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SHOWBIZ NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

BODY TALK BY RICKY LO WITH MAR ROXAS: WHO IS HE POINTING AT?


APRIL 27 -Mar at Ateneo and (right) at Wharton (The Philippine STAR is conducting interviews with the five presidential candidates. To see how fit for office they are, each of them is invited to do a “Body Talk.” First come, first served, with Vice Pres. Jojo Binay first on the line; story out two weeks ago. Second is former DILG Sec. Mar Roxas who did the roundtable last week. No need for further introduction. Let’s go straight to the “executive check-up.”)  What else do former DILG Sec./Presidentiable Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez, his wife of seven years (they got married on Oct. 27, 2009), do in bed aside from what couples usually do? What they told The STAR in an interview when they came back from their honeymoon in Japan may still be relevant today. (The couple is among the 29 “Dynamic Duos” featured in this columnist’s third book, Conversations Pa More, launched two weeks ago and now available in National Bookstores and Powerbooks for only P195 per copy.) READ ON...

ALSO: Regine happy to be acting again


APRIL 28 -Regine Velasquez-Alcasid as Rita Villon, heiress and owner of a perfume factory, in Poor Señorita
Regine Velasquez-Alcasid stars in romantic-comedy series Poor Señorita airing after 24 Oras on GMA Telebabad and under director Dominic Zapata. Regine is back after quite a while not seeing her acting on TV. In an interview, she shared with us her her happiness and excitement to act again, despite feeling a bit nervous.
“I’m very happy to be working with everyone again but I’m also feeling a little nervous since I haven’t done this in a while. But really, I’m very excited because the character is different. I think that is one of the most exciting aspects of the series that we are waiting for,” said Regine. I Heart You Pare was Regine’s last acting role with Dingdong Dantes in 2011. But Regine’s role was given to Iza Calzado due to the singer’s pregnancy with her first-born. Poor Señorita is a story about Rita Villon (Regine), an heiress and a successful owner of a perfume company. She is an obsessive-compulsive, perfectionist who is feared by her employees. She has never had a boyfriend and has no interest in men but deep inside, she longs for love and connection. In a twist of events, Rita loses all her wealth. On her way to gaining back all the things she has lost, Rita has met five street children (Kyla, Charisse, Apol, Rambo and Girlie), who help her get back on her feet. Along their journey, Rita has developed affection for them, teaching her the true value of happiness. READ MORE...

ALSO: Pia crowns 2016 Miss Peru-Universe


APRIL 28 -Barely a week after Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach crowned her Bb. Pilipinas/Miss Universe-Philippines successor Maxine Medina, she flew to Peru to sit as judge in the 2016 Miss Peru-Universe and to crown the winner (far right), Valeria Piazza of Lima, assisted by outgoing Miss Peru-Universe Laura Spoya (who competed with Pia at the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas in December last year).
She comes and she goes. Now you see her back home and then…where will she surface next? Pia was honored by Lima Mayor Luis Castaneda (right) as a ‘Distinguished Guest of Lima (Huesped Distinguida de Lima)’ and accepted a token of appreciation during a courtesy call at the City Hall. For the event, Pia wore a dress by Bessie Besana. At the press conference, Pia told the 31 candidates, “I participated three times in the Miss Philippines and knows what you feel to be there...fight for your dreams. What I could say is that the most important thing is to be genuine. The personality is important.”  During the pageant, Pia (in a gown by Cherry Samuya Veric), was tasked to ask the final question to the Top 3 finalists, ‘Tell us, which has been the moment in your life when you felt the most beautiful?’  Pia’s next stop? The western Caribbean Sea, the Cayman Islands, in mid-June. — With a report by Celso de Guzman Caparas THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Queen Elizabeth II at 90: A look at highs, lows of her reign
[PRINCE CHARLES IS ALREADY 67. COULD THE QUEEN ARRANGE THINGS SO GRANDSON PRINCE WILLIAM WOULD SUCCEED HER?
No. This is a constitutional monarchy, with rules of succession.]


