Feast your eyes on Asian Dragon’s much-awaited holiday food guide
By Norma O. Chikiamco
Production Assistant: Goldweene Quetulio
Photographs: Aldwin Aspillera
Kitchen magic happens whenever Christmas and New Year comes along. The home cook baking quietly in her own kitchen, the hotel chef commandeering a whole regimen of cooks and helpers, the restaurant churning out its house specialties—they amaze us year after year with the extraordinary goodies they manage to conjure.
This year, as in years past, we’ve rounded up some of the best the metropolis has to offer. From a whole roasted suckling pig, to a tall regal toffee sans rival, a quivering tibok-tibok made with pure carabao’s milk, a party-size kare-kare, a whole turkey roasted to a golden brown finish, gingerbread cakes and artisanal ensaymada, and a white truffle honey cake topped with silver chocolate pearls—take your pick from this mouth-watering collection and make your holiday table even more festive.
Cochinillo Asado, a whole suckling pig roasted to a golden brown finish, with crisp, crackling skin and meat that’s tender to the last bite. One order of about five kilos serves 12 to 15 persons. P7,950. Order one day in advance. (Contact information: G/F Milky Way Bldg., 900 Arnaiz Ave. cor. Paseo de Roxas, Makati City ; (02) 810-8735, 810-2763; www.elcirkulo.com; www.milkywayrestaurant.com)
This hefty US prime rib, roasted to perfection. Weighing 10-12 kg, these tender slices of beef can feed a huge crowd (P10,680). Available by order at least 24 hours in advance. Other products for takeaway: roasted and glazed ham, stuffed Christmas turkey, and Peking duck. Visit or call Café Pronto for the Christmas hampers. (Contact information: Meralco Ave., Pasig City; (02) 720-7777 loc. 6614)
Known for its traditional Filipino cuisine, Sérye offers (counter clockwise, from bottom right): classic kare-kare, a rich stew of tenderized oxtail and tripe, in a slowly simmered bone broth, with roasted peanuts ground in-house, and specially milled toasted rice to thicken the sauce, plus vegetables cooked al dente and clean-tasting bagoong on the side. No wonder this dish won as best kare-kare in Food Wars Asia Kare-Kare Challenge (P490/ two to three servings; P1,960/party platter); chicken relleno roulade, boneless chicken with just a hint of sweetness in its filling, with a new rolled shape for easy, even slicing (P1,215/roll, serves eight to 10); bibingka classic, a rice and coconut cream pancake topped with shaved coconut, kesong puti (white cheese), and salted duck eggs (P145/two to three servings); puto bumbong, the classic delicacy of dark “pirurutong” rice, drizzled with shaved coconut meat and muscovado sugar (P135/two to three servings). (Contact information: Branches: Quezon Memorial Circle, (02) 426-2693, (0921) 848-9149; Santana Grove in Sucat, (02) 825-4691, (0998) 485-0571; www.serye.ph; FB: Serye/PH)
Mario’s, which started in Baguio City and is well known for its Caesar Salad, is also famous for its Spanish specialties. Here, a sample of dishes you can order during the holiday season, counter clockwise, from bottom: sidings of vegetables and potatoes; pot roast beef (P2,300 for an order good for 10 servings); paella Valenciana, laden with a variety of seafood (P1,950 for an order good for 10 servings); toffee sans rival, layers of crisp wafers and rich butter cream icing, topped with a creamy toffee icing and sprinkled all over with chopped nuts (P1,150); pollo Iberico, a rich chicken dish cooked in olive oil (P385); and for a light dessert, a ring of sugar-free gelatin (P475). (Contact information: Branches: 191 Tomas Morato Ave., Quezon City, (02) 415-3887 or 372-0360; 16 Upper Session Rd., Baguio City, (074) 442-4241, 442-5445, (0905) 297-3384; www.marios.com.ph; FB: marios.group)
Tita Lenn’s Yummies’ perfect pick-me-ups: counter clockwise, from center: siopitas, mini siopao with asado filling (P15/piece; P300/box of 20); savory empanaditas (P300/box of 20); two kinds of chicken: barbecued, with atchara (P500 for one whole); and fried chicken with kamote fries (P500/whole chicken); siomai with quail egg topping (P320/box of 20 pieces). (Contact information: 41 San Rafael St., Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City; (02) 637-1448 or 631-3450 (telefax))
Marinated in fragrant rosemary and garlic, then slow roasted for six hours, this Australian leg of lamb is two kilos of mouthwateringly tender and aromatic meat, and typifies the exemplary dishes Bizu is known for. Each order comes with a lamb demi-glace and mint jelly (P7,800/order, good for 10-15 servings). (Contact information: Branches: Alabang Town Center , (02) 809-2498; Greenbelt 2, (02) 757-2498, 903-6340; Greenhills Promenade, (02) 724-2498; Eastwood Mall, (02) 781-2524; Robinsons Magnolia, (02) 664-5904; St. Luke’s Medical Center – Bonifacio Global City, (02) 823-6621, 789-7700 loc. 1337; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Artisanal ensaymada, made only with the finest ingredients such as Danish butter, farm fresh eggs and soft wheat flour. Comes in a variety of flavors such as Parmigiano Reggiano, classic Cheddar, dulce de leche, ube, salted egg and cream cheese, and chorizo de Cebu (P2,400/dozen, packed in a gift box); walnut fudge brownies, moist and full of chocolate flavor (P1,800/dozen). (Contact information: Pick up orders at 7302 Cypress St., Marcelo Green Village, Parañaque City. Special delivery via private chauffeur service at P1,000 delivery fee within Metro Manila. (02) 831-2688, (0918) 901-5238))
Authentic German cookies: linzer, buttery cookies with a hint of lemon (sugar-free, P150); vanilla kipferl, festive cookies with ground nuts (P130); husarenkrapfen, short crust cookies with jam (P110); zimsterne, chewy, crisp, cinnamon-spiced star shaped cookies (P140); and stollen, a traditional German loaf bread with fruits, nuts, and marzipan and dusted on top with powdered sugar. Wagner’s version is prepared from a treasured family recipe (P800). (Contact information: Two Central Condominium, Commercial Unit B, 109 Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati City; (02) 772-0955, (0917) 627-8880. Order the cookies one week in advance if you’re buying in bulk, except for the Stollen which should be ordered a month before. Other products are 100g each)
See more holiday food finds, which are also great and available throughout the rest of the year, inside Asian Dragon Magazine’s December 2016-January 2017 issue. Grab your copy from all leading bookstores nationwide or purchase the issue from the Asian Dragon Magazine App, free to download on Google Play Store, iTunes, and Amazon.