Quiapo a la carte

Published December 3, 2021, 8:00 AM

by Manila Bulletin

Mama Sita Foundation celebrates the evolution of Philippine cuisine

CURATED MENU Cultural Heritage Professor Dr. Fernando Zialcita gave the opening remarks during the dinner event, where he described the dinner’s menu as influenced by the annual field school organized by the program

“The world’s first global city” was neither in Europe nor the Americas. According to British musical historian David Irving, Manila during the 17th and 18th centuries could have worn that title very well. The city attracted people from four continents: Europe, Asia, North American, and South America. Trade, culture, and food reflected the height of the Galleon Trade, which connected Manila to Acapulco. At the heart of Manila, Quiapo is a bustling community brought together by trade and religion, work, and leisure.

“Quiapo A La Carte: Food Culture in Transit” celebrates the district’s culture and evolution. This online event was held in early November, presented by Dr. Fernando Zialcita, a professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), his students in ADMU’s Cultural Heritage Studies Program, and the Mama Sita Foundation, a staunch supporter of Philippine food.

REDISCOVER QUIAPO Cultural heritage advocate and dinner curator Ige Ramos

The sumptuous dinner delivered to the doorsteps of the guests and participants was curated by Ige Ramos, author, and cultural heritage advocate. It was catered by Waya Araos-Wijangco, chef at Gourmet Gypsy Art Cafe.

According to British musical historian David Irving, Manila during the 17th and 18th centuries could have worn that title ‘the world’s first global city.’

The menu was composed of two bento boxes, owing to the fact that half of the menu was cooked halal-style. The first box contained merienda cena and dessert, while the second box included the halal main course and rice dishes. Moslem guests received only the second box at their doorstep.

HALAL DISHES Hosts Dayle Dacanay and Ria Maulit presented the overview of dishes to the dinner guests.

Buhay Quiapo Project

During the dinner program, Bakas Pilipinas, a non-government organization based in New York City, which aims to help preserve heritage sites, launched the Buhay Quiapo Project, in partnership with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of Ateneo.

THE QUIAPO CHRONICLES Participants of the Quiapo A la Carte Dinner pose for a photo at the end of the open forum

Given the spotlight over the dinner were Halal dishes prominent in the Quiapo food culture. Pastil, or Pater, is rice topped with beef, chicken, or other viands wrapped in banana leaf. Palapa is a side dish made from scallions, ginger, chili, turmeric, and toasted coconut. The Chicken Piaparan is a coconut-based dish often paired with Palapa when eating. Finally, Beef Rendang is a dish slow-cooked in coconut milk, with added spices to further enhance its flavor.

Through this online event, the organizers and sponsors aimed to spread appreciation for Quiapo and its heritage culture as expressed through its cuisine and artistry. It was an event that fits right in among Mama Sita Foundation’s current work of promoting the evolution of Philippine cuisine through educational webinars for different audiences around the world. 

If you have a Filipino food story to share, join Mama Sita’s Mga Kuwentong Pagkain Facebook Group. For more information, visit Mama Sita’s Mga Kuwentong Pagkain Facebook Page.