Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Ilocos Region's Native Cuisines

Featured Region: Region I, The Ilocos Region
Featured Recipe: Pinakbet

For the whole month of October, Isla Kulinarya will bring you to a scenic region that is blessed with open highways and cobblestoned roads, old fashioned towns, and grand Spanish style architecture-- the Ilocos Region.  Region 1 or Ilocos Region, which is wedged between the wild china sea and rugged Cordillera mountain range demonstrates a visually stimulating scene that boasts its splendor and magnificence. It consists of several provinces including: Abra, Benguet, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Mountain Province, and Pangasinan.

In addition, Ilocos is home to hardworking people who have cultivated the land to provide themselves with nourishment for thousands of years.

They say they’ll know you’re Ilokano if :
             *you're a spendthrift or a frugal person
             *you address your fellows as lakay.
             *you say “aysos” over 10 times a day
             *your family gathering includes an inevitable game of Pepito/Pusoy
             *your favorite expression is mangan tayon (let’s eat!) and
             *your favorite dish is pinakbet.

Pinakbet or pakbet is a popular Ilocano dish, from the northern regions of the Philippines, although it has become popular throughout the archipelago. The word is the contracted form of the Ilocano word pinakebbet, meaning "shrunk" or "shriveled".

Ilokano's pinakbet
 The original Ilocano pinakbet uses bagoong, of fermented monamon or other fish, while further south, bagoong alamang is used. The basic vegetables used in this dish include native bitter melon, eggplant, tomato, ginger, okra, string beans, lima beans, chili peppers, parda and winged beans. A Tagalog version usually includes squash or kalabasa. Most of these vegetables are easily accessible, and are grown in backyards and gardens of most Ilocano households.

As its name suggests, pinakbet is usually cooked until almost dry and shriveled and the flavors of the vegetables are emphasized and accentuated by bagoong (shrimp paste). In some cases, lechon, chicharon, or other meats (most commonly pork), or shrimp are added.

Because pinakbet is a vegetable dish, it is considered a healthy dish. Here for the enjoyment of Filipino Americans is a great recipe for this beloved Ilokano dish- brought to you by Island Pacific’s Isla Kulinarya.

Catch us again next week as we feature another Ilocano recipe, you'll surely love. Don't miss it! Mangan tayon!

Isla Kulinarya lets you explore the islands, taste the food, relive the memories -- all made possible by Island Pacific Supermarket. Go and visit an Island Pacifc near you with branches in Southern California located at Cerritos, Canoga Park, North and South Vermont in Los Angeles, Panorama City and West Covina;  Union City and Vallejo in Northern California. 

Check out our website at Stay connected with us-- like us on Facebook (island pacific market), follow us on Twitter (islandpacificUS) and  Blogger (island pacific market). For your comments, suggestions and request for recipes that you want us to feature, please email Presyong Sulit... sa Island Pacific. "

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Featured Chef: Chef Socrates Z. Inonog, CCE, ACF

Welcome to Isla Kulinarya-- a gastronomic adventure that will take you from one culinary destination to the next, exploring the different cuisines that make each regions of the Philippines truly unique. Together with some of the best chefs and food authors as well as ordinary homemakers, Isla Kulinarya will share delicious recipes and introduce readers to the world of authentic flavors of the Islands Philippines.
For our opening salvo, we will showcase special recipes from the most celebrated Filipino chef in America - Chef Socrates Inonog. He’s the first chef to be bestowed as the Certified Culinary Educator in the US and has received a number of awards from his decades of culinary career.
The 79-year-old was the former Dean of Emeritus of Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. He served as a culinary professor, Department Chairman, Dean of Faculty, and Director of Operations before accepting the Dean Emeritus position at the Johnson and Wales University. One of his former students from the class of 1978 was none other than famous international chef Emeril Lagasse.

Inonog proudly promotes Philippine cuisine wherever he goes. "We should be proud of what we have," he said. "Our cuisine, it’s not simple, it’s a combination of so many cultures, Spaniards for 300 years, Japanese, Chinese, Malaya Polynesian we should be proud of our cuisine. To this day whenever I cook, although I know how to cook everything, they want my Filipino food. As a Filipino, love your cuisine, really promote it and love it. "

Catch us again next week as we bring you Chef Soc's Inonog's version of Adobo. Watch out for it! 

Isla Kulinarya lets you explore the islands, taste the food, relive the memories -- all made possible by Island Pacific Supermarket. Go and visit an Island Pacifc near you with branches in Southern California located at Cerritos, Canoga Park, North and South Vermont in Los Angeles, Panorama City and West Covina;  Union City and Vallejo in Northern California.

