The foodservice industry isn’t immune to the pull of love and romance this month. What could be lovelier than a Valentine’s tasting menu inspired by Asia and a rediscovery of Japanese products that stir the senses? In this month’s roundup, we check in on two Valentine’s-themed events that are hitting the hearts of Filipino consumers for a limited time.
An Asian-inspired Valentine’s feast at Your Local
Patrick Go seems to be on a roll. Last year, the talented chef became Asian cult favorite Your Local’s head chef and re-energized the Makati outpost with a slew of new brunch dishes—much to the delight of Asian foodie fans.
This time, Go, who also got married in 2022, is banking on love and romance to craft a special seven-course Valentine’s tasting menu from Feb. 10 to 15. True to his Asian strengths, the tasting menu takes diners on a tour of regional specialties that bring the best of both worlds. Starting off with a sourdough bread with homemade kaya jam, soy-infused butter, and seaweed powder, here’s everything you can expect from the regional tasting menu—whether you’re single or committed.
1. Blue crab with kaffir lime dressing topped with cilantro and pomelo on a crispy seaweed cracker
2. Tuna saku or hand-cut tuna loin marinated in a house-made Korean ssamjang sauce, spring onions, and grapes served with grated Grana Padano on a fried mantou toast
3. The catch of the day with seasonal fish fried in a sake and cerveza negra batter with horseradish, mentaiko aioli, and sweet-sour pickled radish relish
4. A Singaporean-inspired bak kut teh with a mushroom and pork both, spices, lightly poached chicken, pork belly, mushroom, and radish
5. Lamb with fried flakes of lamb shoulder and wok-fried mushroom krapow on top of a burnt pumpkin and laksa risotti
6. Grilled beef striploin marinated in a coffee-and-homemade masala paste and served with smoked potato puree, black garlic beef sauce, and charred crispy leeks
7. Avocado with frozen avocado cream, kaya jam cream chantilly, sweet-savory patis dulce de leche, and crunchy barquillos muscovado crumbs
The schedules for the tasting menu are as follows
Feb. 10, 13, and 15 — 6 to 8 p.m. and 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Feb. 11 and 12 —11 a.m. to 1 p.m., 6 to 8 p.m., and 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.
The tasting menu is priced at P3,965 per person, inclusive of service charge. Reserve on tasteless.ph
From Japan, with warm love (again and again)
It’s no secret that Filipinos have a love affair with Japan. In a February 2022 Statista survey, 24.5 percent of respondents chose the Land of the Rising as their top preferred holiday destination. And for good reason: Japan manages to balance both the old and new, the modern and the natural with a tourism structure that makes it easy to appreciate everything regardless of age.
Then there’s the food and beverage culture. Japanese cuisine possesses a global appeal and reputation that transcends boundaries. You could say that it has captured the imagination of Filipinos so much that the local restaurant scene has integrated much of its techniques and philosophies. On the consumer side, Japanese products have become mainstays in the Filipino lifestyle.
Which makes this year’s Nukumori Valentine’s Fair by the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO) at the Mitsukoshi Mall events space in Bonifacio Global City a welcome event in the season of love.
From Feb. 1 to 14, the Nukumori Valentine’s Fair aims to celebrate love in all its forms and highlight the gentle warmth of the Japanese people, how it radiates to others—whether friends, family, and significant others. Nukumori, which translates to ‘warmth’ in Japanese, manifests through omotenashi or the hospitality of Japanese culture seen in thoughtful gift-giving, handcrafted confections, and acts of service.
With this Valentine-themed fair, JETRO also intends to celebrate the similarities between Japan and the Philippines when it comes to expressing affection and appreciation for others through well-loved confections and beverages that virtually say “I love you” in the sweetest way possible.
Here’s a rundown of some of the Japanese products available at the fair: