TOKYO (Apr. 15) — In an event organized with the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Philippine Embassy opened the Philippine Food Festival 2009 at the Hilton Tokyo in Shinjuku on April 13.
The 10-day event, which started with a sit-down buffet dinner featuring the culinary talents of Chef Myrna Segismundo, was attended by Filipino and Japanese VIPs.
Chef Segismundo is the managing director of Restaurant 9501, the executive corporate dining restaurant of the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation. She has had extensive experience both in the Philippines and overseas.
She is also one of the participating chefs of Kulinarya: A Guide to Philippine Cooking, a book published by the Asia Society and the DOT to promote Philippine cuisine in connection with its Kulinarya Filipina program.
Visitors to the Festival were treated to a wide array of Filipino food, including staples such as Lechon Kawali,
Chicken Adobo, and Beef Pochero, and ingenious variations or creations like Seafood Kinilaw with Green Mango Vinaigrette and Adobo Pâté Canapés.
Chef Segismundo said the Philippine Food Festival, which also received support from the ASEAN-Japan Centre, was one of the first events based on the Kulinarya book project. Also joining Chef Segismundo in impressing food fans in Tokyo were Chefs Gilda Sandique and Miguel Yadao.
In his speech at the opening ceremony at the Hilton’s Marble Lounge, Ambassador Domingo L. Siazon, Jr. said that one can learn a bit about Philippine history through Filipino cuisine – a mixture of Malay, Chinese, Spanish and American influences.
The Festival would hopefully introduce many Japanese and other international visitors to the various and unique dishes enjoyed by Filipinos. In addition, the Ambassador expressed hope that the interest in Filipino food would translate into interest in other aspects of Filipino culture, including music and art, as well as promote culinary tourism to the country.
Ambassador Siazon thanked the DOT Tokyo Office for being instrumental in organizing this year’s Food Festival, the last one of which was held in July 2006 during the 50th anniversary of Philippine-Japan diplomatic relations.
To further complement the Filipino ambience of the event, Japan-based Filipino music group Serenata serenaded the guests, which included Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera and DFA Undersecretary for Policy Enrique Manalo, with kundiman and other traditional Filipino songs.
The Food Festival, which moved to the Hilton’s Checkers Restaurant from the 14th of March, enjoyed an impressive turnout from the Japanese, Filipino and the wider international community in Tokyo until its closing on April 22.