Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Chef Laudicos x Kitchen Mafia: Enjoy Malaysian Dishes with Filipino Twists as Celebrity Chefs Collaborate at Chef Laudico Guevarra’s

Chef Laudico Guevarra's deck up for the Christmas Season
I have always been fascinated with all the textures and flavors of other Asian cuisines apart from our very own. It could be the bursts of flavors or the exercise on one’s palate, but the thought of indulging in Asian food truly excites me. I was recently invited to a launch called Chef Laudicos x Kitchen Mafia to sample and get the first dibs on what Chef Roland Laudico (of Chef Laudico Guevarra’s) and Malaysian celebrity chefs Sherson Lian and Johnny Fua (of Kitchen Mafia) collaborated on for Chef Lau's Guevarra's popular buffet restaurant in San Juan. 

Chef Laudicos x Kitchen Mafia team: Chef Johnny Fua, Chef Sherson Lian, Chef Jac Laudico and Chef Roland "Chef Lau"Laudico of Chef Laudico Guevarra's 

The mere mention of Malaysian cuisine reminds me of a symphony of flavors making Malaysian cuisine highly complex and diverse because of its influences from Malay, Indian and Chinese. As I have known Malay food, they're strong, spicy and aromatic, combining the rich tastes of the many herbs and spices commonly found in Southeast Asia. 

Many of the fresh herbs and roots that are commonly grown in the Southeast Asian region have found their way into Malay cooking. Lemongrass, shallots, ginger, chilies and garlic are the main ingredients that are blended together and then sautéed to make a sambal sauce or chile paste, a condiment that often accompanies every meal of Malay food.

Chef Sherson and Chef Lau met on the set of Asian Food Channel’s Amazing Food Challenge: Fun in the Philippines back in 2014. As they worked together, Chef Sherson has observed that both Filipino and Malaysian cuisine had a lot of similarities. “It might not exactly be the same thing but it functions almost similarly, the purpose of the ingredient is almost similar,” said Chef Sherson in an interview. 

Together with his Kitchen Mafia business partner and fellow Malaysian celebrity chef, Chef Johnny Fua, Chef Sherson returned to the Philippines and collaborated with the Laudicos (Chef Roland and wife Jacqueline Laudico) as the two chefs worked into the kitchen of Chef Laudico Guevarra’s. 

After some thorough brainstorming sessions, the said collaboration with the Laudicos, the two Malaysian chefs were able to come up and put together cuisines using Filipino ingredients but cooking them in the Malaysian way and whipping up delicious Malaysian dishes for customers to enjoy. "We've injected Filipino ingredients into the dishes and see what sort of outcome we will get. This cooking collaboration is actually very exciting for me," said Chef Sherson.

"I think it's always fun to experience other chefs'ideas or being in someone else's kitchen. There was bi issue in using Filipino ingredients, it's just a matter of finding a balance of flavors,"added Chef Johnny. 

During the said launch, the Chef Laudico's team also gave Chef Sherson a surprise birthday greeting. Check out this amateur video:

I was even fortunate to have that opportunity to have a photo with the Malaysian celebrity chefs Johnny Fua and Sherson Lian. And as a bonus, with Bea Binene too, a local celebrity host here from GMA 7. 

Purple Plum Fairy with Chef Johnny Fua

A selfie with Chef Sherson Lian of the Kitchen Mafia
Purple Plum Fairy with Bea Binene

Just as I had expected, herbs like galangal (lengkuas), turmeric (kunyit), kaffir lime leaves, laksa leaves (daun kesom), wild ginger flower buds or torch ginger (bunga kantan) and screwpine leaves (pandan leaves) add flavor and zest to the Malaysian dishes. 

Coconut is another favorite ingredient of the Malays. This is not surprising as coconut trees thrive in Malaysia’s tropical weather. Coconut milk, or santan, add a creamy richness to curries, called ‘lemak’ in their local parlance, giving them their distinctive Malaysian flavor. 

Chef Laudico Guevarra's Filipino Breads

Our meal started with Filipino breads. According to Chef Lau, the breads they serve (be it pan de sal or bonete breads) are freshly baked every day. They go well with the Adobo Pate, Dried Mango Chutney and Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and Sinamak dips. I’m not iffy about liver. I especially like chicken liver. I squee like a little girl presented with a warm chocolate cupcake. I know that it's an acquired taste for many. But I love it. I wish I had the chance to travel to France and hit up the delicatessens and taste some handmade artisanal pate made with foie gras. Anyway, the adobo pate was like an adobo in paste. It's insanely rich in flavor and perfectly complemented the breads. 

Dried Mango Chutney, Extra VCo and Sinamak and Adobo Pate

The Dried Mango Chutney also became my favorite. It's mouthwatering and delicious with tangy sauce or chutney which is both sweet and savory. It's made using dried mangoes. 

