Filipino foodie event offers newcomers an elegant first taste of Pinoy cuisine

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Jan. 2, 2013

NEW YORK – Bizarre foods host Andrew Zimmern’s 2012 prediction that Filipino food is going to be the next big thing must be coming true just about right now.

From top Chef Alum Leah Cohen’s version of Dinuguan to Ugly Kitchen’s Bicol Express, “Inuman and Pulutan” showcases the best, popular, and most delicious Filipino food and drinks the Big Apple has to offer.

A 2011 Vendy Awardee for Best Market Vendor, FilAm chef Neil Syham serves lumpia with a New York flare. His garlic fried rice lumpia topped with pork belly adobo and atchara is a big hit, especially for non-Pinoys.

“Anyway we can, any way we’ll try, we’re gonna try and push Filipino food to the forefront where we feel like it’s supposed to be,” Syham said. “We love eating Filipino food at home. It’s just we just wanna try and bring it to the masses so that everyone else can love it.”

With more than 350 attendees, more and more non-Filipinos came out to try their first Filipino food experience at “Inuman and Pulutan” this year.

“Everything is really delicious,” Jackie Vargas of Edison, NJ said. “We had the most of the lumpia and the tacos are both really good.”

“This is a very nice way to introduce elegant Filipino food,” Tarik Sansal of New York said.

“Very warming, very hearty, comforting, and direct,” Adam Hollowel said. “It tells you what it is; it gives you a hearty punch.”

Maharlika Executive Chef Miguel Trinidad says “Inuman and Pulutan” is a fun event where foodies get to pair their favorite pulutan with Filipino drinks—from San Miguel beer to exotic mango mixed drinks.

“When you’re out with your barkada and you’re hanging out, you want something that you could pair with your San Miguel or Red Horse,” Trinidad said. “The chicharon bulaklak goes really well with a white wine. A nice, crisp white wine goes great with the chicharon bulaklak that cuts through all the fat.”

Bacolod native Brandon Vargas, an “Inuman and Pulutan” newcomer, is hoping to introduce and make the yellow chicken inasal as ubiquitous as the yellow cabs in New York.

“If place like Pio-Pio can succeed in New York City, what’s the difference between Peruvians and Filipinos?” Vargas asked. “Why can’t Filipinos create their own identity so they won’t be differentiated from being Thai, Chinese, or Vietnamese. It’s pretty much mainstream already”

The second annual “Inuman and Pulutan” is fast becoming a popular foodie event in New York. Consul Michelle Sanchez says it’s also the best way to promote tourism in the Philippines

“Just try the food first,” Sanchez said. “If you like it then you try the restaurants, then maybe you want to try the food in the country itself.”

After attending his first “Inuman and Pulutan”, Underground Eats food writer Josh Seigal says he now has more respect and admiration for Filipino.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of access to it before and now there’s a lot of places doing it and a lot of people are finding out how great it is,” Seigel said. “What was once a hidden gem, I guess now are finding out how great Filipino food could be.”

You can contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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