Kanteen: An Ilonggo Food Adventure in the Heart of the City

4 years ago

What is Ilonggo cuisine? Scouring the internet for answers yielded little. Questions to Iloilo natives spawned a list of signature dishes, but not much more. Directing the inquiry to the inhabitants of Manila proved even more impenetrable.

It seemed curious that defining the traits of Ilonggo food proved so troublesome. What techniques or use of ingredients set its food apart? Was the symbolic and ritual value of food and eating different from that of other regions? All I could gather of Ilonggo food was that it alone is worth traveling for, that it is a patrimonial gem, and that inasal and batchoy are its most renowned exports.

Lured by the inviting glow of its interior and the promise of authentic Ilonggo home cooking, we eagerly stepped inside Kanteen. Enter Rommel Hinlo, co-owner and head chef, who cast an illuminating perspective on the topic I had been grappling with.


Read more about Kanteen in Appetite magazine’s August 2014 issue!

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