ALL roads lead to MarQuee Mall in Angeles City, Pampanga, this weekend (October 18, 2013), as the the biggest Northern food festival, dubbed Big Bite! The Northern Food Festival, gets underway tomorrow (Friday, October 18, 2013) and lasts until Sunday (October 20, 2013).
A glorious Filipino food celebration that’s bigger in magnitude and wider in scope than most food festivals, Big Bite! is the largest Northern food festival ever. It brings together over 100 food stalls offering regional specialties and food products – from fresh produce, such as fruits and vegetables, to cooked food and baked treats – from the Northern provinces of Pampanga, Bulacan, Ilocos, Baguio, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Bataan, Pangasinan, Cagayan and La Union.
Here, food lovers would get to enjoy Sweet Heavens’ Leche Flan from Nueva Ecija; Bella’s Puto Calasiao from Calasiao, Pangasinan; Christy’s Special Chicharon from Bulacan; and Kabigting’s Halo-Halo (with its three main ingredients – cream style corn, sweetened beans and caramel – and made with carabao’s milk and egg yolks); Kuliat Empanada; Toll House’s Clubhouse Sandwich and Baked Mac; Susie’s Cuisine’s Tibok-Tibok; Nathaniel’s Buko-Pandan Salad; Pampanga’s Best Tocino and Ham; and Apag Marangle’s Sisig Wrap from Pampanga. And since the food festival is being held in Pampanga, which is considered as the culinary capital of the Philippines, food lovers also get to taste exotic native dishes such as Chili Garlic Betute and Stuffed Betute (frog) and Camaru (crisp-fried crickets).
Whatever Northern food craving you have, be it a savory or sweet treat, you get to give in and satisfy it at Big Bite!, which is being aptly held at MarQuee Mall in Pampanga, where the local culinary scene is vibrant and pulsating. A special treat even awaits visitors with a Php500 receipt from MarQuee Mall over the next three days, as they are treated to some delectable free bites in a wide selection of stalls across the festival every day from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Held in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry, Manila North Tollways Corporation, Asian Food Channel, Cignal Digital TV and Mercato Centrale Group, Big Bite! also features a host of entertaining and educational cooking demonstrations conducted by some of the country’s top chefs. These include Junior MasterChef Pinoy Edition’s chef judge Rolando Laudico, Pampanga’s very own Chef Sau Del Rosario, former beauty queen and star of Asian Food Channel’s Sabrina’s Kitchen Sabrina Artadi, and Mexico, Pampanga’s food historian and legend Atching Lillian Borromeo of the famous Kusina ni Atching Lillian.
Atching Lillian, for one, will surely dazzle her audience by making her famous Pandecillo de San Nicolas, which is more popularly known as San Nicolas Cookies. This, she did when she conducted a short cooking demonstration during the media launch of Big Bite! held at MarQuee Mall in Angeles, Pampanga, Wednesday last week (October 9, 2013). She also prepared Chicken Adobo Pastel the old-fashioned way.
Another big thing to look forward to at Big Bite! is the battle royale among culinary schools in the first Big Bite! Culinary Cook Off. Competing for the culinary championship are Philippine Women’s University, System’s Plus College, Angeles University Foundation, NorthPoint Culinary Academy and Bulacan State University, who will go head to head in a heated cooking competition every day from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Aside from this big culinary spectacle, there will be food eating contests scattered here and there. So how would you like to try to finish a bilao of kakanin or, say, glasses of halo-halo without getting brain freeze? You can certainly try, and, who knows, you might even win a prize for successfully doing so.
What’s more: If you’ve got a family heirloom recipe that you can share, you can join Big Bite!’s Family Heirloom Recipe Contest, which has a cool Php20,000 at stake for the best recipe. This contest is open to legal residents of the Cordillera Autonomous Region (C.A.R.), Region 1, 2 and 3; and entries will be accepted tomorrow (October 18, 2013), from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. at the MarQuee Park.
It certainly is the biggest culinary spectacle showcasing the best of Northern Philippines!