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II meets young people involved in designing the commemorative plaques as she officially opens the new Bandstand at Alexandra Gardens, a day ahead of her 90th birthday, in Windsor, England, Wednesday, April 20, 2016. AP/Arthur Edwards/Pool Photo 
LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II marks her 90th birthday on Thursday as Britons and many throughout the world celebrate her long and dignified reign. She will celebrate again in June with national events to mark her official birthday. Here are answers to some questions about the queen's extraordinary life and times: ___
WHY TWO BIRTHDAYS A YEAR? ISN'T ONE ENOUGH? It may seem excessive, but the British monarch celebrates his or her birthday twice a year, once on the actual day (for Elizabeth, April 21), and once in early June, when the event can be marked with the gala Trooping the Color parade in central London. The June date is chosen in part because the famously fickle British weather just might produce a few sunny hours at that time of year. And the Buckingham Gardens are gloriously in bloom. READ MORE...

ALSO: Dangerously delicious at the World Street Food Congress


Just how successful was the World Street Food Congress in the Philippines? At half past six on the first day of the Congress, the organizers had to temporarily stop people from entering the venue because the food area had reached full capacity. The queue that formed outside the Congress stretched out over three blocks. And, for filling our bellies with satay beehon from Singapore to martabak from Indonesia to assam laksa from Malaysia and to (of course) truffled lechon from the Philippines, our taste buds have to thank the organizer of the World Street Food Congress, photojournalist, entrepreneur and street-food champion KF Seetoh. Hailed by CNN as the “guru of grub,” Seetoh is the founder of Makansutra, a company that celebrates and promotes food culture. Aside from Makansutra street food market in Gluttons Bay, Seetoh is also helping curate purveyors at the upcoming Bourdain market (yes, that Bourdain) in New York City. Seetoh shared me with me his perspective on the evolution of street food, his candid thoughts on Filipino street-food cuisine and his suggestions on how Pinoy food can “level up” to a global culinary stage. PHILIPPINE STAR: Seetoh, is there a secret origin for how street foods developed around the world? And just what makes street food so deliciously dangerous? KF SEETOH: Street food came about because people had no choice. This was about “desperation food.” For the Chinese, it is demeaning to sell food on the streets. Food is so sacred it is to be enjoyed as it bonds the family in the kitchen. Then (imagine) that you have to hawk your family heritage recipe — that one flavor and culture that brings the family together — on the street, it’s like selling yourself. But many years ago, people had no choice. (For example) Chinese migrants that came to Singapore for work realized that at the end of the day, nobody was selling them food. So some of those male migrant workers back in the day told themselves, “This is an opportunity!” Some sold their heritage dishes while others made creative recipes. This eventually evolved over the years so that in modern-day Singapore we have this street food culture that is quite similar in origin to other counties that also boast a (thriving) street food culture as well. We’ve had speakers in the congress talk about street food as “food of the working class,” while others talked about it as “comfort food” or “heritage food” or “soul food.” What exactly do we mean when we say “street food”? READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Body Talk with Mar Roxas: Who is he pointing at?


Mar at Ateneo and (right) at Wharton

(The Philippine STAR is conducting interviews with the five presidential candidates. To see how fit for office they are, each of them is invited to do a “Body Talk.” First come, first served, with Vice Pres. Jojo Binay first on the line; story out two weeks ago. Second is former DILG Sec. Mar Roxas who did the roundtable last week. No need for further introduction. Let’s go straight to the “executive check-up.”)

MANILA, MAY 2, 2016 (PHILSTAR) FUNFARE By Ricky Lo April 27, 2016 - What else do former DILG Sec./Presidentiable Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez, his wife of seven years (they got married on Oct. 27, 2009), do in bed aside from what couples usually do?

What they told The STAR in an interview when they came back from their honeymoon in Japan may still be relevant today. (The couple is among the 29 “Dynamic Duos” featured in this columnist’s third book, Conversations Pa More, launched two weeks ago and now available in National Bookstores and Powerbooks for only P195 per copy.)

READ ON...

Mar: Korina likes snacks (cookies, barquillos, anything really) before bedtime while I like ice cream (chocolates, chocolate chips).

Korina: I watch TV till late. We both like the lights off and the air-conditioning cold, so no problem there.

Up to now, the rumor (suspicion) persists that Mar is, you know, “under the saya.” That made Korina laugh then and I bet she’s laughing about it now.

