Heirloom dishes at Feria

Chef Deofrey and Chef Coke

RADISSON Blu Cebu‘s Feria pays tribute to the heirloom dishes of Doña Maria Fadullon de Rallos or “Nyora Inday,” the most prominent woman leader in Cebu City at the start of the century.

Born in 1862, she acquired her education from private tutors, her gender preventing her from pursuing higher education.

She was married to a very wealthy man, Don Florentino Rallos, who once served as mayor of the city.

Nyora Inday was ahead of her time, was patriotic, civic-minded, business oriented and took interest in women’s education and self-development.

She authored books in hygiene and etiquette and wrote “Lagda sa Panluto” in 1924, a compilation of Cebuano cooking from foreign to local, elaborate to the most humble fare.

Arroz Valencia

Two promising Filipino chefs of the hotel—Chef de Cuisine Deoffrey Visatal who hails from Tanauan, Batangas, and Junior Executive Sous Chef Coke Semblante from Mandaue, Cebu—recreated some of the recipes from an old recipe book whose yellowed and fragile pages has been put for safekeeping in the hands of the Cebu City museum.

The appetizer, foreign-influenced Gellatina na Manok, is an aspic dish where chicken meat with sticks of carrots were molded in gelatin, then to protect from air, giving meat more flavor.

I had several slices, before turning on to the golden Empanada stuffed with pork, peas, boiled eggs.

This Spanish-influenced pastry was classic goodness.

The Atchara na Mangga (pickled green mango) reminded me of “burong manga” of my childhood days, neutralizing the savory taste of the appetizers.

The soup, Sopas na Punaw, is short-neck clams sautéed in garlic, onion and ginger and clam soup stock is added. Back home in Manila, we call this Suam na Halaan.

The main courses were familiar dishes with the touch of Nyora Inday.

The popular Arroz Valenciana used regular white rice (bugas puti), fresh crushed tomatoes and achuete or annatto seeds to impart the orange color and distinct flavor.

Chicken and pork meats; shrimp and squid and Spanish chorizo completed the festive dish.


Humba is a common dish on Cebuano tables.

Similar to Adobo, Humba keeps the meat longer due to the use of vinegar.

Humba from the Chinese “Hong Baq” meaning saucy meat, have several versions from different regions.

In Batangas, Tahure or fermented soy bean cake (tokwa) is used instead of salted black beans (tausi).

The classic Kare-Kare from Pampanga, a stew with thick peanut sauce using ox tail and calves feet was served but without the “Bagoong”.

Chef Deoffrey rushed to the kitchen to get the “Bagoong” for me.

Sapsoy from the Chinese dish Chop Suey, is a stir fried dish of chicken, pork, mushrooms and chorizo Macau, without the vegetables.

There was Pancit Binukid, sotanghon or glass noodles made from mung bean starch, sautéed with strips of dried fish.

Assistant Pastry Chef Dino dela Victoria made the Torta Cebuana topped with goat cheese.

He used gabi or taro instead of glutinous rice to wrap the sweet peanut filling we know as Masi.

There was also Ube Kalamay and Bocarillo.

TAGS: dishes, Feria
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