DEDET dela Fuente Santos’s mouth-watering Stuffed Lechon de Leche has been the subject of raves and the object of every true-blue foodie’s desire these days. Known as the Lechon Diva, Dedet has become somewhat of a modern-day culinary icon because she makes incredibly delicious stuffed lechon innovations—now numbering 19 variations—and her reputation has reached as far as Singapore and New York. She puts together private lechon degustacion dinners, and mention of her Pepita’s Kitchen sends foodies craving for her stuffed lechon. Imagine dining on Lechon de Leche Stuffed with Truffle Rice or Lechon de Leche Stuffed with Sisig Rice! And these are just two of the mouth-watering variations that she offers.
Now, her private lechon degustacions are reaching a wider audience, as she takes her Stuffed Lechon de Leche to the buffet table of Diamond Hotel Philippines’ Corniche restaurant, where she is guest chef in the Feasts from the Filipino Kitchen food promotion that is ongoing until June 14, 2015. There are at least three types of Pepita’s Kitchen Lechon de Leche for diners to feast on every lunch and dinner for the duration of the promotion. On opening day last June 3, diners really lined up to have a taste of her famous lechon.
Aside from lechon, Dedet collaborates with the culinary team of Diamond Hotel on a number of other exciting Filipino dishes, such as Shrimps with Salted Egg, Crab with Taba ng Talangka, Bone Marrow Served with Oxtail Marmalade, Pancit Parañaque, and Balut Salpicao. Speaking of balut, that quintessential Fear Factor Pinoy exotic fare of duck embryo, diners also get to savor it in the form of balut pate, along with other interestingly tweaked pates such as laing pate and liver with mango pate. As if that should not get diners’ appetites going, Dedet lays out a variety of chicharons—Chicharon Bulaklak, Chicharon Bituka, both made with pig’s innards, and Chicharon Balat ng Manok, which uses chicken skin—and serves them with Pinakurat vinegar, spiced soy vinegar and green mango sour sauce, whichever tickles their fancy.
Also on the buffet spread are classic Filipino dishes but made richer and more exciting, including Oxtail Kare-Kare, Ginisang Munggo na may Bagnet, Laing, Rellenong Bangus, Baked Tahong, Okoy, Binagoongang Baboy, Pinakbet na may Sugpo, Bulalo and Pininyahang Manok. The food is all for indulgence, so those with cholesterol problem should just take it a bit slow and easy, but meat lovers would find everything that truly satisfies their carnivorous nature, including the Mini Pinoy Pork BBQ, Mini Chicken Inasal Skewers, Beef BBQ Liver, Isaw and Longganisa choices at the Grill station.
Chef Marko Rankel, executive chef of Diamond Hotel Philippines, complements the buffet spread with his own versions of lechon and goto in his Native Lechon Roulade from the Tenderloin filled with sauerkraut and pickled cucumber in Morel sauce and served with red beet potatoes and black truffle shavings and his Chef Marko’s Goto with crispy tofu, calamansi, boiled quail egg, fish sauce, spring onion, crispy shallots, fried garlic and, yes, foie gras cubes!
Dessert is another huge attraction in the Feasts from the Filipino Kitchen promotion, as Dedet brings out her famous Super Suman, which is sticky rice topped with every Filipino’s favorite sweets—Chocnut, yema, macapuno balls, pastillas, mango, peanut kisses, langka, etc. She also presents her Mango Trifle, which is mango mousseline with layers of otap, broas, rosquillos, puto seko and paciencia biscuits, topped with fresh mango and leche flan. Both desserts were included in the Best Desserts of 2013 list of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and will be the stars of Diamond Hotel’s desserts spread until June 14.
Equally interesting are the other Pinoy desserts put together by the hotel, such as Champorado Brulee, Dulce de Leche Cheesecake, Langka Cheesecake, and homemade ice cream flavors like Ube, Langka at Kasuy ice cream, Banana, Mangga at Queso ice cream, and Buko Sherbet. Diners can also assemble their own refresher at the Halo-Halo Station.
Feasts from the Filipino Kitchen runs until Sunday, June 14, 2015, at Diamond Hotel Philippines’ Corniche restaurant at Php2,150 nett per person for the lunch buffet and Php2,550 nett per person for the dinner buffet. Guests with a minimum spend of Php5,000 nett at the buffet will be entitled to a raffle stub for a chance to win round trip airline tickets for two to Boracay.
(Diamond Hotel Philippines is located at Roxas Boulevard corner Dr. J. Quintos St., Manila. For inquiries or reservations, call 528-3000.)