Korina: Hahahaha! That is such a joke! Si Mar, ang tigas ng ulo n’yan. He thinks, analyzes then decides. Then, full speed ahead. Maingat at kalmado siya. Pero pag nagdesisyon, that’s it. Lahat nang nakakakilala kay Mar alam na hindi siya nadidiktahan. Suffice it to say that I come into partnership with Mar as, precisely that ­— a partner. Pareho kaming buo na n’ung magkakilala kami. In our relationship, may respetuhan.”

Did they sign any pre-nup?

“No,” said Korina then, “walang pre-nup. Mar never required it…”

“No pre-nup,” Mar confirmed. “Korina brought it up and I sort of set it aside. I am uncomfortable talking about these things as if kontrata; ano yun, parang empleyado, heto oras mo, heto duties mo, heto dayoff mo. O kaya parang partehan, ito akin, ito iyo, ito atin. Nawi-weirdan ako…”

Have Mar and Korina decided to put off having a child even if, according to Korina, Mar loves kids and “he’s always happy when he’s with his son and pamangkins”?

Until lately, Mar’s son Paolo Roxas (mom is former Bb. Young-Pilipinas Maricar Zaldarriaga) stayed away from the limelight and made himself visible on the campaign trail while on a break from Yale (where he is taking up Economics). He’s the serious-looking guy in the new Mar Roxas TV plug.

“Paolo is a fine young man,” was how Korina described the Roxas heir. “I admire his mother for that. Paolo is very malambing, mabait and he is a respectful person. Times that we are together, we are warm and we chat. I ask him to tell stories and he is the most cheerful and thorough narrator. On Mar and my wedding day, he had a Best Man’s speech which he gave to Mar. After dinner that night, we danced a bit and he gave me the sweetest, most heartfelt hug. That was all I could want. You know, I keep a healthy distance from his affairs as Mar and his mom make decisions for him.”

At the time of that interview, Mar and Korina were preparing for the 2010 presidential elections (Mar lost to Jojo Binay in the vice-presidential race).

Asked if he was ready for the mudslinging and the muckraking during the campaign (which seems to have taken a turn for the worse), Mar said, “One is never really prepared for this even if it’s supposed to be ‘part of the game.’ Of course, it hurts, especially if most of them are lies, half-truths. Nonetheless, we soldier on. The consuelo de bobo is that ‘the dirt-dishing says more about the pagkatao of the one doing it than the target.’ In any event, the truth will always come out and in the end that’s all that counts.”

Korina agreed.


Left to Right: Mar and wife Korina bonding in the water; Mar and Korina during a pictorial; and Korina with mom-in-law Judy Araneta-Roxas

 “I have gone through it. After so many years in the limelight, especially as a commentator, I am always ready for a reaction, a backlash, a consequence…But it would be hypocritical to say that it never hurts…Si Mar may pinaglalaban na pagtama ng mali sa pamamahala ng gobyerno…”

Since he’s busy with the campaign and hardly has time to sit down, Mar was able to answer only one half of the “body talk” questions. Here’s Mar, short but sweet.

What makes you cry? When was the last time you cried? How do you find comfort?

“I really can’t help but get teary-eyed whenever I think of Dinggoy, my younger brother. (Dinggoy died in Mar’s arms. ­— RFL.) It showed when I delivered my speech in Club Filipino last year and to this day, we still miss him.”

Pres. Noynoy Aquino is said to use gadgets to de-stress. What about you?

“I usually read books. But I do have an iPad where I play Plants vs Zombies. Either works for me most of the time.”

Do you work out?

“Yes, but now less frequently because of the campaign schedule. I’d usually go out having six-kilometer runs in the morning or whenever I find the time.”

What about your diet?

“I follow a healthy diet. At least I try to (hahahaha!). But since it’s campaign season, I’m on what I call a ‘campaign diet,’ a.k.a. eating whatever is in front of me in every place we visit.”

When was the last time you had an executive check-up?

“I can’t remember.”

What vitamins are you taking?

“Vitamin C and multi-vitamins.”

How much sleep do you get?

“Because of campaign season, I get about three hours on average during the weekdays.”

What’s the last thing that you do before you go to sleep?

“I say ‘Good night’ to Korina.”

What’s the first thing you do as soon as you wake up?

