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Cebu’s Street Food Takes The Spotlight On Netflix’s Much Buzzed About New Food Show

On April 26, a new culinary series debuts on Netflix. Coming from the creators of Chef’s Table, the new series is entitled Street Food, and true to its name, it goes for a grittier, more realistic look at the culinary landscape across Asia. In each of the nine episodes, a different country’s street food will be featured, and lined up for the first season are Thailand, Japan, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines. Yes, we can be very proud and look forward to Episode 9 which was filmed in Cebu.

 

 

The premise behind the show is that one way to really get to know a country is to explore its street food, the culinary offerings that are the country’s most basic, and yet can surprise the palate and yield delicious, unexpected offerings. And in true Netflix documentary fashion, the show intends to go beyond the culinary offerings, and scratch the surface by examining the lives of the food vendors and entrepreneurs behind these special dishes.

 

photo by Netflix/Magic Liwanag

(L-R) Food writer Jude Bacalso, Leslie Enjambre, Ian Secong, Entoy Escabas, Rubilyn Marayon, Chef Myke “Tatung” Sarthou

 

To effectively launch this new series, a salu-salo was hosted by Netflix at Chef Jordy Navarra’s Toyo Eatery (the lone Filipino entry at #43 in this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list). Naturally, Jordy and the Netflix bigwigs were on hand as the four Cebuano food vendors were flown in and treated to Toyo’s interpretation of the dishes that caught the attention of the Street Food production team.

 

 

Leslie Enjambre hails from Talisay and runs the family-owned lechon stall, while Entoy Escabas is known for his Reef Eel Soup and its aphrodisiac qualities. Rubilyn Manayon serves a special Lumpia that combines both fried and fresh lumpia preparation, and Ian Secong improvised on a traditional Cebu dish, the Tuslob Buwa, which basically makes use of pig’s brain and ears, mixed with sticky rice.

 

I was seated near Rubilyn and Leslie and they were wonderful to talk to; genuinely surprised over the attention being given to them, and being flown to Manila for the event. Rubilyn recounted how the hours of taping for the show’s few minutes of actual screen time was a real wake-up call for her as she didn’t realize it would take up so much of her time. She even joked about how she had to ask a cousin to man the stall while she flew here to Manila.

Entoy, famous for his Nilarang Bakasi stew, admitted how intimidated he was when the Toyo staff asked him to demonstrate how he makes his soup using the high-tech Toyo facilities and equipment. And he laughed, saying that the substitution of catfish for his reef eel meant the soup had now lost its aphrodisiac qualities.

 

 

 

The new series premieres on April 26, and keep a look out for Episode 9, when these Cebu food vendors will be featured.