Kaon Na Ta! with Chef Tibong's Delectable Western Visayas Feast

Chef Rafael Jardeleza, Jr., or Chef Tibong, is a staunch advocate of heritage cuisine, creates a delectable feast of Western Visayas dishes at the famed Cafe Ilang Ilang at The Manila Hotel. This is for the whole month of August 2023, and available for lunch and dinner. 

Western Visayas is home to the freshest catch of marine delicacies so one can expect mouthwatering seafood dishes that will surely whet one's appetite. Of course, Chef Tibong also highlights heirloom dishes and los postres. 

Lobster salad with mangoes. This is succulent lobster meat tossed with sweet Guimaras mangoes. A serving of this is a perfect way to begin one's meal. 

Chicken Galantina. I heard that this is from Chef Tibong's secretly guarded family recipe that is handed down from generation to generation. And now I know why! Almost creamy in its smoothness, and packed with savory flavors, this is perfect with a glass of white wine. 

One can feast on these gastronomic creations by Chef Tibong from August 1-31, 2023 at The Manila Hotel's Cafe Ilang Ilang. And one can dine and savor the dishes every day because Chef Tibong promises that the featured Western Visayas dishes will be served by rotation. 

Another popular mains is the Cochinillo a la Cerveza Negra. And you can't say no to cochinillo!

Kinilaw na Pasayan. Fresh shrimp ceviche, super delish! I love its refreshing vinaigrette and the mild taste of chilis. 

Callos made with tender tripe, and olives. Another winner in my book. This is a very appetizing dish one would only feast on when there's a special celebration. 

Pusô, or rice cooked in palm leaves and infused with tuba. My dining companions said that this is dessert-like similar to kalamay kakanin. But for me, this is more like a savory rice and I find it perfect with a serving of lengua. Really, Chef Tibong is a kitchen wizard!  

There's also Batchoy, a delicious noodle soup with different meat slices and chicharon for that added crunch. And if you're a food adventurer, you can ask for a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and top it with batchoy minus the broth. I'll leave the taste to your imagination. 

Iba Tart. I almost forgot that kamias is called 'Iba' in the Visayas, whereas there's actually an Iba or gooseberry in Luzon. Chef Tibong's Iba Tart is kamias and this square tarts are so good, chewy with just the right amount of tartness. Quite addicting, too! 

Guava Cake. Now this is what I had first. No kidding, I skipped the mains for this. And it didn't disappoint! I can taste the pink guava flavors under the layers of fluffy chiffon cake. It would be nice to pair this with coffee to balance out the sweetness. 

I lost count of the other dishes that Chef Tibong and his team prepared so I just posted my favorites. And it was indeed a gastronomic journey to the Western Visayas. Chef Tibong presented the dishes not just to fill the tummy but to introduce some forgotten ingredients and family stories. 

And to quote Chef Tibong- "Kaon na ta!" at Cafe Ilang Ilang from August 1-31, 2023 and feast on Western Visayas dishes.