Text & photos by the Philippine Consulate General, Frankfurt
Mr. Adobo food truck at the 2019 Museumsuferfest. (Photo courtesy of Frankfurt PCG)
Summer is upon us and with the gradual return to normalcy following the unprecedented year of the pandemic, picnics and outdoor grilling will again be staple activities for many Filipinos. Pork barbecue, adobo, pansit and lumpia are traditionally among favorites, but how can they be found in Europe our kababayans may ask. Filipinos in the region need not fret as several individuals and establishments are satisfying the demand either by importing products from the Philippines or serving these sumptuous delicacies.
Mr. Adobo and AP Event Catering are Filipino food trucks operating out of Frankfurt, Hesse and Voerde, North Rhine-Westphalia, respectively. While Mr. Adobo specializes in the Philippines’ unofficial national dish, the popular establishment also serves delectable versions of lechon kawali, grilled bangus and beef shortribs. Its services have been contracted by the Philippine Consulate General in Frankfurt for receptions at the Frankfurt Convention Center as well as the Philippine Department of Tourism Office in Frankfurt for a number of its tourism promotion campaigns. Not to be outdone, AP Event Catering has carved a niche in North Rhine-Westphalia with its pork barbecue, pancit bihon and lumpiang shanghai. It is even known to serve halo-halo!
The Mabuhay food truck of AP Event Catering. (Photo from facebook.com/APEventCatering316)
Two Filipina-Germans known for their culinary skills are Malu Rodriguez-Scheich and Maite Hontiveros-Dittke. The Bad Homburg-based Ms. Rodriguez-Scheich was responsible for the succulent dishes served at the Consulate’s 2019 National Day reception with members of the Consular Corps among those in attendance. She was also persuaded to go on hiatus from retirement to cater a dinner hosted by Consul General Evelyn Austria-Garcia in honor of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda and members of the Philippine delegation to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Also in demand are the catering services of Ms. Hontiveros-Dittke, who is based in Cologne. Among her numerous work, she was contracted for a successful Filipino food-tasting activity organized for travel agents on behalf of an airline client and a cooking demonstration with Chef Claude Tayag at a recent edition of the Frankfurt Book Fair, where attendees were provided with samples of selected Filipino treats.
Ms. Hontiveros-Dittke (leftmost) and Chef Tayag (standing, right photo) provide a cooking demonstration during the 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair as part of the activities of the Philippine delegation.
For those who are simply looking for ingredients and wish to cook Filipino food at home, numerous importers and retailers abound in the states under the jurisdiction of the Consulate. They include Shop Exclusive Pinoy Food in Heilbron, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Asia Shop Pinoy Store in Bamberg, Bavaria, Leizel’s Sari-sari Store in Langenwetzendorf, Thuringia, and four in North Rhine-Westphalia - Philippine Shop and Pinoy Asian Markt both in Cologne, Pinoy Food in Siegen and Sisterz Restaurant in Moenchengladbach, which is both a store and restaurant.
The Consulate’s Economic Diplomacy efforts not only aims to entice the German public with the Philippines’ culinary delights but also increase the amount of food products imported from the country. This is evident in its participation in events such as the Anuga Trade Fair, which is said to be the largest of its kind for the food and beverage industry. Its 2019 edition saw the Philippines’ biggest delegation to the biennial fair thus far, with 19 exhibiting companies and 18 One Town-One Product participants. Moreover, the event was graced by none other than Madame Cielito Avancena, a champion of small-and-medium enterprises and a businesswoman herself. Participation in the Biofach Trade Fair has also yielded impressive results for Philippine exporters of organic food, such as coconut products, muscovado sugar, banana and cacao chips, with some US$56 million in sales recorded from 2018 to 2020.
Photo above shows Madame Avancena delivering remarks during the opening of the Philippine Pavilion at the 2019 Anuga Trade Fair in Cologne. (Photo courtesy of Frankfurt PCG)
Photo shows Deputy Consul General Emil Fernandez (left) with representatives of Filipinas Organic Coconut Products Corp., one of the participating exhibitors from the Philippines during the 2019 Biofach Fair at the Nuremberg Convention Center. (Photo courtesy of Frankfurt PCG)
Anuga and Biofach are two of a dozen trade and tourism fairs, where Consulate officials extend support to Philippine exhibitors. Other major fairs include the Automechanika Fair for automotive services, Electronica Fair for electronics, Ambiente Fair for consumer goods, Boat Consumer Trade Fair for watersports and the Bauma Fair for the construction industry.
Several fairs have adopted hybrid models, to cater to visitors either digitally or physically. This serves as a positive sign that physical contact is gradually being reintroduced. As a people who value interaction with others, Filipinos cannot wait for the day when social restrictions are a thing of the past. And surely among the first order of the day will be reunions with friends and loved ones, where favorite dishes will be served. Everyone is encouraged to do their share in promoting Philippine cuisine wherever they may be and to patronize Philippine food products, stores and catering services. May we all have a safe and gastronomic summer! R&W