Exquisite Hong Kong MX Mooncakes
Available in Manila This September

Lava Custard Mooncake by Hong Kong MX Mooncake

LOOKING for that perfect mooncake—beautiful as much as it is delicious—to give family and friends and enjoy on your own, too, this Mid-Autumn Festival?

Chinese communities in Asia, including Chinoys, honest to goodness believe that the best one is Hong Kong MX Mooncake, which, according to the 1998 to 2018 Nielsen Research Report on the Mooncake Market in Hong Kong, is the best-selling mooncake brand in Hong Kong for 21 consecutive years now.

Manufactured and distributed by Hong Kong Mei Xin, these premium mooncakes command quite a cult following. They need to be pre-ordered way before the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival. Some Chinoys even go to the extent of making a trip to Hong Kong just to buy their supply of Hong Kong MX Mooncakes to gift family and friends with.

Classic Mixed Nuts Mooncake

A wide selection of Hong Kong MX Mooncakes

White Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake with 2 Egg Yolks

This year, however, there is no need to do that, as Hong Kong MX Mooncakes make themselves more accessible to mooncake lovers in Metro Manila. They are available in pop-up stores in SM Mall of Asia and Uni-Mart Capitol Commons on a limited run, specifically until September 22, 2019. Many variants are available, including the Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake with 2 Yolks that has made Hong Kong MX famous the world over, as well as the brand’s reduced sugar series, mixed nuts series, yolk series, and lava and custard mooncake series.

What’s more: Those who buy mooncakes at Hong Kong MX’s pop-up store at SM Mall of Asia get to play the dice game at the booth, and those with a single receipt purchase amounting to P5,000 get to win a mini mooncake.

Hong Kong MX Mooncakes are also available for delivery through Lazada until September 22. Every single receipt purchase amounting to P5,000 entitles buyers to an additional mini mooncake.

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Enjoy Authentic Italian Tastes
at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila

This exciting ‘Tiramisu Smoothie’ is available at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s Cafe Pronto until the end of September

IF you like gourmet pizzas and refreshing tiramisu for your dessert, then La Vita Italia, which is ongoing at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s restaurants and bars for the whole month of September, would delight you.

Italian guest chef Pasqualino Barbasso shows his way with pizza doughs

Pizza Piemontese

Pizza Arrotolata

Pizza Grand Fume

On top of the special food promotion is guest chef Pasqualino Barbasso, a certified pizza acrobat who can whip up a culinary storm with his awesome gourmet pizzas. Exclusively available via in-room dining from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., these exciting pizzas come in different variants, including Piemontese (beef, tuna, mozzarella, capers and anchovies), Mediterranea (eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella and basil powder), Arrotolata (artichokes, parma ham, cherry tomatoes and arugula leaves), and Grand Fume (smoked salmon, burrata, arugula leaves and cherry tomatoes).

Panforte

Tiramisu

Over at Café Pronto, premium Italian confections are available for a post-meal dessert, an afternoon break or just because you want to have a sweet treat, the café serves Panforte and Tiramisu until September 18, and the Tiramisu Smoothie is available until the end of September.

Bringing refreshing drinks inspired by the Italian countryside is Connect Lounge, which offers Verde Chiaro Sour and Dolce Cassis.

Limoncello and Negroni

Vu’s Sky Bar and Lounge brings the feel of chic Italian nights with classic cocktails, such as a special house blend called Limoncello and the barrel-aged Negroni. Both drinks can be enjoyed with the second round on the house for the whole month of September.

 

(Marco Polo Ortigas Manila is located at Meralco Ave. corner Sapphire Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City; with telephone number +632 720-7777.)

 

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Who’s Cooking?
Chef Francis Lim and Tijoe Are!

Pork Satay Cups, Fried Crumbled Tokwa

SELDOM does it happen that some of the top chefs and caterers in the country get together and “jam” to produce a truly exceptional menu for the dining public to enjoy. Even more rare is the act of pairing 11 chefs with 11 caterers to come up with 11 exciting signature five-course menus, such as the feat achieved by The Blue Leaf (an events venue company) and Our Awesome Planet (one of the country’s top travel and food blogs) in their recent Who’s Cooking? event.

