IN PHOTOS: Beautiful Pinoy dishes at APEC 2015 welcome dinner
IN PHOTOS: Beautiful Pinoy dishes at APEC 2015 welcome dinner
Dishes include a fabulous beef entree, a 'yamang dagat tinola,' and a modern take on the classic maja blanca

MANILA, Philippines – Guests at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit welcome dinner Wednesday night, November 18, were not only treated to a spectacular show from top Filipino talents – they were also served beautiful dishes featuring ingredients from all over the country. 

The menu was conceptualized by Via Mare founder Glenda Barretto and chef and restaurateur Margarita “Gaita” Fores. Dishes include a fabulous beef entree, “bistek manilenya,” “yamang dagat tinola,” and a modern take on a classic dessert, the beloved maja blanca.  

One meaningful fun fact: Glenda actually catered for the APEC 1996 meetings in Subic. In a press release, she said that 4 of her head waiters in the November 18 dinner had served as butlers for the 1996 economic leaders almost 20 years ago. 

On her collaboration with Glenda, Gaita said: “Tita Glenda has always been the master, premier in presenting our cuisine to a global stage. Combining the two of us…speaks of two different eras, but then we’re delivering one big message about what’s great about our country.”

Ingredients were sourced from all over the country in order to showcase the many diverse flavors the country has to offer. One entree, for example, features pink heirloom rice from the Cordilleras, and ubod cooked with Davao blue cheese.

Let’s take a look at some of the dishes: 

Ensalada Tagala 

Ensalada Tagala

As they were creating the menu, Glenda and Gaita said they wanted to highlight the wide variety of beautiful ingredients and food available in the Philippines. “All these…microgreens and herbs that we’ve taken for granted, that we thought were just weeds in the garden, are things that very important restaurants abroad have highlighted,” said Gaita.  

“It’s great that we realize now that all these [local ingredients]…are actually quite unique for [foreigners], things that they don’t have in their parts of the world.”

The photo above shows the Ensalada Tagala, one of the dishes served at the welcome dinner. 

Inasal na apahap 


Bistek Manilenya 

Photo courtesy of the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson


The beef was meticulously cooked through the sous-vide method. “We’re all secure that the 700 guests [got] a wonderful, juicy, tender piece of meat that evening,” said Gaita. 

Yamang dagat tinola


The dishes served are very Filipino, but prepared with a modern twist. For this seafood soup, lapu-lapu meat and prawns were ground then prepared into quenelles or small portions of seasoned meat: “That way, even if we reheat it, the texture is still [the same], and the taste is really tinola,” said Glenda.  

Maja blanca moderna

Maja blanca moderna

The beloved dessert was presented at the dinner with a smoked coconut merengue and lambanog-poached mango.

What do you think of the dishes served at the APEC 2015 welcome dinner? Let us know in the comments below. –

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