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War and Feasts

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By Sol Vanzi
Images by Noel B. Pabalate

Food is one of the hottest topics of conversation everywhere these days. It seems impossible to escape the topic. Even on TV, there are several cable channels dedicated to food and travel shows. At newsstands are many local and imported glossy magazines on food. And the hottest guessing game is: What the next food trend will be. Year after year, many predict that the food world’s spotlight will be on Filipino cuisine. Perhaps this could be our year.

Wars have been responsible for spreading the cuisine of countries beyond their natural geographic boundaries. After World War II, American soldiers who fought in Asia-Pacific war zones returned home with a taste for raw fish (sashimi) and batter-coated, deep-fried seafood (tempura). But the western world was not yet ready for abrupt changes. Post-war attention was on reconstruction, not food fads.

  • Grilled bulgogi

  • Executive chef Meik Brammer welcomes Korean guest chefs

  • Colorful and healthy bibimbap

  • Diners and staff don Korean costumes

    By 1950, military conflicts moved to the Korean peninsula, where thousands of Filipinos served as part of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK). I remember reading about the heroism of Filipino soldiers there. My parents took me to watch a Filipino film about the 10th BCT (Battalion Combat Team).

    In school, our teacher read out loud some of the newspaper reports sent to the Manila Times from the Korean warfront by their brave young reporter Benigno Aquino Jr.

    American and Filipino servicemen returned home from the Korean battlefields relishing memories of spicy preserved cabbage (kimchi) and tabletop barbecued beef (bulgogi), dishes that many wanted to cook at home if given the opportunity to learn how.

    Cooking Lessons

    In partnership with the Korean Cultural Center, the Marriott Hotel is offering a rare chance to learn all about Korean food, hands on, from a team of four chefs from one of the largest and most famous resorts in Seoul, Elysian Gangchon. This is the biggest culinary fete at the Marriott Café buffet for this year.

    For its daily menu, Marriott Café is preparing a bounty of popular classics and rare Korean dishes from July 11 to 31. Among the healthy finds are namul (seasoned vegetable dish), sundubu jjigae (soft tofu stew), kimchi stew, and mandu (dumplings).

    Cook The Gangnam Style

    A rare opportunity to learn how to prepare Korean food at home will be featured on cooking classes facilitated by Korean guest chefs. Discover swift Korean meals-to-go and heirloom recipes to impress family and friends.

    There are two dates to choose from: July 18 (Tuesday) or 19 (Wednesday), from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Marriott’s The Hub.

    Inclusive of a sumptuous lunch, chefs gear, equipment, and ingredients for only P1,250. Classroom seats are limited.

    Creating Memories

    For the Korean Food Festival, Marriott has gone all out to transport diners to Korea through photo opportunities. Diners can try on colorful Korean national costumes of various sizes, which they can briefly put on for selfies or groupies.

    Day one of the festival saw a long line of diners happily posing in Korean costumes, trying to look like their favorite telenovela characters. 02 988 9999 | www.manilamarriott.com

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