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No Blue Holidays at the BLU

by Allain Dumon Fonte

The reason why I love to travel is not only because I get to see new places, or experience new adventures; but more so to witness cultures around the world.  And, there is no better way to experience cultures than trying the food that are unique in every destination.  From the Thịt Nướng (grilled pork) that melts in your mouth in Quán Bún Thịt Nướng 163 restaurant in Nha Trang to the world-famous Kjötsupa (traditional lamb meat soup) served in Svangi Mangi restaurant in Reykjavík, nothing can beat the food in Cebu.

Cebu has always been a destination for good food and is fast becoming a destination for food tourism.  This is because there is no such thing as uniquely Cebuano cuisine.  Dining in Cebu feels like globetrotting.  Cebu prides itself with the lechon (roasted suckling pig) and has its origin from Spain; so does arroz caldo, paella, and many more.  While our lumpia (spring rolls) were taught to us by our Chinese ancestors.  Even the famous sinangag (fried rice) is inspired from the Indo-Malay nasi goreng (Fried rice with egg).  The only question left is where can we find all of these sumptuous global food in one place.

One place that may have it all, and has always pleased the Cebuanos’ palate is Radisson Blu’s Feria. The dishes are cooked with traditional ingredients but with innovated recipes to enhance your lunch or dinner experience.  Plus, Feria welcomes her new executive chef, Chef Nick Van Riemsdijk. This culinary master has been an executive chef for more than 30 years, and has impressed food critiques from around the world.  Chef Riemsdijk started in London and has been serving remarkable dishes from Marrakesh to Rio, and even outdone the cooking masters in Bangkok, where he worked before coming to Cebu. His exposure to international cuisines will surely put Radisson Blu as the new capital for dining experience in the Queen City of the South.

Chef Nick Van Riemsdijk

I was treated for a luncheon meeting with Chef Riemsdijk and I believe he has outdone himself this time, as the food have exceeded expectations.  I personally love seafood; however, I try to avoid the mahi-mahi fish.  When it is not cooked properly, or when one over does the marinating of the mahi-mahi, it has a very strong aroma.  However, the seared mahi-mahi fish with lemon butter sauce at Feria is a heaven in my mouth.  The aroma was more of the lemon than the fish, and the texture is just perfect.  Basing from the taste, you can tell that the magic was in the spice rub.  I wanted to ask Chef Riemsdijk what spices did he use, but obviously, it is a trade secret.  The second cuisine I tasted is the grilled pork.  I enjoy grilled pork in Cebu, but Vietnam’s Thịt Nướng is my favourite.  Although, Feria’s grilled pork is not as perfect as the Thịt Nướng in Quán Bún Thịt Nướng 163 restaurant in Nha Trang, it is the closest that has achieved the taste and the tenderness of the meat.  I became suddenly excited after tasting the roasted turkey.  Finding a delicious roasted turkey anywhere in Asia is most difficult because of the type of food being fed to the turkeys in the region.  The main key to a delicious turkey meat is the proper way of raising it.  So far, no restaurant in Asia has competed to how juicy and how savory turkey meats taste in the United States.  The American turkey meat has always been the best; so, I wonder how did Chef Riemsdijk achieved such perfection with his roasted turkey.  He guiltily admits that finding the right ingredients to make the best cuisines is very challenging in Cebu; but, because Feria is very committed to only serve the best, they actually imported the turkey meat from America.  My eyes widened in excitement, and my first question was, “will Radisson Blu make it available all-year-round?”  Sadly, it will not be available all-year-round, but it will surely be available during special occasions and for special orders.  There you go, I know now what to save for in the next holidays, a roasted whole turkey from Radisson Blu’s Feria.

When I asked Chef Riemsdijk what will be new in Feria, he said that he will be striving for a much healthier buffet options. With the onset of plant-based movement in the world, Feria knows when to put vegan options and plant-based food on the table doing a rotation of 25 plant-based dishes having no animal product; thus, giving people more selections towards ethical and healthier dining experience.  As a meat lover, I have doubts of this movement, until Chef Riemsdijk asked if I am enjoying my pizza; and, I readily responded yes and went for a second slice.  Little did I know that it was a plant-based pizza with zero meat.  I even surprised myself for enjoying a zero-meat pizza.

The holiday menu is filled with dishes designed to excite the palate.  From black gnocchi with seafood truffle-tomato sauce and red wine risotto for the pasta to salmon empanada or the green asparagus polenta with sous vide eggplant, everything is carefully done and artistically made to gratify your taste buds.  Moreover, the array of sweet treats to choose from their menu, from the Praline Yule log that obviously destroyed my month’s effort of trying to lose weight to the Chocolate Meringue Mont Blanc Cake that is a signature only of Feria; all of these will make you feel the difference this holiday season.  Chef Riemsdijkv and his kitchen team are surely preparing feast fit for a royal wedding.

My advice is that if you want to enjoy a new world of gastronomic experience with musical entertainment and a magnificent fireworks display, do it at the Radisson Blu.  You will not only feel the new year kicking, you will surely dine like a king, or queen, because there are no blue holidays at the BLU.

Eats

East Gate Shoppes: Your Rare Slice of Retail Haven

The East Gate Shoppes is all about location, innovation, and solid heritage. As the retail component of East Gate, a micro township development, you can experience life to the fullest here: luxurious living spaces, prime address, retail therapy, the dynamic lifestyle from surrounding you. You can play and find your heart’s delights here.

