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PHNO TRAVEL & LIFESTYE (FOOD)
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports)

SOL JOSE VANZI's  LIFESTYLE & FOOD PAGE THIS WEEK

FEATURING HER 'TIMPLA'T TIKIM' (Manila Bulletin)
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

COMFORT FOOD WORTH BATTLING TRAFFIC FOR
[BRAZILIAN CULINARY HERITAGE]


AUGUST 16 -Brazilian-Japanese grandmother,Gege Matsunaga and Vanessa Matsunaga-Sunga -Everybody is still talking about last Friday’s horrendous rainfall and the subsequent monster traffic jams. I was among thousands trapped for hours in unmoving vehicles. My Uber rental took four hours from Intramuros to BGC where Naxional, a brand new restaurant, was opening. I arrived soaking wet and shivering, wishing I had not come. Within minutes, I changed my mind after munching on the most authentic South American comfort food in the country, prepared under the supervision of a Brazilian-Japanese grandmother driven by passion for her country’s culinary heritage. The atmosphere inside Naxional was infectious—a blend of the Rio de Janeiro Carnival rhythm with a gathering of the most lavishly colored birds of the Brazilian forest. The wall murals gazed back under wrought iron chandeliers lit with dozens of antique Coca Cola bottles. Fresh fruits and flowers beckoned from trays and baskets. Throughout all these, mouth-watering food scents wafted from the glass-enclosed kitchen where staff deftly prepared dishes they had spent weeks training to master. Gege Matsunaga, daughter Vanessa Matsunaga, and son-in-law Jun Sunga were a picture of family harmony as they cuddled baby Isabella in the midst of colorful surroundings and festive music. The infant did not seem out of place in the restaurant/bar’s warm ambience of merriment. READ MORE...

ALSO: Naxional South American Diner - Serving the Best of South American Dishes in BGC


JULY 13, 2016 -South America prides itself on its colorful history, rich culture, and delicious dishes.
There is nothing quite more interesting than how they cleverly use spices and herbs, and how they incorporate complex flavors in their meat and dishes. Although there have already been a handful of restaurants in the metro that serve Latin dishes, most of them are already altered to fit the palates of the Filipinos. This has ultimately decreased the authenticity of the dishes, leaving us deprived of the real taste of Latin America’s mouthwatering cuisine. Naxional South American Diner, a newly opened diner in Uptown Parade, compensates for all of the South American food that we have been missing. Owned by South American citizens who now reside in the Philippines, the restaurant offers a different kind of comfort, giving a homey feel that is very distinct to the Latin culture. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Comfort food worth battling traffic for


AUGUST 16 -Brazilian-Japanese grandmother,Gege Matsunaga and Vanessa Matsunaga-Sunga

MANILA, AUGUST 22, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi August 18, 2016 - Everybody is still talking about last Friday’s horrendous rainfall and the subsequent monster traffic jams.

I was among thousands trapped for hours in unmoving vehicles. My Uber rental took four hours from Intramuros to BGC where Naxional, a brand new restaurant, was opening.

I arrived soaking wet and shivering, wishing I had not come. Within minutes, I changed my mind after munching on the most authentic South American comfort food in the country, prepared under the supervision of a Brazilian-Japanese grandmother driven by passion for her country’s culinary heritage.


Colorful Buffet

The atmosphere inside Naxional was infectious—a blend of the Rio de Janeiro Carnival rhythm with a gathering of the most lavishly colored birds of the Brazilian forest. The wall murals gazed back under wrought iron chandeliers lit with dozens of antique Coca Cola bottles.

Fresh fruits and flowers beckoned from trays and baskets. Throughout all these, mouth-watering food scents wafted from the glass-enclosed kitchen where staff deftly prepared dishes they had spent weeks training to master.


Vanessa Matsunaga, Gege Matsunaga, Jun Sunga

Gege Matsunaga, daughter Vanessa Matsunaga, and son-in-law Jun Sunga were a picture of family harmony as they cuddled baby Isabella in the midst of colorful surroundings and festive music. The infant did not seem out of place in the restaurant/bar’s warm ambience of merriment.

READ MORE...

LOVE AT FIRST BITE

Located at the second floor of the Uptown Parade in BGC, Naxional was originally conceptualized by Raymund Magdaluyo, of the Red Crab Group, who was inspired by his visits to diners abroad. Jun and Vanessa helped turn his vision into reality.

Other founding members were born and raised in South American countries, and are eager to bring the flavors they grew up with in the Philippines: Brazilian actor Daniel Matsunaga and Lifestyle Network Venezuelan host Cynthia Patos.

“We want the menu to be South American homecooked dishes, which we think Filipino diners would love to try. Family cooking takes time, so you have to put a lot of love and effort on these dishes,” said Patos.

GRANDMA’S LESSONS


South American dishes typically use only fresh herbs


Fiojada

Gege eagerly shared many of her kitchen secrets and adventures, especially her joy at discovering Brazilian vegetables and fruits in Philippine markets. Her biggest surprise was finding a basic ingredient everywhere in the Philippines: the yuca.

Brazil’s staple, yuca, is what Filipinos call kamoteng kahoy. It was introduced to the Philippines by Spanish colonizers who discovered the root crop in the New World. It was transported via the Galleon Trade, along with other vegetables and fruits such as the avocado, pumpkin, beans, jicama (singkamas), guyabano, and many more.