“I try to go back to sleep.”


Three generations of Roxases (on a 1997 Christmas card): President Manuel Roxas, Senator Gerardo Roxas and then Congressman Mar Roxas

Who snores?

“I’m pretty sure it’s me. I’m certain Korina will agree.”

Do you still have private time?

“Rarely. That’s why I make the most out of it.”

Lights off or on?

“Does it matter?”

How many times do you say “I love you?”

“Not often enough. But there are many ways to show people you love them other than telling them that you do.”

3 Comments Philstar.com Login 1 Recommend Share Sort by Newest Avatar

Join the discussion…

Avatar Tamarindwalk • 9 hours ago What does this crap have to do with presidential,qualifications? 1 • Reply•Share ›

Avatar daminapala Tamarindwalk • 6 hours ago everything, this is family and love. ano ba gusto mo? belyas? murahan? suntukan? patayan? yun may kinalaman sa qualifications yun? • Reply•Share ›

Avatar Tamarindwalk daminapala • 5 hours ago We know there is no love lost between Mar and Sanchez. 1 • Reply•Share ›

ASA OF WEDNESDAY APRIL 27, 2017...

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. You may also send your questions to askrickylo@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

[PHNO DISCLAIMER: OWNER & ASSOCIATES  OF PHNO SIMPLY DISSEMINATE THE PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS, AS FREE SERVICE, UPLOADED AND SENT VIA YAHOO NEWSGROUP WEEKLY  FOR OUR LONG-TIME (SINCE 1997) SUBSCRIBERS AND READERS.]


PHILSTAR

Regine happy to be acting again LIVE FEED By Bibsy M. Carballo (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 28, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Regine Velasquez-Alcasid as Rita Villon, heiress and owner of a perfume factory, in Poor Señorita

Regine Velasquez-Alcasid stars in romantic-comedy series Poor Señorita airing after 24 Oras on GMA Telebabad and under director Dominic Zapata.

Regine is back after quite a while not seeing her acting on TV. In an interview, she shared with us her her happiness and excitement to act again, despite feeling a bit nervous.

“I’m very happy to be working with everyone again but I’m also feeling a little nervous since I haven’t done this in a while. But really, I’m very excited because the character is different. I think that is one of the most exciting aspects of the series that we are waiting for,” said Regine.

I Heart You Pare was Regine’s last acting role with Dingdong Dantes in 2011. But Regine’s role was given to Iza Calzado due to the singer’s pregnancy with her first-born.

Poor Señorita is a story about Rita Villon (Regine), an heiress and a successful owner of a perfume company. She is an obsessive-compulsive, perfectionist who is feared by her employees. She has never had a boyfriend and has no interest in men but deep inside, she longs for love and connection.

In a twist of events, Rita loses all her wealth. On her way to gaining back all the things she has lost, Rita has met five street children (Kyla, Charisse, Apol, Rambo and Girlie), who help her get back on her feet. Along their journey, Rita has developed affection for them, teaching her the true value of happiness.

READ MORE...

Joining the cast are Mikael Daez as Paeng, a janitor in a hotel; Sheena Halili as Maika, Rita’s loyal secretary; Kevin Santos as Kilmer, a hired assassin; Valeen Montenegro as Piper Villon, Rita’s cousin; Jaya as Edna, Paeng’s kagawad aunt; Ervic Vijandre as Jordan, Paeng’s macho dancer best friend; Jillian Ward as Charisse, the “heart” of their group who likes giving words of wisdom and quotable quotes;

Miggs Cuaderno as Apol, the “comedienne” and optimistic one in the group; Zymic Jaranilla as Rambo, the siga of the group; Caprice Cayetano as Girlie, the “baby” of the group; Ralph Noriega as Isko, the neighbor of Kyla; and Snooky Serna as Deborah Villon, Rita’s show-off and scheming aunt.

Also introduced are StarStruck Season 6’s First Princess and Prince, Ayra Mariano and Elyson de Dios. Ayra plays Kyla, the raketera of the group, while Elyson is Edison Villon, the kind and handsome son of Deborah. Playing special roles Ricky Davao as Daniel Villon, the loving father of Rita; and Dingdong as Rafael, a hotel owner who goes on a blind date with Rita.