Among the dipping sauces, it's the Extra VCO and Sinamak that's my least favorite. Sorry, I'm not a fan of VCO that's why. But it's worth giving it a try as it gives some sour kick to your palate. I liked Sinamak more when it's paired with chicharon or anything with rice. For me, sinamak is sure to make your pulutan and meals worthwhile. The spicy variant is so good, it's a staple for any Filipino pantry. 

Now, let's get down to the first course. The first course was Tanigue and Kerabu (Crispy Spanish Mackerel on Spicy Green Mango Kerabu tossed in Coconut Vinegar and Dayap Dressing topped with Roasted Kasuy). 

Tanigue and Kerabu from Chef Laudico Guevarra's by Kitchen Mafia

Kerabu is similar to a salad. It could also be a Malay rice dish in which a blue-colored rice is eaten with dried fish or fried chicken, crackers, pickles and other salads. The blue color of the rice comes from the flowers of Clitoria ternatea (butterfly-pea flowers) used in cooking it which according to experts can help prevent Alzheimer's disease. 

For this particular dish, Chef Sherson revealed they used Filipino vinegar  as souring agent instead of the usual calamansi. I particularly enjoyed this dish. This is a great dish to start a meal or one to use between a fatty dish to help clean the palate. I think the most difficult thing to do for a chef is to hold back from overcomplicating food. Produce should be allowed to do its job, providing clean, fresh flavors without ornate embellishment. And I'd have to say that Kitchen Mafia's Tanigue and Kerabu is one perfect example of not overcomplicating a dish. 

Kuah Lodeh

Next dish would be Kuah Lodeh (Light Coconut and Turmeric Soup with Suahe and Kamias, Crispy Bean Curd Skin "Sambal" and Pako [Fern]). Thick pureed soup and a light consomme. It's experiencing the richness of a soup and coconut milk yet gives you a hint of "sambal"for some spicy kick. For me, this one's a comfort food. Its rich in taste and flavors with different textures too. 

"Äside from the turmeric, we also added kamias to balance out the richness of the coconut. For the sambal, we air-dried bagoong alamang,"said Chef Lau. 

Beef Rendang from Chef Laudico Guevarra's

This one's a must-try: Beef Rendang. Made from purely traditional Malaysian meat dish but accompanied with Filipino twists. Imagine a slow roasted Angus beef in rendang sauce, on black rice perfumed with gata wrapped in local petchay. That's exactly what it is, folks. For those not familiar with rendang, rendang is a rich and tender coconut beef stew which is explosively flavorful and probably the most famous beef recipe in Malaysia. 

I loved how the fork-tender and almost melt-in-your-mouth beef rendang married the fragrant black rice wrapped in petchay. It had that undeniably rich earthiness and nutty flavors. It's a must for everyone who visits Chef Laudico Guevarra's next year once it becomes part of the buffet spread. 

Cendol Leche Flan Cake from Chef Laudico Guevarra's made by Kitchen Mafia

To cap off the meal, we were served with Cendol Leche Flan Cake (Layers of Pandan Sponge and Rice Flour Jelly with Creme Caramel). Cendol is a dark-green pulpy dish of rice (or sago) flour worms with coconut milk and syrup of areca sugar. A combination of palm sugar and coconut milk. 

It's not too sweet, but tastes just right. It's a blisfully cool dessert served with the addition of sweetened red beans. It's Chef Laudicos x Kitchen Mafia's take on the classic treat and it remains tempting. You will discover a plate of dessert with compromising worm-like green jelly, sweetened red beans and desicated coconut served with palm sugar and panna cotta with leche flan and pandan cake with some hints of ube on the side. 

"This is my interpretation of the popular iced sweet dessert which is similar to Pinoy halo-halo. I made cendol from scratch and incorporated coconut panna cotta, then layered it with leche flan and pandan cake,"disclosed Chef Jac Laudico. 

The four Malaysian dishes with Pinoy twists will be added to Chef Laudico Guevarra's buffet menu of modern Filipino cuisine. "We like to keep things interesting for our diners. We have a lot of regular guests who return frequently so we always want to have something new to offer them,"she concluded. 

These mouthwatering dishes by Chef Lau x Kitchen Mafia will be available at Chef Laudico Guevarra's beginning January 18 until February 3, 2019.  So try and sample them while they're available. I can guarantee you, they're gonna make your visit all the more worth it. To make reservations, you may call (02) 705-1811, (02) 705-1874 (0917) 3112222. 

Chef Laudico Guevarra's is located at 387 P. Guevarra corner Argonne Streets, Addition Hills, San Juan. Their buffet meal is priced at Php599 net per person on weekdays, and Php699 net per person on weekend and holidays. 

*Note: Prices are subject to change without prior notice. 

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...