Ok, so after the long wait, it’s finally out.
Food writer and tv-show host Anthony Bourdain’s much long-awaited No Resevations Philippines premiered last Feburary 16 at the Travel Channel in the U.S. I have not yet seen any of the episode and can only deduce that it incited some very passionate debates gleaned from here to here.
Of course as with every Filipino meal, there will always be palates to please and quite understandably, my Manila segment got a mouthful. From well-wishing long-time-no-see friends to people who critiqued just about anything from my ‘horrible’ accent to being a host “so bland that I looked and sounded like a call center worker.”
I guess that’s a slice of show-biz life to me, the show is entertainment after all and if anything ,I now know how it feels like to be a Sharon Cuneta or Piolo Pascual in the eyes of the world. Hee Hee.
So I will just to wait for my clear DVD copy when the producer sends it to me but for the meantime, here’s the real insider score of the menu I prepared AB, just to put everything in proper context perhaps make the viewers understand why the Manila segment came out that way.
1. Producers Choice. First and foremost, its the producer’s who have the first and last say, while we resource persons are given opportunities to tweak and add our inputs to the show, at the end of the day its is the producer’s call. Hence for the Manila segment, the theme was ‘gritty but tasty with a Chinese-Spanish fusion input.” Hence the Binondo Chinatown bit. I’ve heard of complaints on why I had to do Binondo as opposed to the swankier joints in Greenhills or Makati. As any true-blue Manileno would know, Binondo is the one true culinary-cultural heartland of the city which certainly fit the theme set by the producers.
2. Time Constraint. When you have two days to shoot in a metropolis as big as the island republic of Singapore, you wont have everything in a mouthful no matter how hard you try. Oh, and did I tell you the whole of the Binondo segment took an hour, the dampa took three and the host had about 5 hour rest period in between. Probablly not much time as the host should have put I guess he doesnt take too much to the heat and long shooting hours.
Here is the complete Manila menu we cooked up for AB:
1. Lumpia (Sariwa at Shanghai)
2. Taho (taken at random)
4. Chickenballs (not my first choice as this was taken at random because there was no fishballs available!)
5. Mamang Sorbetero cheese, ube or mango ice cream (couldnt find one when you need them!)
7. Adobong Hipon
8. Ginataang Alimango na may Kalabasa
9. San Miguel Beer (two pitchers mostly finished by AB)
All told, my hats off and a BIG THANK YOU to all those who took time (Augusto the Catalyst, ClaudeTayag my half-Kabalen, Rich the local fixer, Marketman and his crew, Chef Gene Gonzales of Cafe Ysabel and Juday, one of my favorite actresses) to present our cuisine and our culture in a truly informative, passionate and true-to-its-roots way. Verbal slip-ups, nervousness and ‘horrible’ accents aside, I hope this concerted effort by everyone will have helped in changing perceptions, gaining appreciation and marketing the culinary heritage of our country. Every little step counts.
A parting shot of my last meal with Bourdain. Plate to the top left is AB’s, top right is mine. Just look how we both lapped up the crabs. Yum!
Oh, and while we’re at it, check out my culinary find from a recent backpacking trip to Cebu , if Anthony Bourdain or any other food show hosts ever walks by again, I’m taking them here!
Imagine, 50 + dishes, GOOD quality, the freshest seafood, clams the size of my fist, liempo, local salads, oysters, gigantic fishes, sausages, meat dishes, noodles…the list goes.
All for P300.00 per person!
Too bad its not anyway near where I live but for this, I would seriously consider another 3 hour road trip from Cebu City and a one-hour ferry ride to Bantayan island.
Food heaven indeed.