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Family & Balikbayan Escape

Food Trip with Amy Besa


WHEN INTERNATIONALLY-ACCLAIMED COOKBOOK writer and editor Amy Besa was looking for a homebase in Laguna to conduct her research on native kakanin, she came to Casa San Pablo. It was a dream come true for us at Casa San Pablo because we are avid fans of her award-winning cookbook "Memories of Philippine Kitchens" and we share the common goal of preserving our Filipino heritage ingredients and dishes. It was such a privilege to see her at work. What we learned from her is not so much culinary content but the disposition of a culinary writer. She was curious, inquisitive, and constantly probing. We were in awe as we watched her interview our native kusineras, she took childlike delight in their stories and gave them the spotlight so that they could come to realize for themselves the richness of their cooking traditions.

Casa San Pablo lined up eight different kakanin recipes prepared by Aling Lina, a native kusinera who lives on the shores of Lake Pandin. She prepared pinaltok na saba, pinaltok na kamote, palitaw na may sabaw, sinukmaneng kamote, kamoteng suman, palipit, and putong alsa. The preparation of these native delicacies were demonstrated in Casa San Pablo's native kitchen stations which are used for our native cooking classes. Amy was joined by the Kawali Kings, a group of students and graduates of Enderun who are committed to documenting Filipino dishes. They were also joined by filmmaker and chef Jay Ignacio, who is making a documentary on the evolution of Filipino cuisine.

On the second day of their visit, Amy Besa and the rest of the crew went to Lake Pandin where they took a raft across the lake and tasted the ginataang hipon and pinaete served to them by the bangkeras of Lake Pandin. 

At the end of her Casa San Pablo food tour, Amy Besa said: "Thanks again for all the exciting discoveries about our food and culture. Made me feel closer to our Southeast Asian neighbors and discover our common culinary roots with them."

Casa San Pablo runs food tours within San Pablo City and native cooking classes at the inn. For interested groups, simply call 0917-8126687 or email