StarStruck Season 6 First Princess and Prince Ayra Mariano and Elyson de Dios are also part of the show

(E-mail your comments to bibsyfotos@yahoo.com)


PHILSTAR

Pia crowns 2016 Miss Peru-Universe (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 27, 2016 - 12:00am 1 3 googleplus0 0 From Manila PHL


APRIL 28 -Barely a week after Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach crowned her Bb. Pilipinas/Miss Universe-Philippines successor Maxine Medina, she flew to Peru to sit as judge in the 2016 Miss Peru-Universe and to crown the winner (far right), Valeria Piazza of Lima, assisted by outgoing Miss Peru-Universe Laura Spoya (who competed with Pia at the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas in December last year).

She comes and she goes. Now you see her back home and then…where will she surface next?

Pia was honored by Lima Mayor Luis Castaneda (right) as a ‘Distinguished Guest of Lima (Huesped Distinguida de Lima)’ and accepted a token of appreciation during a courtesy call at the City Hall. For the event, Pia wore a dress by Bessie Besana.

At the press conference, Pia told the 31 candidates, “I participated three times in the Miss Philippines and knows what you feel to be there...fight for your dreams. What I could say is that the most important thing is to be genuine. The personality is important.”

During the pageant, Pia (in a gown by Cherry Samuya Veric), was tasked to ask the final question to the Top 3 finalists, ‘Tell us, which has been the moment in your life when you felt the most beautiful?’

Pia’s next stop?

The western Caribbean Sea, the Cayman Islands, in mid-June. — With a report by Celso de Guzman Caparas


PHILSTAR

Queen Elizabeth II at 90: A look at highs, lows of her reign (Associated Press) | Updated April 21, 2016 - 12:18pm 1 74 googleplus0 0


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II meets young people involved in designing the commemorative plaques as she officially opens the new Bandstand at Alexandra Gardens, a day ahead of her 90th birthday, in Windsor, England, Wednesday, April 20, 2016. AP/Arthur Edwards/Pool Photo

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II marks her 90th birthday on Thursday as Britons and many throughout the world celebrate her long and dignified reign. She will celebrate again in June with national events to mark her official birthday.

Here are answers to some questions about the queen's extraordinary life and times:

___

WHY TWO BIRTHDAYS A YEAR? ISN'T ONE ENOUGH?

It may seem excessive, but the British monarch celebrates his or her birthday twice a year, once on the actual day (for Elizabeth, April 21), and once in early June, when the event can be marked with the gala Trooping the Color parade in central London. The June date is chosen in part because the famously fickle British weather just might produce a few sunny hours at that time of year. And the Buckingham Gardens are gloriously in bloom.

___

READ MORE...

HOW DID ELIZABETH SPEND HER LAST DAY AS AN 89-YEAR OLD?

The monarch on Wednesday toured her local Windsor postal depot, which was renamed in her honor. "I have it on good authority that your own postmen and women will be especially busy with tomorrow's mailbag," Royal Mail Group chief executive Moya Greene said as she thanked the queen for coming to mark the 500th anniversary of the Royal Mail. A crowd waved the nation's flag in the sparkling sunshine as two Royal Mail choirs and another one from Bristol sang "Happy Birthday."

___

WHEN DID SHE BECOME QUEEN?

Elizabeth's life was changed forever in 1936 when her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated so he could marry his divorced lover Wallis Simpson. This made her father the king and Elizabeth heir to the throne. King George VI's health failed, however, and he was too ill for a planned tour of the Commonwealth in 1952, so he sent Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, in his place. They were staying in a remote part of Kenya on Feb. 6, 1952, when she was told that the king had died. She automatically became queen upon her father's death, although the official coronation did not take place for more than a year.

___

HOW DID ELIZABETH WEATHER WORLD WAR II?

Elizabeth was a young princess during World War II, and her father King George VI was concerned for her safety as London came under the repeated German bombing raids known as The Blitz. She and her sister Princess Margaret were moved to Windsor Castle, 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of London for security reasons. She later persuaded her parents to let her serve in the Auxiliary Transport Service, where she learned how to drive and repair ambulances and trucks as part of the war effort. She was assigned number 230873 while in the service.

___

HAS THE QUEEN EVER COMPLAINED IN PUBLIC?

