FoodFindsAsia | PH Team Wows Foodies at Ubud Food Festival 2022: Mama Sita’s BBQ and Adobo showcased by Pinoy delegates in Bali, Indonesia | June 24-26, 2022, BALI, INDONESIA – Filipino-style barbecue and adobo caught the spotlight at the Ubud Food Festival, in which foodies came together to converse and appreciate heritage food.
The Ubud Food Festival, founded in 2015, made a comeback this year by building on the “Heroes” theme initially intended for the postponed 2020 festival. A celebration of Indonesia’s diverse cuisine, the Ubud Food Festival is a three-day cross-cultural culinary adventure filled with masterclasses, food demonstrations, talks, food tours, film screenings, and other exciting events.
Philippine delegates to the fest were Ige Ramos, a food history writer who traces the foundations of adobo and barbecue; Kalel Demetrio, a mixologist who revives Philippine ingredients through his cocktails; Bea Crisostomo, an entrepreneur who runs a zero-waste retail outlet supporting Philippine crops and products; Celina Agaton, a foodie who reinvigorates remote communities; and Jed Doble, a food writer and publishing professional, based in Jakarta.
Adobo and BBQ connection
For the talk on Filipino Food Fighters and the cooking demo An Array of Adobo, Ramos highlighted Filipino chicken barbecue. In the Philippines, barbecue was a street food, often enjoyed in the leisurely hours (paseo) as an early evening snack. It became a dinner or lunch meal when the Aristocrat Restaurant, which was put up in 1928*, presented chicken barbecue as a complete meal.
The Aristocrat, owned by Engracia Reyes and run by her family, served chicken barbecue (similar to the Indonesian sate ayam), with java sauce (kecap manis), java rice (nasi kuning tumpuk), and the pickled papaya atchara (acar). Engracia’s daughter, Teresita or “Mama Sita,” went on to create Mama Sita’s Barbecue Marinade, which was a game changer as it made the street-style barbecue something one can cook easily at home. A discussion on adobo followed, with insights on its foundations. Ramos, who authored and published the food history and cookbooks entitled Republic of Taste: The Untold Stories of Cavite Cuisine and Appetite for Freedom: The Recipes of Maria Y. Orosa with Essays on Her Life and Work, honored food technologist and war hero Maria Y. Orosa by sharing her recipe and mentioned variations of the popular dish as cooked in the Cavite, Taal, and Batangas provinces. More conversations with the participants ensued over small servings of three types of adobo: classic chicken adobo, adobo sa dilaw (with turmeric), pork adobo with Mama Sita Java Sauce (similar to the Balinese Babi Kecap) and atchara of green papaya.
The Ubud Food Festival 2022 proved that Southeast Asian culinary culture has a lot to offer. Mama Sita’s participation in it not only pushed forward the brand’s advocacy to put Philippine culinary heritage in the spotlight, but also supported local industries, sustainability efforts, and the upliftment of agricultural communities. It is in line with what Mama Sita Foundation’s Mga Kuwentong Pagkain has been doing: creating ways to enrich conversations on food heritage, in effect giving opportunities for making Filipino lives better.
In the festival, food lovers from different parts of the world were all brought together, whether their profession was in the food industry, business, the arts, or agriculture. Amidst the conversation on flavor and food, an appreciation for one’s heritage—and that of other cultures—prevailed. After all, where would Filipino food be today without the history, economy, culture, and connections that formed and nourished its foodways?