Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sooo Pinoy Food Food Trip Cebu Leg | Crimson Beach Resort’s Kalderetang Kanding nga may Tuno and Escabecheng Lapu-Lapu in Adobo Sauce

I was delighted when a fellow blogger Matud Nila invited me to join Unilever Food Solution's Sooo Pinoy Food Tour Cebu Leg. Though it was already on the second and the last batch, we still covered a number of Cebu's known hotels and restaurants. I have heard of Sooo Pinoy campaign in the past year but it was only this time I realized its purpose and importance: it aims to identify the best Pinoy dish across the country, discover more our diverse culinary culture and understand deeper the heart of Filipino Cuisine. This is all about pinoy food and  our pride as one nation.

The team went to Crimson Resort and Spa in Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City, for a one-of-a-kind Kalderetang Kanding and Escabecheng Lapu-Lapu treat. I love 'kanding' or goat dishes because of leaner meat and has low-cholesterol compared to pork and beef.

Kaldereta, a tomato-based goat stew - is a uniquely Filipino dish. Originally it uses chevon/mutton and served during special family occasions and fiesta celebrations. Pork, chicken and beef can be used as a variation whenever there is no available goat meat. The meat is simmered until it is tender, mixed with potatoes, carrots, liver and cream. This is one of the "borrowed" dish from Spanish era (it came from the Spanish word "caldera" means couldron according to, but we made it uniquely our own through the years. For Cebuanos, goat meat is considered special, and are being offered in some specialty restaurants.

Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan came up with its own Cebuano version of Kaldereta, expertly prepared by their very own Chef de Partie Chef Lemuel Algabre. This dish is both a come-on and a turn-off if this is not properly prepared, as the goat meat has usually a strong and gamey flavor, so this was my point of consideration when eating kaldereta or any goat meat dishes.

When it was presented to us, it was artistically plated. It was both a feast on my eyes and in my palate as it never failed to disappoint my taste. The meat was tender and the creamy tomato flavor was just right, and long before I realized I was eating already the rice! Chef Lemuel, a true-blue Cebuano knows how to win all my senses and gave me a good dining experience. 

Kaldereta is known as a Tagalog dish. What made this dish uniquely Cebuano is the use of "tuno" (coconut milk), instead of cream which are used by most of the Tagalogs. I myself at home grew up as a Kapampangan and my dear father uses cream milk instead of 'tuno'.

How to prepare Kaldereta:

Sear the goat meat on all sides by frying it quickly in hot oil. Set aside. In a separate pan or wok, saute garlic, onion and tomato paste. Add the goat meat, soy sauce, sugar (adjust according to your preference), star anise, bay leaves, pineapple puree (or crushed fresh pineapples, tomato sauce and water. Limit the use of herbs so as not to overpower the taste and flavor (according to Chef Lemuel, 5 pieces star anise is already good for a 5 kilo meat). You can add atchuete to give a bright orange color to the dish. Come to a boil for 5-10 minutes, adjust fire to medium and simmer for 2-3 hours until tender. Add coconut milk at the final stage and give it one time to simmer. If you have oven at home, you can quickly cook the meat (without the sauce) in the oven for at least 1-2 minutes to cook further the meat (you can skip this in absence of the oven). In a separate wok, fry cardaba bananas (plantains), carrots, wedged potatoes and bell peppers. Add the fried vegetables when serving.

Another dish prepared by Chef Lemeul was Escabecheng Lapu-Lapu in Adobo Sauce. Today's Escabeche is a fried fish dish with a sweet and sour sauce which is more Chinese than Spanish. The way it is prepared is very Chinese, but the name is of Spanish origin. Amy Besa on her book Memories of Philippine Kitchens tells us that the major culinary influences of both China and Spain are so fused in our culture that it is impossible to tell whether this dish is Chinese or Spanish.

