Kusina Maria

Food Blog + Food Shop

Brand’s Native Lechon [Roast Whole Pig] | Davao Food

Davao is not known for lechon. A lot of travelers visit Davao without even thinking of lechon. But Davaoeños know that we have really good lechon here in Davao. And each Davao foodie has his own top pick. After all, we do have a lot of lechoneros (lechon vendors) each with a different take on the Philippines’ most famed celebratory dish. No doubt about it, whatever your lechon preference is, there is a Davao lechonero that will satisfy your craving.

Good news for all! A new lechonero has arrived. Brand’s Native Lechon is now in Davao City to delight our taste buds with their native lechon already popular in Digos.

Brand's Native Lechon

Brand’s Native Lechon ready to be unboxed and devoured.

For those who do not know, “lechon” is a popular Filipino dish usually served as centerpiece during special occasions.

A whole pig is slaughtered, prepared, filled with herbs and spices, and slow roasted in an open fire pit. The result is juicy and tasty pork with exceptionally savory ribs and belly. All enclosed in crunchy pork skin. The crunch of the skin providing a good textural contrast to the juicy meat.

That is the ideal lechon for me. Unfortunately, not all lechoneros (lechon makers) achieve all these. To be clear, these are just my own criteria for excellent lechon. If you have your own criteria for good lechon, share it in the comments section below.

Back to my ideal lechon… Luckily, Brand’s Native Lechon serves lechon that passes my criteria for an excellent lechon.

Origin of Brand’s Native Lechon

Brand’s Native Lechon was established in Digos, Davao del Sur just last year. It began as a small, home-based business by Brand de los Cientos. Yep, that is his name and he named his business after himself. Brand is a foodie who started a home-based catering business specializing in Filipino cuisine while he was an Overseas Filipino Worker.

Brand decided to come home and work on a recipe for the Philippines’ most wanted celebration dish, lechon. He formulated the lechon recipe and experimented with lechon-making to achieve the best lechon that would satisfy the palates of Filipinos.

Brand’s Native Lechon uses fresh herbs and secret ingredients to achieve the perfect balance of salty, sour, and umami that will make each bite of Brand’s Native Lechon satisfying and memorable. With his blend of spices and his own take in lechon-making, Brand’s Native Lechon is able to produce temptingly delicious lechon with the ribs and belly so tasty that you will not hesitate eating more even you are already full.

Brand's Native Lechon

Brand’s Native Lechon

Why You Should Try Brand’s

I have eaten a lot of lechon in my life. Lechon is affordable here in Davao, after all. But Brand’s stands out for a number of reasons.

Each bite is juicy and bursting with flavor. Needless to day, it is perfect with a dipping sauce of coconut vinegar and garlic. Plus of course, rice. I assume it would also taste really good with spicy vinegar, with the acidity and spice balancing out the lechon’s savory goodness. An order of whole lechon comes with a bottle of their own blend of spicy vinegar.
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Smoked Salmon Salad by Mykie’s Private Kitchen

Mixed Greens with Truffle Raspberry Vinaigrette and Smoked Salmon by Mykie's Private Kitchen

Mixed Greens with Truffle Raspberry Vinaigrette and Smoked Salmon by Mykie’s Private Kitchen

If you have been reading this blog for quite some time, you probably know by now I love salads. So it should not come as a surprise that I begin most big meals (and any buffet) with a good salad. I think good cold kitchen chefs are grossly undervalued here in Davao so I always take the time to blog about the good salads I have tried.

I was superbly delighted when my first Mykie’s Private Kitchen experience opened with a superb salad. Another thing you have to know is I can’t get enough of salmon, especially when it is raw or smoked. So it’s easy to please my palate with a salmon salad, right? Wrong. I have higher standards and are more picky with food that I love. Needless to say, Mykie’s Private Kitchen’s Mixed Greens with Truffle Raspberry Vinaigrette and Smoked Salmon exceeded expectations.

The salad is composed of a mix of fresh, crisp greens. They use a good mix that combines different flavors and textures. The greens are complemented by the piquant flavor of red onions. I am not a fan of raw onions so I didn’t eat any of it. However, the sharp flavor of onions was obvious throughout the salad. It was a nice touch, I must say.

