Undoubtedly, the Filipino's penchant for food is an intrinsic part of the country's culture, where the art of relating with one another is punctuated deliciously with the act of breaking bread. Meals have long been the conduit for conversation and shared moments, whether it be with casual acquaintances, family members, or business associates. The question “Saan tayo kakain?” becomes an ubiquitous preamble to these culinary sojourns, where the search of an appropriate establishment that satisfies varying tastes and cravings becomes an important issue that needs to be addressed.
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It is this conundrum that gave rise to The Food Project (TFP), a culinary space in San Fernando, La Union, that provides a delicious solution to the Filipino's quest for variety. “TFP's concept is to soley satisy the five senses: sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing,” shares owner Ken Tan. Others, it would seem, have the same idea, given the proliferation of these types of establishments that are mushrooming all over the country, but Ken is adamant to set TFP apart by focusing on their unique selling proposition. “Food parks nationwide have a bad rep for being cramped and having low quality,” observes Ken, “We'd like to classify ourselves as a food community, investing soley in the best service, best quality of food and best profile picture you can have.”
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Ken's idea comes into fruition through an open spaced layout featuring a carefully curated collection of food establishments. “Our concessionaires are mostly reputable foodie people in the province who invests in quality,” he relates, “Everyone has to go through several stages before being accepted. We hired chefs from singapore and baguio country club to critique the concessionaires.” They also recognized the importance of the visual feel of their space, given the centricity of “IG-worthiness” in the selection process of most millennials. “Besides the wide variety of great food, the place is tailor-fitted to feed your Instagram appetite,” shares Ken, pointing out several picturesque spots that patrons can use to capture photos of the food and of themselves.
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The result is a colorful, multi-textural landscape that people can relax, enjoy a good meal, and inevitably, snap an “IG-worthy” photo to commit the moment to posterity. Ken recognizes the challenge to keep TFP relevant to the food scape of La Union. “It's all about investing in quality,” he reveals, “That should not be compromised.”
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Photographs by Vyn Radovan