No, that's just not done. The closest Elizabeth has come to exhibiting human frailty to her subjects was in 1992, when she made a rare admission that her life, so picture perfect on the outside, was marred by the marital woes of three of her four children. She didn't complain in English, however, looking to Latin to proclaim it had been something of an "annus horribilus" — a horrible year that included a disastrous fire at her beloved Windsor Castle.

___

WHAT WAS THE LOW POINT OF HER MONARCHY?

This would undoubtedly be the stormy days that followed Princess Diana's sudden death in a car crash in August 1997. The princess was tremendously popular, and many held the royal family responsible for her unpleasant divorce from Prince Charles. The queen was castigated in the press for not returning to London immediately after Diana's death and for not flying the royal standard atop the palace at half-staff as a sign of respect. Thousands of mourners placed flowers at the gates of Kensington Palace, Diana's residence, and many complained the queen was insensitive and out of touch.

(This item has been corrected to August 1997 from September 1997)

___

WHO WAS HER FAVORITE PRIME MINISTER?

You'd have to ask her. And she won't tell.

___

DOES THE QUEEN PLAN TO RETIRE?

The strong-willed and able-bodied queen has given no indication she plans to leave the throne, and has described her unique position as a "job for life." Her own mother lived to be 101, and was generally in fine fettle in her final years. Still, it is possible Elizabeth would step down if she developed severe problems that made it impossible for her to carry out her role.

___

PRINCE CHARLES IS ALREADY 67. COULD THE QUEEN ARRANGE THINGS SO GRANDSON PRINCE WILLIAM WOULD SUCCEED HER?

No. This is a constitutional monarchy, with rules of succession.


PHILSTAR

Dangerously delicious at the World Street Food Congress POGI FROM A PARALLEL UNIVERSE By RJ Ledesma (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 28, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Just how successful was the World Street Food Congress in the Philippines? At half past six on the first day of the Congress, the organizers had to temporarily stop people from entering the venue because the food area had reached full capacity. The queue that formed outside the Congress stretched out over three blocks.

Just how successful was the World Street Food Congress in the Philippines?

At half past six on the first day of the Congress, the organizers had to temporarily stop people from entering the venue because the food area had reached full capacity. The queue that formed outside the Congress stretched out over three blocks.


The Singaporean World Street Food Congress organizer, photojournalist, entrepreneur and street-food champion KF Seetoh. Hailed by CNN as the “guru of grub,” Seetoh is the founder of Makansutra, a company that celebrates and promotes food culture.

And, for filling our bellies with satay beehon from Singapore to martabak from Indonesia to assam laksa from Malaysia and to (of course) truffled lechon from the Philippines, our taste buds have to thank the organizer of the World Street Food Congress, photojournalist, entrepreneur and street-food champion KF Seetoh.


Anthony Bourdain with Singaporean street food champion K. F. Seetoh. [Photograph: Singapore Tourism Board]

Hailed by CNN as the “guru of grub,” Seetoh is the founder of Makansutra, a company that celebrates and promotes food culture. Aside from Makansutra street food market in Gluttons Bay, Seetoh is also helping curate purveyors at the upcoming Bourdain market (yes, that Bourdain) in New York City. Seetoh shared me with me his perspective on the evolution of street food, his candid thoughts on Filipino street-food cuisine and his suggestions on how Pinoy food can “level up” to a global culinary stage.

PHILIPPINE STAR: Seetoh, is there a secret origin for how street foods developed around the world? And just what makes street food so deliciously dangerous?

KF SEETOH: Street food came about because people had no choice. This was about “desperation food.” For the Chinese, it is demeaning to sell food on the streets. Food is so sacred it is to be enjoyed as it bonds the family in the kitchen. Then (imagine) that you have to hawk your family heritage recipe — that one flavor and culture that brings the family together — on the street, it’s like selling yourself. But many years ago, people had no choice. (For example) Chinese migrants that came to Singapore for work realized that at the end of the day, nobody was selling them food. So some of those male migrant workers back in the day told themselves, “This is an opportunity!” Some sold their heritage dishes while others made creative recipes. This eventually evolved over the years so that in modern-day Singapore we have this street food culture that is quite similar in origin to other counties that also boast a (thriving) street food culture as well.

