It’s all the rage to be talking about Filipino food in Qatar as the Filipino Food Fiesta at Hwang kicked off earlier this month. We already had our appetite worked up talking about “Bringing Gourmet Filipino Food to Doha with Chef Michelle Adrillana.”
For a taste of authentic Filipino dishes, with a gourmet touch, we headed to Hwang at InterContinental Doha The City to try the special a la carte Filipino Food Fiesta menu.
Filipino Food Fiesta at Hwang, Qatar
The Filipino Food Fiesta highlights authentic family-style cooking which you would expect in every Pinoy household. We were told the main differences would of course be the adaptation of the recipes to take into account regional differences, with halal products only. This meant that there would be no pork on the menu, which is a common ingredient in Filipino cuisine. Chef Michelle Adrillana found it to be an interesting challenge to curate and cook authentic Filipino dishes as she had to replicate the fatty flavours using other meats.
We were keen to experience the Filipino Food Fiesta menu at Hwang, and ordered a few dishes off the special menu. The Quail Eggs Kwek-Kwek was a delicious deep-fried quail egg served with a tart vinegar dipping sauce. Whilst the Prawn Sinigang was a rich broth brought to another level due to its underlying flavours of sour and spice. This is a soup to be beaten!
Pansit Guisado is the essential at any Filipino birthday celebration, with the long noodles representing longevity. This is a hearty dish, with comforting carb goodness. The addition of fried chicken skin added a crispy fat element to the dish.
One important thing to note is that an authentic Filipino dish, like any family recipe, is cooked differently in every household. So just as a Qatari family will have their own way of making Machbous, so will every Filipino family have their own way of cooking their dishes such as the Adobo dish.
Adobo is ordinarily cooked using pork or chicken, but this rendition contains only Chicken. Some diners may feel the loss of their usual protein but all the flavours are all in its unique sauce. Somewhat reminiscent of a Lamb curry with extra vinegar this is slow cooked food at its best.
With a lengthy colonial past under Spanish rule the Philippines has an interesting mix of ingredients within its food history. The Chicken Arroz Caldo highlights this juxtaposition with its Spanish risotto style base and Filipino style fried chicken.
The Beef Bulalo was the standout main of the evening – layers of meaty flavour and fat from the beef bone marrow and shank combined together with vegetables into an energy providing slow-cooked dish. If you feel the winter blues coming on early then this is the dish for you!
The Beef Sisig is not for everyone – it’s like Marmite, you’ll either love it, or hate it. With high levels of fat, it has a crunchy texture to it with beef cheeks and brisket cooked down to produce a crispy meaty dish.
The slow cooked stew dish that is Kaldereta is another winner. It’s traditionally prepared with beef, but this version uses lamb to bring another element to the dish. The grated cheese topping is typical for the dish, and provides an authentic touch.
The hydrating Buko Water is the natural water of a young green coconut, and it is served ‘au natural’ in the coconut – easy to replicate at home for those of you who are a little savvy with your kitchen tools.
When it comes to dessert if you haven’t heard of Halo Halo, we pity you; if you haven’t tried it, then get yourself down to Hwang (or to your nearest Filipino colleague) and ask them what all the fuss is about!
A mixed up dessert of various delicious but exotic-sounding ingredients including gulaman jelly, sago, boiled red beans, leche flan, sweet potato, and ube (purple yam) ice cream. The bulk of the ingredients are placed in the bottom of the serving glass, then covered in shaved ice and topped with ice cream and evaporated milk. It’s a sweet dish, but not overpowering and the different textures makes for a dessert that deserves high praise.
This specially curated menu reflects authentic Filipino tastes with a respect for Middle Eastern culture. However, the flavours are not tamed down at all, and Chef Adrillana has done an excellent job with replicating or replacing ingredients to provide an authentic dining experience.
The Filipino Food Fiesta promotion is on until October 25th. All Philippine nationals receive 20% off their meal with proof of ID. For more information and bookings call +974 4015 8888.
Filipino Food Fiesta Menu at Hwang
Qatar Eating was a guest of Hwang.