The word escabeche is the Spanish word for ceviche. In the Philippines, it originally meant pickled fish. The 1919 cookbook Aklat ng Pagluluto (literally "book for cooking") which documented, preserved and translated into Tagalog the European-influenced dishes in the Philippines, describes the method for preparing escabeche de pescado. A whole fish is soaked in hot oil, then cooled; it is then topped with vinegar, bay leaves, oregano, salt and water. In 1941, a compilation of recipes from Cebu and other parts of the country called Our Favorite Recipes included a recipe for fish that was first fried, then marinated for several days, and served cold (Besa and Dorotan, Memories of Philippine Kitchens, page 103)

Rather than arguing if it is a Spanish or Chinese dish, through the years it uniquely evolved and made it so Pinoy. This is the reason why escabeche was chosen by Chef Lemuel to prepare for the Crimson Resort stopover.

Chef Lemuel gave this pinoy kitchen staple a twist: the fried lapu-lapu was never soaked in sweet-sour sauce, but it was drizzled with adobo (vinegar-tart stew) sauce, another uniquely Pinoy dish. The julienned carrots, ginger, onions and red  bell peppers were separately cooked in vinegar and soy sauce and sweetened with sugar. Eating this dish is like eating two favorites at the same time. The saltiness of adobo and sweet-sourness of escabeche perfectly combined and gave a good contrasting delicious flavors! That was enough reason why I ate all my rice!

How to prepare Escabeche with Adobo Sauce:

De-bone lapu-lapu, twist the tail portion and pull it towards the head section of the fish and hold it with a toothpick (it should look like the one shown in the picture, if you want to make it simpler,you can always fry the fish with all the bones intact). Dust with some flour and deep fry until golden, set aside. On a separate wok, saute onion and ginger in a little oil until tender. Add julienned carrots, ginger and red bell peppers, spiced up with white pepper, a little vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Simmer until vinegar-soy sauce mixture almost reduced and the vegetables tender to the bite (note,if you want to make carrots crunchy, add this in a later part), set aside. To make adobo sauce, saute onions, garlic and ginger, add the soy sauce and fish stock (or use fish). Simmer until reduced, add dissolved cornstarch to the mixture, enough to thicken the sauce. Put black pepper and salt to taste. If ever, reduce thickness with water. To serve, put rice on top of the vegetable bed, and the fish on top of the rice. Drizzle adobo sauce on the plate. Garnish with some fresh spring onions.

Chef's Advise:

For the Kaldereta:
  • Sear the goat meat quickly by frying all sides, to "lock-in" the meat before putting it into a boil. This, according to him, is the proper way to prevent the strong and gamey flavor ('langsa' in cebuano) from destroying the
  • Coconut cream shall be added at the last stage and should be simmered once. Avoid simmering it for a long time

Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan is enjoying influx of foreign guests during summer time. With this their restaurant is offering international buffet to cater to both Pinoy and foreign guests. Kaldereta is being offered in Crimson's lunch and dinner buffet, by special request. Also, escabeche can be ordered ala carte, as most foreign guests would preferred steamed Lapu-lapu in soy-ginger sauce if it is a Lapu-lapu dish.

We left the resort satisfied yet wanting for more. I was already expecting for something so close to my palate, yet so unique on our next food stop.

About SOOO PINOY Food Trip na Pilipinas!
Sooo Pinoy Food Food Tour is a campaign spearheaded by Unilever Food Solutions (the food service arm of Unilever Service) together with the Department of Tourism to promote the country's local cuisine and tourism.

Sooo Pinoy campaign's purpose is to feed every Filipino's love for Pinoy Foods by providing information about the most popular Pinoy national and regional dishes and helping diners identify the top Filipino restaurants in the country.  It aims to help diners discover more about the diverse Filipino cuisine. Sooo Pinoy is the biggest FOOD TOUR in the country.

The Cebu Leg of Sooo Pinoy Food Tour kicked off this month of April 2012. The first batch of Cebu Leg was well attended by print, broadcast and social media and it covers mostly known hotels and restuarants from South to North of Cebu. Cook My Garden was able to join the second batch of the tour arranged by Unilever Food Solution - Cebu arm.

Like the FB page of Sooo Pinoy and get to know closely what makes our cuisine special and uniquely Pinoy:

To know more about the Sooo Pinoy campaign, read further.


  1. Good read, good food, nice photography. Thanks for this Red.

  2. Such delicious looking food makes my mouth water.Cheers to the food and the chef !!!!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...