In your face: Pepeton’s Kapalmuks

While brainstorming concepts for a restaurant, Albert Yu Jr. of Pepeton’s and his friends thought of updating the classic and generally ‘ugly’ crispy pata by using deep-fried pig’s face for a crispier, juicier, and more flavorful meat. “It’s the part of the animal that’s often thrown away, so cost is very low compared to other parts,” says Yu Jr. The pig’s face takes four hours from butcher to storage, and another hour to cook and serve. On average, the restaurant prepares 20 to 25 orders of the Kapalmuks and increases up to 140 orders in peak seasons.

Pepeton's crispy pata may look 'ugly' but its juicy and flavorful meat is enough to sway non-believers

Glorious roe: Puro Taba ng Talangka

It’s easy to make your own crab recipe with household ingredients, but what makes Puro Taba ng Talangka’s recipe dangerously addicting is the pure crab aligue they put in each jar. “Friends would try it and love it. Everyone raved about it and demanded that we start selling them because they wanted more,” says co-owner Noreen Isleta.

This pure crab aligue may be 'ugly' but its taste is heavenly

To the bone: Shorthorn Pares bone marrow

The classic pares recipe is elevated with Shorthorn Pares’ bone marrow pares, a concept that business partners Marjorie Domingo and Ava Marie Hizon came up with when they decided to open a simple carinderia along the stretch of Shorthorn St. in Quezon City.

“Usually kasi bilog ’yung bone marrow sa bulalo, ’di ba? So naisip namin na i-split na lang siya in half para mas solid ’yung marrow,” says Domingo. The marrow is ordered in large quantities from various places in Ireland and Argentina. They have since relocated to a bigger space to accommodate more patrons as well as first-timers.

Shorthorn Pares' bone marrow splits the bone in half—ugly, yes, but delicious no doubt

Beautiful mess: Half Saints’ tinola risotto

Celebrating Filipino roots with a multicultural influence, Christine Roque and her partners at Half Saints came up with a tinola risotto recipe inspired by her father’s love for tinola and her love for risotto.

“Isn’t it like when you were young? Your comfort food is usually rice with anything sauce or sabaw. And it’s the first dish that got us noticed by a lot of people,” says Roque. The crispy chicken floss on top of the risotto requires the most work, and the rice used for the risotto is a mix of Japanese and Milagrosa (jasmine rice) to match the texture of authentic risotto.

Half Saints' tinola risotto was inspired by her father’s love for tinola and her love for risotto

Going green: Tiyo’s piyanggang manok

Piyanggang manok is a Tausug specialty where the chicken is marinated in a curry paste made from burnt coconut. “We wanted to have regional representation of dishes in the menu since Filipino food has always been Luzon-centric,” says Tiyo’s Mark Tating. It is originally bitter in taste, but Tating modified the recipe with more spices and ingredients like ginger, spring onions, and garlic to suit the market.

Piyanggang manok is a Tausug specialty where the chicken is marinated in a curry paste made from burnt coconut

Originally published in F&B Report Vol. 15 No. 6