Epicurean Expedition: A Cross-Cultural Tasting Menu Of Filipino-Latin American Cuisine

Who knew Filipino and Latin American would be the perfect combo?

Alegria Manila has transcended its roots as Manila’s first sangria bar into the melting pot known today as Grupo Alegria, Inc.

This food and beverage management group ventures into the territory of fiestas and so-called comida deliciosas (delicious food) to customers seeking a modern fusion of Asian, European, and Latin flavors.

Alas, it has reopened in Taguig’s Uptown Parade with “Transcultural,” a cross-cultural tasting menu featuring Filipino and Latin American cuisine.

Spice of life

Alegria’s menu primarily draws inspiration from Latin cuisine. It then mixes in a dash of modern Asian flavors while applying traditional European techniques.

It balances these global influences with the goal of using “undeniably local” flavor and texture.

“We’re not even going to try doing traditional Latin food. Because you can’t get the same ingredients they use,” executive chef Charles Montañez said.

Thus, their kitchen reimagines local ingredients and introduces new ways of appreciating these. The brand even partners with local farmers and suppliers to ensure both the freshest ingredients and a sustainable local food community.

For instance, they source baby corn grown and harvested weekly in Ambiong, La Trinidad. They then cook this over wood fire for their take on Elote.

Meanwhile, Alegria’s Okoy Tostada is made out of “Kalkag,” a toasted dried baby shrimp native to Iloilo. This dish also incorporates flax seeds and pumpkin seeds for that earthy crunch, as well as local crab meat dressed in smoked mussel cremè, coal-cooked squash, and carrots with a mist of sinamak vinaigrette.

“What we’re doing here is get the soul of the dishes and present them using our own style of cooking that fits the Filipino palate,” Montañez said.

Room for all

Alegria Manila in particular is intentional with its murals and a bar to create its welcoming ambiance and lively atmosphere. Its interiors fittingly reflect the brand’s name, Alegria, derived from the Portuguese word for “joy” or “happiness.”

Along with the group’s other concepts, Alegria shares qualities such as vibrance, lightness, and joy.

Likewise, its menu looks simple yet developed, complex yet inclusive, and elevated yet grounded. Through familiar flavors and textures, it heightens the experience of visitors through an effortless flex of the culinary imagination.

This is why just five years since Grupo Alegria, Inc. established its first restaurant concept in Bonifacio Global City, it has already amassed enough success to expand in the metro. Not to mention, it has plans on conquering the international scene, with Singapore first in its sights.

Alegria Manila is located at GF Uptown Parade 9th Ave 38th St, Fort Bonifacio.

Banner Photo by Alegria Manila.

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