Check out our website at Like us on Facebook (island pacific market), follow us on Twitter (islandpacificUS) and connect with us on Blogger (island pacific market). For your comments, suggestions and request for recipes that you want us to feature, please email

Presyong Sulit... sa Island Pacific. "

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Introduction to Philippine Cuisine

Welcome to ISLA KULINARYA – Island Pacific’s regular column featuring Filipino culture through its varied cuisine. Starting today and every MDWK issue of the Asian Journal, we will feature free delicious recipes from chefs, culinary experts and ordinary Pinoys who just love to cook – from all-time Philippine favorites to local, unique fare from different regions. Enjoy new and traditional Filipino food recipes that are simple to cook and always a pleasure to serve and eat... dishes that are always welcome on the dining table.

Apritada, a Spanish influence dish
Like Philippine fiestas, Filipino recipes are rich in flavor & color. Philippine cuisine is as diverse as the different regions that make up the 7,000 islands. It is flavored by a rich variety of herbs and spices found all over the islands. Aside from the many tropical fruits and vegetables grown in the mountains and plains, seafood, meat and poultry are also a major part of the Filipino diet.

The Filipino culinary expertise has been greatly influenced by Spanish, Chinese, European, American, Arab and Asian cuisines. It is a fusion of various recipes adopted from earlier traders, Asian immigrants and former colonizers. Foreign trade brought in all kinds of spices and plants to the Philippines. And like the Filipino today, its cuisine is a gastronomic feast from different countries and cultures - from east to west.

Chicken Feet or most commonly referred to by the locals as "Adidas"
Filipinos have embraced as their own cuisines form other countries like the noodles from the Chinese, rice and meat dishes from the Spaniards, steak and burgers from the Americans and pasta from the Italians. All these now form part of the Philippine cuisine – made even better with the Filipino creativity.

Korean BBQ,  Asian influence dish
Get to know the Philippines more through its culinary treats. Experience the tastes and colors of Philippine food. The cuisine is a gastronomic delight that has been savored through many generations. Discover and enjoy the free Filipino food recipes, only from Island Pacific’s Isla Kulinarya. Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Island Pacific Proudly Presents ISLA KULINARYA

For Filipinos, no matter how many different cuisines they can enjoy in many places in the world, there’s nothing like the taste of Filipino cuisine. The Philippines with its 7,000 beautiful islands offers a wide array of culinary fare with each region having its own culinary specialties. Truly,the Pinoy culinary experience offers something to please every mood and palate.

Culinary traditions are important elements of our culture and history. Cuisine and the technology of its production show how people cope with food sources, vegetation, climate and the numerous other aspects of their environment. The Filipino's culinary expertise has become an important source of pride and livelihood. How the people of the Philippines transformed tropical ingredients into delicious meals and splendid edible fancies is a tribute to culinary creativity.

To celebrate the culinary distinctiveness of our Islands, the Island Pacific chain of supermarkets is launching its special ISLA KULINARYA. We will proudly showcase the story of our multifaceted culinary heritage not only in California, but to the rest of the world.

Island Pacific with its chain of supermarkets catering to the Filipino American community is the perfect vehicle to showcase the banquet of culinary creativity  of the Filipinos. Isla Kulinarya will feature an array of distinctive regional dishes created with local ingredients with their very special flavors. These dishes reflect the influence of the various foreign cultures that impacted the Philippines for half a millennium. There’s the spicy hot dishes from Bicol, the sweet desserts and kakanins from Bulacan and Pampanga, the salty vegetable dishes from Ilocos or the unique herb-filled Lechon from Cebu.  All so delicious,  all distinctively Filipino.

Through ISLA KULINARYA, Island Pacific aims not only to celebrate our culinary expertise but also to educate and familiarize the second and third generation of Filipinos about our culture and food. As many chefs love to say, the way to know one's culture is through the stomach.

Each week, Isla Kulinarya will feature a special region of the Philippines, showcasing important information about the place, the famous landmarks, and of course, recipes of its distinct native delicacies. Island Pacific has gathered together the best chefs and authors, as well as ordinary homemakers with delicious recipes to bring to you the world of authentic flavors of the Islands Philippines. Watch out for the Isla Kulinarya regular column at Asian Journal and on the Island Pacific website at

So, be prepared to engage in a rich tapestry of epicurean delight. There is so much to discover... so much to experience... so much to taste... thru ISLA KULINARYA!