Lisbon, Portugal – In line with the continuing cultural and economic diplomacy initiatives of the Philippine Embassy in Lisbon, particularly in promoting Philippine cuisine and Philippine food products in Portugal, the Philippine Embassy recently partnered with Matriz Portuguesa, a Lisbon-based cultural organization that organizes events such as the Mesa Palatina, that brings foreign and Portuguese cultures together.
On 13 February 2020, Philippine and Portuguese culture met in the Filipino dinner prepared by Portuguese Chef Duarte Mathias of the Aura Restaurant, located at the Lisbon’s iconic Praça do Commercio.
Chef Mathias, along with Ms. Teresa de Herédia, a nutritionist from Nutrialma, prepared a full Filipino menu, consisting of pandesal, lumpiang gulay, adobong manok, calamansi juice, lechon with Mang Tomas sauce, ginataang laing, biko, ginataang bilo-bilo and bibingkang cassava, using authentic Filipino ingredients sourced from A Diplomata, a Lisbon-based Filipino-owned catering and food source provider.
The dinner was a unique experience for Chef Mathias and the 20 Portuguese guests as it was their first time to partake of Philippine gastronomic flavors. During the dinner, Ms. Herédia described the Philippine ingredients and cooking techniques used in preparing each of the Filipino dishes. The Portuguese diners were amazed of the similarities of ingredients to those which are from former Portuguese colonies in Africa, such as the coconut milk, cassava, and taro root leaves. The Mang Tomas sauce caught the attention of the diners as it has similarities to their Portuguese leitāo sauce.
Given the observed similarities, the Philippine Ambassador took the opportunity to encourage the Portuguese diners to integrate Filipino cooking techniques and authentic Filipino food ingredients as part of their daily cuisine and cooking.
The Philippine participation in Mesa Palatina is one of the many efforts of the Philippine Embassy to generate more interest to Philippine cuisine and ingredients among the Portuguese food industry that would result in the availability of more authentic Filipino food ingredients and products into the local market.
To complete the dining experience of the Portuguese guests, Philippine-made handicrafts such as starburst plate charges from Artisana Island Crafts of Bacolod City, wooden saucer, mother of pearl plates, and a six-meter long blue Tinalak table runner from Etniko Pinoy were used as table decoration during the dinner. Lastly, guests were delighted to bring home a banig coin purses and mother of pearl plates as giveaways from the Philippine Ambassador.