MANILA, Philippines – Okay, hear me out – laing lasagna works, and we are definitely not laing!
This unique Filipino-Italian hybrid is unheard of, which is exactly why it piqued our interest right away – how can one possibly combine Bicol’s famed gatang gulay dish with Italy’s iconic pasta into one cohesive dish? Will it work? How? Miraculously, Quezon City home-based shop Bhest Lasagna’s intercontinental creation has pas-ta test!
Family-run business Bhest Lasagna took on the challenge back in February 2019, and has since then been serving its “bhest” take on a homemade laing lasagna to customers looking for the distinct tastes of both dishes, married into one creamy, savory, and slightly sweet and spicy dish. Think of it as a sweet, Filipino-style spinach lasagna but instead of spinach, it’s taro leaves stewed in creamy coconut milk.
Who would’ve thought? Well, Bhest Lasagna did.
Lasagna, but make it laing
Laing is one of Bicol’s most famous dishes. Creamy and spicy, it’s got shredded taro leaves cooked in a thick coconut milk or cream, and is typically simmered with chili, garlic, ginger, onions, and sometimes lemongrass and/or bagoong (shrimp paste). Sometimes, meat or seafood is added in.
The idea of a laing lasagna came from the family’s passion for trying new food and experimenting with different flavors. “Laing had always been a family favorite and it was an easy decision for me to combine its flavors to our lasagna as I know it will be a sure hit,” Bhest Lasagna told Rappler.
A sure hit, yes, but was it instant? Not really. The process to create Bhest’s hero product took a lot of trial and error and tedious months of recipe development.
“The consistency of the laing was hard to perfect. It was challenging, as it was my first time to cook laing from scratch. I needed to be consistent with its flavors and to make sure it balances well with the creaminess of the bechamel and the texture of the pasta,” Bhest said.
The beauty of the lasagna comes from its made-from-scratch quality – no element tastes (or is) store-bought or pre-made; everything tastes like an extension of home.
“When launching new products, the idea in mind is to be able to create something that my family will love – meaty, cheesy, and made with love,” Bhest said, pertaining to the first Bhest Lasagna, which they described as “not the traditional lasagna,” made from a family recipe that makes them feel at home.
“This is the same feeling we want our customers to feel. Eating our lasagna is like a warm hug from mom that also makes our soul feel full,” Bhest said.
Only the bhest for the Bhesties
You know that creamy, bechamel cheese sauce on top of a Pinoy baked macaroni? The gloopy, cheesy topping that’s both savory and sweet? That’s what’s on top of Bhest’s laing lasagna, carefully baked until it’s a tad golden brown on top.
Beneath the thick sauce are layers of well-cooked lasagna sheets and equally thick layers of homemade, Bicolana-approved laing that’s not too moist but not dry either; it has a bite to it. It’s rich in gata flavor, with a kick of saltiness from the smoked salmon bits and a tingle of sili spice to combat the creamy topping. The textures of the bechamel sauce, noodles, and laing also vary, which helps reduce any umay factor.
I’d say this would easily be a Pinoy household favorite, especially for special occasions. Even if the concept is a novelty, the tastes you get per forkful are familiar. Don’t forget to eat it hot and fresh!
Bhest’s laing lasagna costs P450 for an XS pan for two; P700 for a small pan for 4-6 people; P950 for a medium pan for 8; and P1,300 for a large pan good for 12 people. The lasagna also works best with garlic bread (P150 for 20 pieces). The crunchy, buttery, and garlicky bread is a good sauce-scooper, especially if you’re ordering an extra side of bechamel sauce (P100), because why not?
All of Bhest’s lasagnas are made to order, so customers must place their orders at least two to three days before delivery day. During the Christmas season, Bhest advises a one-month lead time.
Customers can order from Bhest Lasagna’s Instagram page or via SMS at 09178360160. The pick-up hub is located along West Avenue, Quezon City. – Rappler.com