And the salmon, oh the smoked salmon. It was heavenly. It was tender, perfectly bursting with smokiness and umami flavor with a touch of saltiness and sweetness.

Mixed Greens with Truffle Raspberry Vinaigrette and Smoked Salmon  and Scallops Starters by Mykie's Private Kitchen

Mixed Greens with Truffle Raspberry Vinaigrette and Smoked Salmon and Scallops Starters by Mykie’s Private Kitchen

To bring all these great components together is a superbly flavorful but light Truffle Raspberry Vinaigrette. The mix of funky umami truffle flavor and tangy tarty raspberry is unexpectedly delightful. The dressing ties all the flavors of the greens, the onions, and the salmon together without overpowering any of the salad components.

Kudos to Chef Mykie and Chef Topher who had perfect control over the use of the vinaigrette. It is always tricky dressing a composed salad. There has to be enough dressing to coat and flavor the salad components but not too much to overwhelm the individual flavors.
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Boodle Fight at RBG Park Inn Davao

RBG Boodle Fight Rematch 2 with Boneless Pork Lechon Belly

RBG Boodle Fight Rematch with Boneless Pork Lechon Belly

There’s not better way to celebrate anything than with food, good, glorious food. And RBG at Park Inn Davao knows that. They have prepared a feast to celebrate the Kadayawan Festival. Presenting… RBG’s Boodle Fight Rematch.

Boodle Fight is the Philippine military style of dining. Rice and various dishes are laid out on banana leaves and diners are encouraged to eat with their hands, sans plates and utensils. In the past few years, it has become a stylish (and easy) way of serving Filipino dishes, mostly featuring fresh seafood and grilled dishes. It is often practiced in fiestas and family gatherings.

RBG’s Boodle Fight Rematch is a good representation of typical Filipino fiesta dishes, highlighting popular Davao food. The meal’s centerpiece is Boneless Pork Lechon Belly, a scaled down version of the popular Lechon (whole roasted pig).

Boneless  Pork Lechon Belly of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch

Boneless Pork Lechon Belly of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch

Tasty, succulent, and encased in crispy pork skin. It is definitely a delight to eat.

The Boodle Fight Rematch spread includes popular Filipino starters: Native Tinolang Manok (Chicken Soup made with free range chickens), Fern Salad with Salted Eggs, and Lumpia (Spring Rolls).

Fern Salad of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch 2

Fern Salad of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch

Aside from the Lechon Belly, RBG’s Boodle Fight features Pinaupong Manok and Grilled Tuna Belly.

Pinaupong Manok of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch

Pinaupong Manok of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch

Grilled Tuna Belly of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch 2

Grilled Tuna Belly of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch

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JAM Foods Angus Tapa

Jam Foods USDA Tapa at the Davao Gourmet Collective at SM Lanang Premier

Jam Foods USDA Tapa at the Davao Gourmet Collective at SM Lanang Premier

One iconic Filipino dish is Tapsilog. Tapsilog is short for Tapa, Siningag, at Ilog (Cured Beef, Garlic Ric, and Egg). Tapa is cured beef, similar to beef jerky. Beef is marinated with a mixture of vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and garlic. It is cured for several days then fried to perfection. As with most Filipino dishes, there are many iterations of Tapa. There’s dry tapa, wet tapa, red tapa, so on so forth. For most Filipinos like me, it doesn’t matter. All kinds of tapa is good tapa. Eating Tapsilog any time of the day brings every Filipino home. No matter where you are. It is comfort food.

So how do you make your tapa stand out and be talked about? Make it extremely awesome. And that is exactly what JAM Foods did. JAM Foods took the ordinary, commonplace tapa and made it gourmet. The first time I tried JAM Foods USDA Angus Tapa, I could not stop eating.

About a year ago, I was invited to the Press Preview of Davao Gourmet Collective Kadayawan Food and Music Fair. It was there that I had my first gourmet Angus Tapa and I fell in love.
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World Food Expo Bingo 2016

WOFEX 2016

WOFEX 2016

The World Food Expo (WOFEX) is just around the corner! WOFEX is the biggest food show in the Philippines, simultaneously occupying two of the biggest conventions centers in the country: the SMX Convention Center and World Trade Center. WOFEX is for industry professionals as well as foodies who are curious about the latest cooking crazes.