Held at The Blue Leaf Filipinas, Who’s Cooking? served as the Grand Reveal Party, where the 11 signature menus were not just presented but served to guests as well. Each signature five-course menu had its own character and theme, and one of those which turned out to be the most impressive was the menu created by the team of Chef Francis Lim and Tijoe Catering.

Chef Francis Lim (of Nav and Tipple & Slaw) likes to keep his menus hip, relevant and unexpected. He enjoys working with underrated ingredients and making them shine in his cuisine. Tijoe the Caterer, which has over two decades of experience in the catering business, likes to put modern and innovative twists to traditional dishes. Together, Chef Francis and Tijoe took advantage of their shared Chinese heritage to come up with dishes that stay true to classic flavors but have been given a playful touch.

Pork Satay Cups, Fried Crumbled Tokwa. A crispy triangular base topped with pork satay and fried crumbled tokwa.

Pork Belly Patatim, Fried Mantou Sliders, Pickled Radish, Pickled Cucumber

Pork Belly Patatim, Fried Mantou Sliders, Pickled Radish, Pickled Cucumber. Bite-sized patatim, anyone? This open-faced fried mantou slider is topped with melt-in-the-mouth patatim and a sprinkling of peanuts.

Steamed Lapu-Lapu, Wansoy Chimichurri, Sweet Soy Mayo, Crispy Fish Skin

Steamed Lapu-lapu, Wansoy Chimichurri, Sweet Soy Mayo, Crispy Fish Skin. Bite-sized steamed lapu-lapu? Why not? This dish features classic steamed lapu-lapu but with a modern, ready-to-eat presentation. It is punctuated by sesame oil and fresh shoots of green onion. The texture and crunch of the crispy fish skin provides a fitting end note to the dish.

Beef Terrine, Crunchy Tendon Chicharon

Beef Terrine, Crunchy Tendon Chicharon. This beef terrine packs a wallop of unadulterated beef flavor that’s pure, heady and comforting. Adding texture and crunch to it is the tendon chicharon.

Haw Flakes Buchi with Cream Cheese

Haw Flakes Buchi with Cream Cheese. Remember the haw flakes of your childhood? The tangy plum bite that filled your childhood years is packed inside the buchi—a fun replacement for the usual sweet bean filling of the Chinese dessert.

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Who’s Cooking?
Chef Kalel Chan and Red Chef Are!

Aligue Chirashi Mushi with Mentaiko Aburi

KITCHEN collaborations are special because they bring out the best in the collaborating personalities. Take the team-up of Chef Kalel Chan and The Red Chef & Events, who were one of the 11 chefs and 11 caterers paired together to produce a mouthwatering signature five-course menu for the Who’s Cooking? event held at The Blue Leaf Filipinas.

The event itself was a collaboration between The Blue Leaf, an events venue company, and Our Awesome Planet, one of the country’s top travel and food blogs. The 11 collaborating teams were a first-of-its-kind culinary pursuit and turned out to be a resounding success. The partnership between Chef Kalel Chan (of Chelsea, Kabila, Stella Rocketroom, Saboten, Simple Lang, Providore, Friends & Family, Chotto Matte, and Cha-Cha’s in Boracay) and The Red Chef & Events (a catering services company backed by individuals who are driven by their passion for excellent food and unique experiences) worked around Filipino pulutan infused with Japanese cuisine. Exciting, indeed!

Their signature five-course menu, which shall be available only for events held at The Blue Leaf events places, consists of:

Ponzu Pinakurat Kilawin with Wasabi Avocado and Gyoza Crisp

Ponzu Pinakurat Kilawin with Wasabi Avocado and Gyoza Crisp. Kilawin of shrimp, squid and marlin mixed with pinakurat and wasabi guacamole. The fried gyoza wrapper provides perfect contrast to the seafood.

Aligue Chirashi Mushi with Mentaiko Aburi. Chirashi-inspired dish of scallops, shrimps, aligue, tamago and mayo. The unagi sauce gives a hint of sweetness to the torched aburi, with tanoki and mentaiko added for flavor.

