ANGELES CITY – Two of Pampanga’s most promising chefs – Rex Soriano of Bahn Mi and Bong Sagmit of Pigs & Pints – joined forces to give people a remarkable eight-course dinner. The Filexican Pop Up, a Filipino-Mexican Tasting Dinner was held at Pigs & Pints last March.
Soriano said it’s a long overdue collaboration between restaurant owners and chefs. “We need to collaborate. There will always be competition but everybody has their own style. Food is very subjective. We have different styles but we’re all here together in being part of community and serving good food”, he adds.
The personality of Pigs & Pints and Bahn Mi is almost the same which made the collaboration so smooth. According to Sagmit, they’re the same in the sense that they both focus on honest to goodness food. “We don’t do shortcuts in anything. The important thing is, dapat talaga from the soul nanggagaling ‘yan”, he shares.
Filipino food is greatly influenced by Spanish cuisine and their menu for this event gave justice to that. One good example is Asadung Berdi. It is berde or green because in Mexico instead of using tomatoes, they use tomatito which is green.
Here’s a gallery of their eight-course Filexican dinner:
Chicharon Bulaklak (buffalo wing sauce, blue cheese espuma, mirpoix)
Yellow Fin Tuna Tartar (tamarind chipotle sauce, grilled pork belly, tapioca sauce, pineapple, and sour cucumber)
Charred Octopus (Mexican chorizo, pork adobo sauce, and chimichurri)
Taco Hecho Amano (braised cheeks and soiced rubbed opah tataki avocado goach)
Kamatis Baligtad (compressed watermelon and feta red wine vinegar)
Asadung Berdi (kamias braised pork shoulder, Mexican rice and sour cream)
Tres Leches Con Mamon Tostado
When asked about his favorite from their menu that night, Sagmit said it’s got to be the Tres Leches Con Mamon Tostado. It’s mine, too! Well, next to chicharong bulaklak. The process of this dessert is very complex. “We baked a more sturdy sponge cake then mixed it with evaporated, fresh, and condensed milk. After the sponge cooled down, we portioned it to fit in vacuum bags then added three milk mixture. That’s our modern take sa traditional version. That dish was beautiful because we made three forms of sponge with three textures and milk three ways”, explained Sagmit.
With months of planning, sheer talent, love for their craft, hard work, and some help from their group – Culinaria Pampanga, the collaboration was undoubtedly a success. I couldn’t help but ask about their next projects or future plans and Soriano’s reply caught my attention. He earnestly said “Everybody has so many inputs regarding what’s next. One of mine is protecting the restaurants here in such a way that we still have relationship with the community and we’re still like a neighborhood where the owner knows most of the guests. Another one would be coming up with some charity events like Meals on Wheels. We can do it in public schools.”
Sagmit’s vision for this collaboration is to serve food without pretense. And I’m sure I’m not alone when I say they did just that. No hype, just real good food.
Pigs & Pints:
Bahn Mi Vietnamese Eatery: