May 28, 2024
BEST OF KALINGA CUISINE — The best cuisine and homegrown products from Kalinga province, including the inandila, binungol or binungor, and bugnay wine, are featured in the Mangan Taku: Cordillera Food Fair 2024 at Burnham Park, Baguio City. Representing Kalinga in the gastronomic event are the Dangtalan Pasil Slow Food Community, Kalinga Treat Food Products, Sheldon’s Integrated Farm, and Tabuk Indigenous Women Livelihood Association, assisted by the Department of Trade and Industry-Kalinga. Redjie Melvic Cawis

The Cordillera food is not only meant for household consumption; but is also worth highlighting in the national and international food scene.

This is what the Department of Tourism-Cordillera wants to emphasize as it holds the fifth edition of the Mangan Taku Food Fair which opened at the Rose Garden on April 25.

Designed as a tourism come-on, Mangan Taku set until April 29 features exhibitors from the Cordillera provinces who are showcasing their respective places’ gastronomic offerings.

Mangan Taku is not a festival, but an exhibition where we are given glimpses of the food and wine offerings you can find in the different provinces in the region,” said Department of Tourism-Cordillera Director Jovi Ganongan.

“As a food tourism event, the exhibitors showcase the gastronomic offerings of their provinces so that when people travel to these areas, they will look for the food they have been offered at Mangan Taku.”

This year, 33 exhibitors are participating in the food fair, which has expanded to other activities, such as learning sessions where experts in the industry were invited to share their knowledge and skills in food and beverage preparation.

Among the food showcased are the region’s traditional dishes and delicacies such as the inandila of Kalinga, patopat and etag of Mountain Province, and Abra’s laddit.

An addition to this year’s food fair is the demonstration by renowned mixologist Chef Kalel Demetrio and Raman Di Kordilyera food demo by chefs of the Baguio Country Club.

Ganongan said it is high time for the Cordillera to mainstream its cuisine to enhance the experience of travelers coming to the region.

“We always thought that our food in the Cordillera is only good for our homes, but since the first staging of Mangan Taku in 2019, we realized that our cuisine is something that should be shared. It’s just a matter of leveling up the way we serve, present, and tell the stories behind our food,” Ganongan said.

When it comes to wines and beverages, Demetrio, who conducted the mixology or demonstration on mixing drinks, said it is high time for the region’s rice and fruit wines to be a staple on the table and served as a welcoming drink for guests.

“It is nice to serve these drinks, like the tapey, with your dish because it is you know better what food it can best be paired with,” he said.

With Mangan Taku, Ganongan said the DOT expects more stakeholders in the food and beverage industry will have more interest in learning more about the Cordillera cuisine and start including this in their menu.

Department of Trade and Industry-Cordillera Director Juliet Lucas lauded the DOT for continuously mounting the Mangan Taku food fair.

Mangan Taku gave value added to our food in the Cordillera and we desire our local cuisine will be served in more establishments in different forms. We hope we reach the point when the world will also be looking for our signature food and drinks,” Lucas said.

Evangeline Payno of BCC said they are launching the Raman di Cordillera in May as their commitment to the promotion of region’s cuisine.

“The Baguio Country Club has always believed the Cordillera cuisine is part of our heritage, this is why we are incorporating it into our menu. We are also encouraging our members in the Hotels and Restaurants Association of Baguio to add Cordillera dishes to their menu,” she said.

“We are also encouraging establishments to invest in training chefs and kitchen staff on Cordillera food preparation to ensure we have an authentic preparation and presentation so that visitors will have a greater appreciation of our dishes.”

Another component of the Mangan Taku event is the indigenous food forum on the closing day of the event on April 29.

Ganongan said experts from the international and local food scene will discuss the importance of food heritage. The Slow Food community in Pasil, Kalinga will also share their best practices in sustainable food production and consumption.

Slow Food is a movement that promotes the production and consumption of local food through traditional cooking. – Jane B. Cadalig