Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Makan Ken Mainum at the Bambanti Festival 2018

Translated as food and drinks, Makan ken Mainum, are Ilocano words every foodie who wants to explore the culinary of Isabela should know. Moreover, it is the banner of the recently concluded Isabela’s Master Kusinero Cooking Contest which was one of the highly-anticipated activities in the Bambanti Festival 2018.

This event is a show off of different culinary ingenuities coupled with the tradition of city and town representatives of Isabela.  Of course, Ilocano cooking in the highest degree of respect is the major factor for this cooking battle.

There will only be two winners of the two categories - Food and Beverage.  Winning entries are cooked and plated in the cooking arena under strict observance of the judges.  I was surprised with the recipes some have used, some may have been heirloom recipes while others have given creative twists to the typical Ilokano dishes.

This was spearheaded by the wife of Governor Bodjie Dy, Mary Ann Dy, who herself cooks at their home and a restaurateur.  The winning dishes in their previous contests were that of Inabraw and Kambing na Kalderata.

Primary ingredients in the event are chevon meat or goat meat, fruits endemic to the region, corn, as their major crop and vegetables,   You see, their love for their vegetables is admirable.

I was able to see how every cook made sure they are doing what the recipes dictated them to do, mise en place in mind but still having fun.  Watching blithely while inhaling the aroma of lemongrass, ginger, calamansi, among others, spectators including me can't help but be amazed.

The municipality of Sta. Maria even brought a sugarcane juice press for their sugarcane juice entry.

Unique chevon meat dishes stood out and were made into balls, racks with sauce, burger, kaldereta and even embotido.

A banduria group was present to add music to the event.

Below are photos of Mainum entries...

Would you be surprised to know there are Pako shake and Pinakbet juice as entries?

Fried SSA (Sweet and Sour Adobo)

credited from Isabela's FB page
The winning drink (Illuru) and dish are both from Echague (Fried SSA [Sweet and Sour Adobo]).

Aside from the celebrity chefs that graced the event to witness and judge the cooking showdown, such as Sandy Daza, there were also three Mayors who joined in the contest to be part of the cooking team.

These and many more native delicacies and products featured at the Bambanti Festival 2018 are just some of the foodscape that proves Isabela can be a foodie destination too.

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