipino restaurant in the list of 2,625 restaurant in Italy, YUM was chosen based on the originality of the menu, table service, ambiance, and affordable price.
From Manila to London, former senior banker and restaurateur Rowena Romulo opened the first international branch of the family-owned chain of restaurants in the UK in 2016. Romulo Cafè is located in the heart of Kensington where a diverse restaurant cluster can be found. But the newcomer easily gained traction. It offers Filipino food with a modern flare. The chef-driven restaurant has a hearty family recipe menu from rice, vegetable and noodle dishes, viands to salads and desserts. The decor and ambiance also speaks chic and elegance.
Romulo Cafè has bagged the prestigious 2018 British Tatler Restaurant guide and is considered the best place to get Filipino food in London. Tatler announced the winners of its 15th annual Restaurant Awards, which were presented in the Ballroom at the Savoy, London on the evening of Monday 30th October by Jeremy Wayne, Tatler's Restaurant Editor. In the guide, Romulo Café is described as "modelled on a comfortable Filipino house and delivering delicious Filipino food with modern flair…Cocktails, complex and highly Instagrammable, are paired with dishes such as prawns with crab roe and green beans, or pork-belly sisig with pickled apples to great effect." It went on to single out Romulo Café’s "family friendly feel."
ALSO READ: In Focus: Joey De Leon's Son Jako Talks His Journey From Content Creation To Vlogging