What We Love About Chef Margarita Forés' Filipino Food and Heritage Village Islas Pinas
Islas Pinas just opened this year and it’s exactly what it claims to be: a village that showcases Filipino food and heritage. The Filipino food hall is located inside DoubleDragon Plaza in Pasay City, and offers elevated Filipino dishes and favorites alongside a homey Filipino set-up.
Walk through the cobblestone pavements of Intramuros, eat your meal in a giant balanghay, grab a balut from the peddling manong, or take a selfie at the huge bahay kubo! It’s everything that you love about Filipino food in one place!
Exploring food all over the country
Since the Philippines is a group of thousands of islands, many regions of the Philippines have their own specialties and versions of their dishes. Islas Pinas brings together these wide variety of food in one place so you can have a taste of home if you come from a province far away, or sample something you’ve never had before.
Craving for something spicy? Sample the halang-halang, a spicy chicken coconut soup dish from Mindanao which literally translates to anghang-anghang.
And since coconut cream is something Visayans love, try out the ginataang tambo na may pasayang—bamboo shoots and shrimp in corn and coconut cream.
Who isn’t a sucker for great deals, right? Islas Pinas embodies the very spirit of Filipinos, who just can’t say no to a good deal! Some of their promotions are their Buy 1, Get 1 Free promotion for their specialty coffee during all Mondays of September; and Buy 1, Get 1 Free beer every Friday from September 7 to October 26.
Filipino street food
Don’t you just hate it when you find yourself craving for some skewered meat and balut but you just can’t find a trusted place to satisfy your craving? There’s always barbeque and grilled intestines around the corner or the street, but let’s face it, we’ve all had horror stories of friends talking about how they suffered from some major stomachache after a delicious round of something straight off the streets. So just to be safe, if you’d like some street food where you don’t have to think twice about how they’re prepared, get your fix from Islas Pinas.
If you’re lucky, you can even spot Asia’s Best Female Chef of 2016, Chef Margarita Forés, cooking your skewered meat for you!
Born from the best
And speaking of Margarita Forés, she is the chef behind the concept of Islas Pinas after it was started by then DA Undersecretary Berna Romula-Puyat. Although Chef Margarita is popular for her amazing Italian dishes, having trained for many years in the bustling and thriving food capital that is Italy, she has now found a renewed sense of vigor and passion for Filipino food—which she is bringing to Las Pinas.
“It’s always been my dream to do the Filipino version of Italy, which is like this huge space showcasing the best produce, the best artisanal products; and at the same time, have different restaurants where you can do different concepts,” Chef Margarita says. “[And in Italian cuisine, it’s about] respect for ingredients so I took that back here, and that’s what made me fall in love with our cuisine all over again.”
And that’s what’s at the core of Islas Pinas. Most of what you’ll find inside Islas Pinas are classic and traditional Filipino favorites—but they’re made with the love and respect that each dish deserves. And with someone as passionate about food as Chef Margarita, how can you not want to try it out?
“My food philosophy has always been to showcase the best of the Philippines side-by-side with the best of the world, so most of the dishes that I put together, especially when they’re meant for a foreign audience, is really to do that: to showcase how our Filipino ingredients can stand their own.”
Get to know more about Las Pinas and Chef Margarita's beautiful and booming culinary journey on At The Table Season 2, premiering September 10, 8:30 p.m. on Metro Channel, channel 52 on Sky Cable and channel 174 on HD. Catch replays throughout the week!