Balut Chawan Mushi with Uni and Ikura

Balut Chawan Mushi with Uni and Ikura. Savory balut juice and balut yolk with dashi and egg made into a custard. It is topped with uni, ikura and gyoza sauce, with a stem of basil to give a refreshing new dimension to the dish.

Tapa Maki with Soy Cured Quail Eggs

Tapa Maki with Soy Cured Quail Eggs. Familiar flavors of tapa, atchara and ginger with cured quail egg and rice in one heavenly bite.

Matcha Leche Flan with Kinako Adzuki Beans

Matcha Leche Flan with Kinako, Adzuki Beans and Langka. A favorite Filipino dessert given a matcha twist, layered with langka, kuromitzu and kinaku (black honey).

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Who’s Cooking?
Natalia Moran and Passion Cooks Are!

Guinataan Balls in White Coconut Sauce and Cookie Crumble

WHO’S cooking at the recent Who’s Cooking? culinary event put together by The Blue Leaf, an events venue company, and Our Awesome Planet, one of the top travel and food blogs in the country?

Well, 11 chefs and 11 caterers actually did—and they had everyone taste their creations in the Grand Reveal Party. The chefs and caterers were ingeniously paired to work together in the kitchen and come up with their signature five-course menu, which shall be available only for events held at The Blue Leaf events places.

One of the chef-caterer teams had Chef Natalia Moran and Passion Cooks on board.

Chef Natalia happens to be the woman behind some of the most popular restaurants in Boracay, such as Sunny Side Café, Spicebird Piri Piri Grill, Supermagic Burgers, Streetmarket Food Hall and Little Wave Café. In the city, she serves as executive chef of PizzaExpress and Your Local of the Tasteless Group of Restaurants. She is busy as a bee because she never fails to come up with something exciting.

The brains behind Passion Cooks are the mother-and-daughter team of Chef Laura Martinez and her daughter Maja. Chef Laura, for one, channels her heart as a mother into her dishes, so the mark of Passion Cooks is the feeling that the service rendered and the food served are peppered with passion and love.

No wonder the five-course menu that Chef Natalia and Passion Cooks have created feels like a warm hug with every bite. Wait! Make that a six-course menu.

Pork and Mushroom Tapenade

Pork and Mushroom Tapenade. It is sisig—combining pork and mushroom—in a creamy tapenade on a crunchy puff pastry crust.

Tinapa Pate on Tutong

Tinapa Pate on Tutong. Their take on the modern Filipino breakfast: a combination of tutong (the crunchy, slightly toasted base when cooking rice), tinapa (smoked fish), salted egg and tomato. There are notes of vinegar on the tutong because it was cooked Japanese sushi rice style.

Shrimp and Corn Fresh-pressed Tortellini

Shrimp and Corn Fresh-pressed Tortellini. The freshly made tortellini pasta swims in a rich shrimp bisque sauce with muted sweetness coming from the candied pistachio. The dish is a burst of flavor from the combination of shrimp, corn, aligue, pesto, kaffir sauce, micro vein sorrel, micro mustard, pepper and polenta.

Sous-vide Tuna with Couscous Salad and Mango Coconut Sauce

Sous-vide Tuna with Couscous Salad and Mango Coconut Sauce. Fresh tuna, couscous, mango, coconut, sesame paste, ebiko, feta cheese, hito flakes… It is a beautiful mix of sweet and sour in one bite.

Arabica-rubbed Roast Beef with Fried Kamote and Truffle Mash

Arabica-rubbed Roast Beef with Fried Kamote and Truffle Mash. Roast beef, a comfort food, takes on the flavors of chimichurri sauce and hints of coffee from the coffee rub. Add to that the mashed sweet potato with truffle.

Guinataan Balls in White Coconut Sauce and Cookie Crumble. All the elements of guinataang bilo-bilo but with a stylized presentation… The bilo-bilo sits in a pool of creamy coconut sauce with white chocolate, stuffed with kamote and banana.

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