It offers commercial spaces in various sizes and options for forward-thinking businesses. You’re assured that your enterprise stands out in one of the city’s leading residential and business hotspots in Cebu City.

East Gate Shoppes showcases your enterprise to a sizable clientele—from the property’s condominium unit owners, future employees of BPO and corporate offices of the township, as well as the passers-by of Cardinal Rosales Avenue and Pope John Paul II coming from Cebu Business Park and surrounding districts.

On Level 2, The Kitchens at East Gate is cooking up a storm of new ideas. These are commercial kitchens for rent which are optimized for delivery service and will cost less to operate than a traditional restaurant setup. A driver’s lounge and exclusive parking space are set aside for delivery drivers in order to smoothen the process. This is the first of its kind and scale in Cebu City. And, should a tenant wish to eventually add some seating to their space, there are select units that can be converted to accommodate diners looking for a quick bite.

East Gate Shoppes combines a mix of retail spaces and innovative concepts to cater to any business need. East Gate Shoppes is a result of decades worth of expertise in retail as its developer Taft Properties, under VICSAL Development Corporation, is behind the successful Metro chain of stores.

East Gate is a complete lifestyle destination. Truly Have It All! To know more, contact East Gate at +63 931 783 6387 or visit their Facebook page.

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Eats

Delectable Oriental Cuisine Awaits You at EZ Eats

Tucked in a cozy corner along F. Ramos St., this charming neighborhood restaurant admits you to a clean, modern interior and its selected array of authentic Chinese dishes. 

by RYAN DANIEL R. DABLO photography STEFFEN BILLHARDT

The restaurant’s façade opens up onto F. Ramos Street.

A brainchild of proprietor Paul and chef KK Chan, EZ Eats makes no compromise when it comes to food: they only serve the best ingredients. Taking inspiration from Chinese and Hong Kong flavor profiles, the menu boasts of top-of-the-line roasted meat done in the traditional style. The result? A menu that is exciting yet brimming with nostalgia. 

EZ Eats’ specialty, Char Siu, a flavorful Cantonese pork dish.

EZ Eats will surely satisfy your Hongkong Roast Duck cravings

Well-traveled connoisseurs with discerning palates and enterprising foodies-to-be who are still shy about tasting new flavors will find lots to like in the EZ Eats menu. Absolute add-ons to your sampler include their Char Siu (this savory-sweet all-star ticks all the right boxes), Crispy Skin Pork Belly (locals will feel right at home digging into this), Salt and Pepper Squid (totally non-negotiable, just get this crisp, golden plate of calamari), and Bailing Mushrooms with Taiwan Pechay (earthy, creamy vegetarian goodness). Paul handpicked these dishes himself, and for good reason. By the end, our plates were sparkling clean. 

Crispy Skin Pork Belly

Salt and Pepper Squid

The personable proprietor’s love for the craft of food-making translates well into the dishes on offer. Each item on the menu has history and tradition under its belt. And, despite fluctuations in the business landscape these past few years, EZ Eats holds true to their mission of providing freshly sourced ingredients served as authentic Chinese comfort food. The menu might not be long, but customers are guaranteed a good dining experience to fill their cravings.

Sturdy wood, abstract paintings, and modern sensibility highlight the restaurant’s interior.

 

Open: Tuesday-Sunday

Tel. No. (032) 326.6027

Mobile No. (+63) 917.318.8383

Address: 80 F. Ramos St., Brgy. Santa Cruz, Cebu City

Facebook: /EZEatsCebu

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Eats

Ayame Seaside Tales is Your Newest Favorite Japanese Dining Destination in the South

Ayame Seaside Tales, the newest Japanese restaurant in Cebu City at IL Corso is hitting as one of the leading culinary destinations with its top sellers such as Agedashi Tofu, deep fried bean curd in umami sauce. For salad lovers, a must try is Lomi Salmon Salad with its delicate flavour of marinade salmon.

Maki Sushi is Japanese food staple, at Ayame, one of its front runners is Salmon Sashimi which just melts in one’s mouth being the prime cut of salmon in a sashimi. 

Talking about food innovation, Ayame’s Cebu Maki shines in its freshness of an idea using Cebu’s own mango fruit with salmon and fresh lime rice roll. It is as delicious as its Salmon Mariowase of assorted salmon sampler set and certainly the popular Unagi Sushi grilled from the famous Japanese freshwater eel.  

For noodle lovers, Ayame’s Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen in rich and creamy sauce with pork broth served with thin slices of Chashu pork belly is a winner. 

Angus Beef Gyoza, pan fried beef dumplings are worth the trip at Ayame. Along with Ebi Tempura of crunchy shrimps and Katsu Don made from Japanese pork chops served with sunny side eggs and rice. Yummy! 

Bento boxes are musts specially Ayame’s own version with California Maki Temzaru Soba Set. And why not the Yaki Meshi Platter of Japanese fried rice platter to share with friends? It is a meal by itself!

 

Visit them soon at IL Corso LifeMalls by Filinvest, City di Mare South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City. The landmark is the towering lighthouse and water pond called Icanali. For reservations and deliveries call (0991) 452 5888.

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