Anthony Bourdain: Sisig "Would Really Set the World on Fire"
Plus, what makes for a good restaurant, anyway?
(SPOT.ph) We know you’re already planning your trip this weekend to the World Street Food Congress at the Mall of Asia Concert Grounds, but for aspiring restaurant-owners and industry folk who wanted to dig deeper into food trends and best practices, Globe hosted a series of talks in line with Globe myBusiness Academy at the Conrad Hotel earlier today, June 2.
The event brought together different industry experts to talk about trends, social media, and customer loyalty, among them JJ Yulo, food creative and part-owner of Makansutra, Trixie Zabal-Mendoza and Idge Mendiola of Yummy magazine, and Pat Mallari, country marketing manager of Unilever Food Solutions.
Yulo talked about the movement towards healthy food, and encouraged business owners to think out of the box—like exploring cities outside of Manila. “You have to be creative, savvy, [and have] copious amounts of grit.” Zabal-Mendoza and Mendiola highlighted how working with a team, being truthful by using real food in photographs, and focusing on distribution are just some of the elements that would contribute to a successful food business. Mallari encouraged the audience to think about customer engagement, adding, “If you believe that your food is worth paying for [or] believing in, then people will [also] buy into it.”
Anthony Bourdain was also there to talk about his Bourdain Market. Makasuntra hosted a Q&A session with the celebrity chef, facilitated by WSFC founder KF Seetoh. Bourdain shared more of his plans for his food hub: "If you could imagine walking into a space where they're selling produce and fish hawkers and butchers cutting meat [...] and also hawkers selling affordable hawker food from all over the world—there's lamb tacos from Mexico or chicken rice or laksa or char kuey tiao, [prepared] in exactly the same way [...] and at a similar price point like in Maxwell Centre [in Singapore] or a night market in Hong Kong or Taipei."
The chef emphasizes that while he has respect for young chefs doing modern takes on various cuisines, ultimately what he is looking for are hawkers who prepare food the way it's been done for generations. "I'm introducing New Yorkers to to the way it has been enjoyed in these countries for years. I'm looking for any chicken rice that any Singaporean grandmother would find acceptable. Not Westernized, not modern."
What we do know for sure is that Bourdain is also going to offer sisig and lechon. "I think the number-one Filipino dish that would really set the world on fire, has the highest possibility of success, everywhere around the world is sisig," shares the chef. "It's really perfect...you're sitting around drinking beer, and around beer number-four, the arrival of a good authentic sisig is like the best thing ever."
As for his opinion on Jollibee? "My daughter loves it, she grew up with it. I came to it late, but yes, I did reluctantly enjoy my [Aloha] burger."