Cheers! 'Inuman at Pulutan' in New York City
NEW YORK CITY, USA - The wind chill factor in Manhattan made the 27 degree Fahrenheit weather feel a lot colder. But hundreds of food lovers and supporters did not mind once they entered the Altman Building on 18th Street for some inuman at pulutan, Big Apple style. Inuman and pulutan literally means "drinks and finger foods" in English, but it's also more of the experience of chatting and socializing in a relaxed, booze-filled haze. The food, nonetheless, was the star of the night.
From ube, mango and calamansi cheesecakes from BiteMe Cheesecakes baked by Flint, Michigan natives Tyreece Johnson and Justice Hall, to crispy braised pork shank with calamansi amaponsu prepared by Nobu chef de cuisine Ricky Estrelllado, the third annual event did not disappoint.
The Nobu pork dish is one of the restaurant's specials for the season according to Estrellado who has been with Nobu since it opened in New York City in 1994.
"This is the first time we are allowed to use pork in the restaurant," Estrellado said. "But I use Filipino ingredients in many of our dishes."
And it would not be inuman at pulutan without drinks like the Calamansi Collins, a citrusy concoction made of gin, some calamansi juice and calamansi honey.
"How could you not be happy?" Philippine Consul General Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr. said of the turnout, which has grown since the first one held in 2012 at the Philippine Consulate in New York.
Even then, the response was overwhelming, said Michelle Sanchez, Special Trade Representative.
Sanchez said it began as an idea among friends, including King Phojanakong, owner of Kuma Inn in Manhattan and Umi Nom in Brooklyn, when they were talking about Filipino food.
It soon turned into a collaborative effort with the New York Philippine Consulate, the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce, the New York Philippine Trade and Investment Center and the Department of Tourism.
"We really got some great support from the chefs and restaurants," Sanchez said. "I think because everyone is really curious about Filipino food."
"We wanted to get the word out, especially to non-Filipinos, about how diverse and good Filipino food really is," King said.
On Thursday night, King showcased a dish based on what's on the menu in his Brooklyn restaurant: pork belly adobo tacos. But he said he added something "more Filipino," which was pinakbet salsa.
"I wanted to put two classic Filipino dishes together."
The other chefs from Annisa, Marea, Lumpia Shack, The Spotted Pig and Ugly Kitchen also presented modern versions of Filipino dishes for some pulutan.
King is considered a veteran in a room full of relatively new Filipino American restaurant owners, including Nicole Ponseca, Enzo Lim and Noel Cruz, owners of Maharlika and Jeepney restaurants, both located in Manhattan's Lower East Side.
King's Kuma Inn opened in 2003 and Umi Nom in 2009. King has been featured in a number of cooking shows and other television programs, and was also invited to the White House to join First Lady Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move to Schools anti-obesity campaign in 2010.
King said if it is based on the number of people who came out for Inuman at Pulutan, then it was "mission accomplished."
"But something still has to happen," King said. "We are the second largest Asian group here and I still hear some customers say they never tasted Filipino food before."
"I think for people to know the food, they need know about the country as well."
King said he is working on a project to take some American chefs to the Philippines soon. But for now, he is promoting one of a kind Filipino dishes one pulutan at a time. – Rappler.com