5 Most Awesome Corn Creations! @MadridFusionManila (Day 3)

by Kris Landrito


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The regional lunches of Madrid Fusion Manila 2017 ended with the theme of “corn.” Various kinds of corn in all colors, textures, and sizes were used in different types of food–from juices and desserts to hot meals.

It’s only fitting that corn was the crop of choice for the last day because of how important corn is to Filipinos. It’s the second most important crop in the Philippines next to rice, with 1 out of 5 Filipinos having it as their staple food. It was exciting to see and taste how a simple crop, that is often fed to animals as well, was turned into gastronomic delights at the hands of talented chefs.

Madrid Fusion 2017 Series:
@MadridFusionManila 2017: A Gastronomical Roadmap to Sustainability! (Photo Essay Recap)
• 10 Most Awesome Heirloom Rice Creations! @MadridFusionManila (Day 1) 
• 10 Most Awesome “Nose-to-Tail” Creations! @MadridFusionManila (Day 2)
• 5 Most Awesome Corn Creations! @MadridFusionManila (Day 3)


Here are our Top 5 favorites from Day 3 of Madrid Fusion Manila’s Regional Lunch curated by Alicia Colby Sy… 

1. Braised Goat Kaldereta, Fresh Corn Polenta, Gremolata by Alec Santos of The Belle and Dragon and 2nd’s Restaurant


No dish on that day compared to this dish by Alec Santos. On top is a perfectly seasoned goat kaldereta reminiscent of my late uncle’s recipe that he would only serve during family reunions. Underneath the kaldereta, however, is where the magic lies.


The fresh corn polenta was so creamy and rich with corn flavors, we had to ask why we don’t eat corn made like this more often. This dish was a clear winner because Alec Santos was able to find the perfect balance of elevating the kaldereta into a sophisticated dish while maintaining qualities that make it feel like home.


2. Pili-rubbed Pork Rib on Steamed Corn and Coconut Rice, Pomelo Sambal, Wansoy Gremolata, and Fried Coconut by Tina Legarda of Bamba Bistro


Tina Legarda outdid herself with the amazing dishes that she presented on that day. Her Tindahan ni Maria salad was an ode to everyday ingredients that could be found in the average Filipino household.


One bite immediately transported us to our childhood when snacks like sweet corn reigned supreme. This dish was such a delight to consume because every bite was full of flavor and memories–from the bitter notes reminiscent of the ampalaya we were all forced to eat when we were younger, all the way to the crunchy porky chicharon (deep fried pork rind) our dads would bring home as pasalubong.


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However, the real star was her pili-rubbed pork rib on steamed corn and coconut rice. The tender pork was braised and marinated in pili and rum with garlic sauce and brown sugar to give every juicy bite a burst of flavors. Dipped in the gremolata and taken with the corn coconut rice, this dish was something our entire team loved. The balance of the meaty flavors with the creamy coconut corn rice, eaten with our hands, was the perfect Filipino experience. All that was missing was the beach.


3. Maja Lila with Salted Quail Egg Yolk by Claude Tayag of Bale Dutung


I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to steal the whole bilao of this dish. At first bite, I honestly thought the dish was ordinary but I guess my palate just needed time because from the second bite onward, the maja lila kept getting better and better. It was a dish that was so simple yet tasted so complex. The maja itself had a perfect consistency. Complemented by the silky and calorie-laden quail egg yolk, this dish had such a luxurious mouthfeel. I will forever hold all majas to the standard of this sweet-salty dish by Claude Tayag.


4. Purple Corn Ukoy, Seared Bagaybay, and Chorizo Cream by Gaita Fores of Grace Park of Alta, Lusso, and Cibo


Purple corn was used by several of the participants for the long lunch but no one used it as flavorfully as Gaita Fores with the purple corn ukoy. Topped with a tender and expertly seasoned bagaybay (tuna sperm sac) and chorizo cream with chorizo shavings, this dish was a perfect balance of textures.

The ukoy and the bagaybay both provided an excellent bite while the creaminess and salty-umami flavor of the chorizo cream was a nice complement to the dish.


5. Corn Soft Serve Ice Cream by Miguel Vargas and Justin Golangco of Bucky’s


I don’t know what it is with corn but almost every dish on the third day transported me back to my childhood, Bucky’s most especially. With the flavor of the corn soft serve ice cream reminiscent to the dirty ice cream carts that would go around our village, this dessert was a great throwback dish. The crunchiness of the crushed ice cream cone and corn flakes really went well with the thick and creamy consistency of the ice cream.

What made this dish amazing, however, was the brown butter polvoron that transformed the dish from simple dessert to a party of flavors in the mouth. The somewhat smokey quality of the polvoron with the creamy corn consistency brought the dish of my childhood to another level.


Alas, Madrid Fusion Manila 2017 has come to a close! We can’t wait to see what next year has in store for us. In the meantime, keep supporting our local chefs and their quest for sustainable cuisine.


Madrid Fusion 2017 Series:
@MadridFusionManila 2017: A Gastronomical Roadmap to Sustainability! (Photo Essay Recap)
• 10 Most Awesome Heirloom Rice Creations! @MadridFusionManila (Day 1) 
• 10 Most Awesome “Nose-to-Tail” Creations! @MadridFusionManila (Day 2)
• 5 Most Awesome Corn Creations! @MadridFusionManila (Day 3) 


Live an Awesome Life,



Disclosure: Day 3 of Madrid Fusion Manila Regional Lunch was sponsored by the Department of Agriculture and was curated by Alicia Colby Sy. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.  

P.S. We loved the wide selection of cheeses presented by Malagos Farm House. Paired with the drinks from Destileria Limtuaco, it was a happy lunch for all of us. 


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