Enjoying the Heritage Cuisine at the Taal Vista Hotel, Tagaytay City

For someone who loves to eat like me, I find enjoyment in trying different cuisines from all over the world. However, there are just days that I want to keep it simple and would go for my comfort dishes. These are the dishes that I grew up with, the kind that would give me that warm, fuzzy feeling inside..the kind that reminds me of HOME.

I've mentioned before that growing up, our family dishes predominantly evolve around the Chinese cuisine but if you ask me what are my favorite comfort dishes, I would tell you it's a plate of garlicky, oily pork and chicken adobo that our talented cook would prepare and I would always have this with a cup of rice..or even more. I love how well the meat soaks up the flavor brought by the spices included in this dish. If there's one dish that would quickly remind me of home, it would definitely be this.

Given that we have 7,107 islands in the Philippines, expect that we have just as much variety in terms of food and flavor too. I'll never forget having an impromptu Ilocos empanada party at the sidewalk near Crisologo street in Vigan, Ilocos Sur and later on the party continues in Laoag, Ilocos Norte where we tried to differentiate the two empanadas. I also enjoy stuffing myself silly with native Kapampangan dishes and luckily I can do this regularly every time we visit Paul's hometown in Pampanga. Every time I fly to the Visayas region, I make sure to leave the word D-I-E-T behind. From the sinfully sweet treats in Bacolod to the succulent Cebu Lechon and crispy Dangit to the delicious Managat in Ilo-Ilo that I constantly dream of for years now. I have yet to visit Mindanao but I'm hoping I'll be able to explore that part of our country soon.

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Over dinner during our stay at Taal Vista Hotel, we were able to have a preview of their upcoming new dishes called the Heritage Cuisine. These were all prepared by Executive Chef Babes Austria who used to cook for the former President of the country. She has prepared age-old dishes that has been around for decades, these recipes have been passed on from one generation to another.

Allow me to share with you the dishes that we feasted on that evening:

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Adobo sa Tubo ni Tatang
This dish is dedicated to Taal Vista Hotel's owner Mr Henry Sy, Sr who loves adobo. This dish makes use of sugarcane and coffee in creating this delicious and garlicky dish that I truly enjoyed.

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A flavorful dish that's made of dulong and prawns wrapped in fresh Taro leaves and cooked in young coconut milk.

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Maliputo sa Miso
Maliputo is a type of fish only found in the Taal Lake.

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Nilagang Pata sa Baboy sa Native Mais, Gabi at Sitaw
Pork knuckle simmered in a thick broth with native corn, taro and long beans. I wasn't able to try this as I can't have anything with corn. Paul said it was very rich and the pork knuckle a tad too fatty for his taste.

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Sinantulang Organic Roast Chicken
I love anything with santol as it gives a sweet, fruity taste to your regular roast chicken. This one was yummy!

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Ensaladang Pako with Itlog na Maalat and Calamansi Vinaigrette
I first taste pako (wild fern) in Angeles, Pampanga and I love it ever since. I love the crunchy, refreshing taste that makes for a great starter to any Filipino meal. The sad thing is it's so hard to find a restaurant selling pako here in Manila thus I was so happy they have it here at Taal Vista Hotel too!

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Binusang Kanin sa Balaksila
This was an instant winner among us diners that evening.
We also had the Pinipig Rice which was cooked in coconut juice, it tasted like the Malaysian Nasi Lemak rice with an interesting crunch brought by the toasted pinipig mixed into it.

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I couldn't take in another bite after most of these dishes (and even having seconds and thirds of the adobo). However, we still have dessert and I know and I just have to have dessert! So I chose carefully and tried the Caramelized Baklang Saba after hearing non-stop raves from fellow blogger Richard. Baklang Saba is a cross between two types of banana -- Latundan and Saba. It was very soft and the sauce sweet reminding me of our favorite caramelized banana cue that we would have for afternoon merienda (snack) at home.

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I also tried the Pumpkin Leche Flan which gave a creamier texture to the traditional leche flan (custard flan)

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Should you be interested to try these dishes, the good news is they are now part of the daily buffet at Cafe on the Ridge and will be part of the menu from now on. Hooray!

*photo credit: Paul Ang

Visit Cafe on the Ridge at the Ground Floor of Taal Vista Hotel, Km 60, Agunaldo Highway, Tagaytay City. Like them on Facebook too!

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