Gege needs Yuca to prepare many of her family’s favorites, including the Brazilian national dish feijoada, a stew of black beans and cured pig parts, such as the head and tail. Yuca is hand grated, dried, and roasted to become farofa, a necessary topping for any decent feijoada worth its beans. The arduous hand grating, over the years, left several souvenirs in the form of scars on her knuckles.


Creamy Dessert

Yuca is often used in South America place of the common potato. It is sliced and deep-fried like French fries or served boiled and mashed as a side dish with meats. A special dish is fried Yuca balls stuffed with pork and served with a refreshing creamy sauce or dip.

EXOTIC FARE


Patacones Carne de Mechada

Naxional serves fire-cooked steaks, such as the patacones, the customer’s choice of meat perfectly seasoned in sofrito sauce, topped with carne (beef), cerdo (pork), or camarones (shrimp), served with fried plantains and guacamole.

Colorful and light elote is a popular street food made of char grilled sweet corn, dabbed with chili butter, mayo lime, and crumbled cheese. The seafood lovers’ choice is Ecuador’s encebollado—hangover fish stew served with yuca which has been boiled in fish stock.

NAXIONAL is on the second floor of the Uptown Parade in BGC. 02 946 3419


WHEN IN MANILA ONLINE

Naxional South American Diner: Serving the Best of South American Dishes in BGC
BY JANELLE ALMOSARA • JULY 13, 2016

South America prides itself on its colorful history, rich culture, and delicious dishes.

There is nothing quite more interesting than how they cleverly use spices and herbs, and how they incorporate complex flavors in their meat and dishes. Although there have already been a handful of restaurants in the metro that serve Latin dishes, most of them are already altered to fit the palates of the Filipinos. This has ultimately decreased the authenticity of the dishes, leaving us deprived of the real taste of Latin America’s mouthwatering cuisine.

Naxional South American Diner, a newly opened diner in Uptown Parade, compensates for all of the South American food that we have been missing.

Owned by South American citizens who now reside in the Philippines, the restaurant offers a different kind of comfort, giving a homey feel that is very distinct to the Latin culture.

READ MORE...

Chef Peter Ayson, the diner’s executive chef, describes the restaurant as a place run by a “family”.

The dishes on their menu are meticulously prepared to resemble what the owners have in their hometowns.

From Venezuelan to Peruvian and Brazilian, Naxional South American Diner offers a diverse set of dishes that covers all 12 countries in South America.

These dishes are all created with love and nostalgia, reminding the owners and the chefs of what it feels like to be home. The food definitely does not disappoint with flavors bursting in each bite.

Their Patacones, a Puerto Rican dish, is also a great appetizer. It’s a mixture of meat, fried plantains, sofrito, and guacamole, creating small yet very satisfying starters. This goes well with beer, and can also serve as a great hangover cure after a night of partying at the nearby bars.

For the main course, we were able to try the Bandeja Paisa Platter, which came all the way from Colombia. As the name suggests, the dish is served on a big platter with pieces of griddled steak, chopped crispy pork belly, caramelized plantains, black beans, fried egg, garlic rice, and sweet potato. The serving is quite big, so you can actually split it for two people. What we love about the food is the unique flavor, which is a bit different than what we’re used to, yet perfectly captivates our tastebuds. Everything was nothing but love at first bite.

As for dessert, they have quite a selection to satisfy sweet lovers. The Postres are all created by Chef Cynthia Patos, the Great Dessert Maker from Lifestyle Network’s “The Clash”. We were able to try two of their most coveted desserts, which are the Arroz con Leche and the Dulce De Leche Cheesecake.

The Arroz con Leche, a dish served warm, is reminiscent of our champorado, except that this one is oozing with creamy and milky goodness. Made from fragrant rice, the dessert is slow cooked with a cinnamon spiced blend, and it has an exceptional taste that doesn’t overwhelm your senses. Chef Cynthia describes this dish as something that reminds her of her childhood, and indeed, we felt like we were comforted and hugged of our own abuela when we ate this dessert.

The Dulce de Leche cheesecake, on the other hand, is more of something that I would love to have with coffee. The creamy cheesecake is laid on a bed of chocolate graham crust and embraced with a thick dulce de leche. The cake melts in every bite and it was all we could ask for to end our meal.

Of course, a latin meal wouldn’t be complete without its refreshing drinks. They have a great selection of beverages, ranging from their thick avocado shakes to their refreshing strawberry caipirinhas.


NAXIONAL SOUTH AMERICAN DINER AT BCG -FACEBOOK PHOTO

Naxional South American Diner

2nd Floor, Uptown Parade, Megaworld Boulevard, 38th Street, Uptown Bonifacio, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

(02) 946 34 19

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NaxionalSouthAmericanDiner/ 

Instagram: @naxionaldiner


SOL JOSE VANZI's PHNO PAGE


Photo from Kyle Victor Jose's iPAD
Lifestyle/Food and Arts & Culture columnist of the Manila Daily Bulletin.
Signature title "Timpla't Tikim" EVERY THURSDAY OF THE WEEK.
http://www.mb.com.ph/lifestyle/


Sol in 1997 Photo: PHNO Editor/Travel & Leisure page
http://www.newsflash.org/staff/solvanzi.htm


Photo of Sol and young Kyle Victor Jose in March 2005 at PHNO/QCNet
office in Levitown, Paranaque. Photoshot by Leo Q. Carolino.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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