We’ve had speakers in the congress talk about street food as “food of the working class,” while others talked about it as “comfort food” or “heritage food” or “soul food.” What exactly do we mean when we say “street food”?

READ MORE...

All those terms that are used to express street food are all true. For example, New York did not have a rich street food culture for many, many years. But the food truck culture in New York exploded after the (economic) meltdown of 2008 because people had to go out to the streets and sell food. So for New Yorkers, you can’t quite use the term “heritage food” for “street food.” And, if you think about it, just what does “heritage” or “authentic” mean? It is an expression of your culinary culture. There are no real rules to “authenticity.” In countries like India and Indonesia, they are rich with heritage food because it’s comfort food. There’s no distinction between street food and restaurant food because the restaurant sells street food too. You can have a nice Dosa Masala (a fermented crepe made from rice batter and black lentils that is popular in India and in other countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore), because it is good heritage food.

With an appreciation of the encompassing nature of street food, what are your thoughts about Filipino food? Especially since you’ve sampled the gamut of our cuisine, from street food vendors to Jollijeeps to food markets to fine dining restaurants.

I’ve got good friends from the Philippines who take me around (to try out the food) and I think (they) are to shy to express what true Filipino food culture is. (For me) there’s no street food culture except in malls where there are food stalls that sell “neither here nor there” kind of food. But if you ask the Chinese people, “What is Chinese food?” they’ll say Chinese food is a diaspora of flavors from Northern to Southern China, and there is even “foreign” Chinese food! While Filipino food has had influences from Spain, China, America and other parts of the world, I don’t think (Filipino cuisine) has taken full advantage of this culinary gift to (further) evolve (the cuisine). (If you look at Singaporean cuisine), it melded together flavors (from different cultural influences) about 40 to 50 years ago to give us iconic Singapore flavors that are neither Malay, Chinese, Indian, Peranakan (the term used for the descendants of the 15th- to 17th-century Chinese immigrants to Malaysia and Singapore), English or Portuguese (with all these ethnicities being the migrant forefathers of Singapore). Take the Indian dish in Singapore called “Rojak salad” (assorted fritters in a pink sweet, spicy and savory potato sauce), you cant find that (in India) or anywhere around the world. It was (born from) the ingenuity of the locals, (where the dish) came from flavors they recognized from other cultures to create a (uniquely Singaporean dish). Although our (Singaporean) dishes might not be authentic to India or to China, they are authentic to Singapore.

Given your extensive knowledge of world street cuisine, how unique is Filipino street food in the global food scene?

My graphic interpretation of Filipino (street) food is something they roast or grill on the street, like lechon or pulutan. Although the food is cheap, friendly and everybody can cook it, I think that (at this particular time) there is an opportunity to evolve (the cuisine). The food is delicious, but (it needs to develop more) character. It is time to move away from adobos as there are expressions of adobos in Indonesia, China and Spain. Your lechon is good, damn good. But there are (versions of lechon) all around the world. Having said that, this is the best time to re-express the Filipino soul of flavors.

We’ve heard food critics like Andrew Zimmern (host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods show) proclaim that Filipino food is the next big thing. Do you agree or not with that statement? And what do you think we need to do to propel Filipino food to the global stage?

Physically, I don’t think the Philippines (is quite there yet). But you know why I feel it has (the opportunity to be the next big thing)? It’s because of the people who are reinventing Filipino food. The food itself is all there, but (“the stakeholders” have to do something about evolving the food). If suddenly (the chefs) are empowered, it will revolutionize Filipino flavor. (If you want to take Filipino food to the international stage), you’ve got to flash your new stars! Who are they? There are chefs like JP Anglo (of Sarsa Restaurant) and there are bloggers like Anton Diaz who are creating platforms for chefs like JP (to be showcased). That will excite more (chefs) to enter the Filipino food scene.

This is the first time that you’re holding the World Street Food Congress outside of Singapore. Why did you think Manila would be a good place to hold the congress?

Firstly, it’s a hundred million people who love food! Filipinos not only travel around the world but they are also all over the world as well. They are familiar with food. So if you introduce the (world street food) culture and (the idea of re-expressing/evolving evolving your local street food), they will love it!


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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