The Philippines has been WOFEX’s home for many years now, and it is being held multiple times a year. If you’ve been attending the event for a long time now and want to add a new dynamic to the experience, why not try doing an activity that is exclusively for you and your friends?

There are a lot of things to see at WOFEX. Apart from food stalls, there are Michelin-star chefs from all over the world who grace the event and share their latest techniques in cooking. There are also restaurateurs who are hoping to catch the public’s attention by showcasing their skills and dishes at the event. As an attendee, can you guess what you’re about to see at the upcoming WOFEX? If you think you can, try playing the WOFEX bingo game!

All you have to do is print a blank bingo card at Bingo Baker or any other site that allows people to print blank cards. Once you have one, fill in the blank spaces with things that you think you might see at the event. It could be anything from “Iberico ham being sold at a stall,” “Mad knife skills by a chef” or “New restaurant launching.” Once you spot something at the event, and it’s on your card, daub it off. If you can daub them all, you’ll win two things: a treat for yourself and bragging rights among your friends!

Bingo is one of the most customizable games that has ever been invented, and it is for this very reason why it is so fun. In the UK, there’s an Eatwell Bingo initiative that encourages people to eat healthy. Instead of just using bingo balls and cards, Eatwell Bingo also uses picture cards that contain information on healthy food options. In the online world, bingo continues to evolve as well, and providers customize the game in order to keep it interesting. An example of this is the online live caller option where players have the choice to play the game with actual callers – an experience that is relatively new to the world. As for the WOFEX bingo game, it is a product of bingo’s evolution, and an example of how people can effectively customize the game in order to achieve a certain goal.

WOFEX will be held from August 3 – 6, 2016. Find out more by visiting the event’s official site here!

Seared Tuna Nicoise Salad by Chez Nous

Seared Tuna Nicoise Salad by Chef Chino San Jose of Chez Nous

Seared Tuna Nicoise Salad by Chez Nous

I believe that good food (really good food… not just yummy or delicious) is one that changes the way I see food. And that is exactly how I would describe the Seared Tuna Nicoise Salad by Chez Nous.

Nicoise Salad, or Salade Niçoise as the French call it, is a composed salad. It is pronounced as “niˈswaz.” Various sources describe traditional Nicoise Salad in different ways. Some sources describe it as having potatoes and beans in equal parts. Different sources list various ingredients as traditional ingredients of the salad. If there’s one thing all sources agree on, it is that it is dressed with a vinaigrette.

Most of the Nicoise Salad that we see in restaurants, modern recipe books, and even on blogs seem to be based from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” The book calls it a Mediterranean Combination Salad. It lists the usual ingredients in the salad.

Tuna, anchovies, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, hard-boiled eggs, and lettuce are the usual elements for this appetizing combination, and you may arrange the salad in any manner you wish.*

Do a Google image search for Nicoise Salad and you’ll know what I mean.

Most restaurants use canned tuna for it and I am not fond of uncooked canned tuna. Needless to say, Nicoise Salad does not interest me. And I usually love salads.

I have heard of Chez Nous’ Nicoise Salad and it made me curious. Seeing it’s description on the menu made me excited. It is listed as “Seared Tuna Nicoise Salad” and described as “Seared Sesame Tuna, Lettuce, French Beans, Honey-Lemon Dressing, Deep Fried Anchovy.” Whew! The Seared Sesame Tuna is enough to make me happy.

When I saw the salad, I was not just excited but really . It is nothing like other Nicoise Salads I have seen or tried. If I sound like I am exaggerating or medyo OA, I offer no apologies. It was as if the Chef knew exactly everything I love and put them all together. LOOK!

Seared Tuna Nicoise Salad by Chef Chino San Jose of Chez Nous

Seared Tuna Nicoise Salad by Chez Nous

Where do I begin? Perfectly cooked fried egg and deep fried anchovy over a bed of fresh greens. I am a sucker for a perfectly cooked fried egg with a runny yolk. It is a pleasant combination of textures and flavors that will make any good dish, even better. I mean… serve me a perfectly cooked fried egg any time of the day and I will be happy. When eating this Nicoise Salad, break the egg, chop it up, and make sure to have a bit of egg in every bite.
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