Ambassadors share their thoughts on food and culture and their favorite restaurants in Manila – Manila Bulletin

Long live gastrodiplomacy!

Nothing like food to bring people together and even share cultures. It may seem trivial but there is no point in denying it: food is a universal language. Here are six ambassadors in Manila sharing their personal favorites here in the Philippines and what we all need to know about their home country’s food.

Being German, I can’t do without schnitzel! —Ambassador Anke Reiffenstuel, Germany

For German Ambassador Anke Reiffenstuel, there are two restaurants that come to mind when the urge to eat from her country arises: Brotzeit and the German Club. “I like them both because they offer authentic German-style food and beer,” she says. She enjoys the open-air setting of the BGC branch in Brotzeit, but also often finds herself at the German Club, especially for lunches that require a more private setting.

The ambassador admits to being a restaurant lover. From the great service and ambiance to being able to chat with the owner, she says dining definitely has a social component that should be appreciated.

The Germans eat according to the season and it is evident in their restaurants which change their menu with the seasons. It’s something the ambassador always appreciates in Manila, especially at the German Club. “He changes his menu according to the seasons and his specialties. It reminds me of spring in Europe, or the cooler autumn period, as well as our famous German Christmas traditions,” she muses.

Her favorite order? A classic, of course. “Being German, I can’t do without schnitzel! beams Ambassador Reiffenstuel.


We Mexicans practically eat on the side of the stove! —Ambassador Gerardo Lozano, Mexico

Mexican Ambassador Gerardo Lozano Arredondo is spoiled for choice with the abundance of Mexican restaurants in Manila, making it hard for him to pick a few favorites. Even their wares have made their way into the mainstream, thanks to historical ties that date back 450 years and the Galleon Route that established trade relations linking Manila and Acapulco. “Today we can see a great presence of products and ingredients of Mexican origin, incorporated and assimilated into Filipino cuisine,” he says.

There is something to be proud of in the cuisine of one’s country. Part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List, Mexican cuisine is as dynamic as the country and people it represents. For the ambassador, it is a way of evoking memories of his country, based on anecdotes about each recipe, the ingredients, the people, and even the climate.

Luckily, Ambassador’s favorites are readily available at restaurants here. “For me, pork tacos (lechon) with pork crackers (chicharron) and guacamole sauce. I also like the Tacos al Pastor (grilled pork with shawarma) a lot,” he says.

Ambassador Lozano enjoys dining out but understands the challenges of the pandemic. He recommends that when buying Mexican food for takeout, be sure to keep it warm to lock in flavor. “We Mexicans practically eat on the side of the stove!” he says.


You have to let yourself be guided by the pleasure of discovering unusual tastes. —Ambassador Michèle Boccoz, France

From the country that practically set the standard for foodies, you know that Ambassador Michèle Boccoz of France is one of those with high standards. As someone who enjoys interacting with chefs, she says part of the dining experience for her is learning the stories behind each dish and getting tips on how best to enjoy them.

His date? Metronome by chef Miko Calo. “They have a great selection of small plates, which are not only full of flavor, but also beautifully plated,” she says.

Her advice for better appreciating French cuisine is that you have to have an open mind to appreciate the multi-sensory experience. “When you taste French cuisine, it is very important to immerse yourself,” she says. “You should let pleasure guide you in exploring unusual tastes and experiencing the interplay between taste, smell and sight.”


It evokes the earth, the mountains and the sea, somewhere between East and West. —Ambassador Antonis Alexandridis, Greece

Greece’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Antonis Alexandridis, views food as the most tangible form of connection to his country, one he proudly continues to maintain with his home country. “Greek cuisine is sublime in its simplicity, where you can taste unmasked and unpretentious ingredients,” he says. Olives, oil, divine vegetables and fragrant herbs are just a few of his favorites along with each ingredient, each of which speaks volumes about the history of its homeland. “It evokes the earth, the mountains and the sea, somewhere between the East and the West”, he thinks.

He swears by Akrotiri, a restaurant along Jupiter Street in Makati. They prepared many dinners he hosted as well as celebratory lunches at the Embassy. “Besides their famous souvlaki (skewers on pita bread), my go-to dishes are their delicious braised octopus and crispy filo cheese pies,” he says.


There is one dish that really stands out from my province of Quebec, poutine. —Ambassador Peter MacArthur, Canada

Quite a foodie, Ambassador MacArthur has evidently been touring Metro Manila, sampling dishes that ward off homesickness. He admits to liking Wildflour Bakery and Café because of its ambiance. He usually orders the burgers and the ribeye fries. Both use Canadian beef, which he says has a unique flavor and texture.

By the bay, he enjoys Sofitel’s Spiral because of a special dish: Canadian beef cheeks simmered for 36 hours on the Bordeaux wine dinner menu. As for takeout, he loves ordering maple donuts and fruit donuts from Tim Hortons because they go well with his morning coffee. He also alternates these sweet treats with our beloved Peach Mango Pie from Jollibee, a dessert that might be more familiar to more Canadians now that there are 20 branches of the Filipino fast food chain open in Canada. .

“The reconnection with Canadian surf and turf cuisine happens in Manila when I go to Red Lobster to enjoy snow crab opilio from our Atlantic coast or Texas Roadhouse to dive into AAA striploin from the Atlantic plains. Alberta,” says the ambassador.

One recommendation he has for Filipinos is one the local palate will truly appreciate. “There is one dish that really stands out, originating from my province of Quebec, poutine,” he says. A mix of fries, cheese and gravy, you can find it at Main Street, a restaurant on Kapitolyo Street in Pasig City. They serve it in five different ways, including its traditional version.


I’m sure once they taste it, they’ll love it. —Ambassador Marat Ignatyevich Pavlov, Russia

Although there is no Russian restaurant in Manila yet, Ambassador Marat Ignatyevich Pavlov sees a great opportunity in bringing his country’s cuisine closer to the Filipinos, as they would be easy to recreate here. “You can easily buy products for basic Russian dishes here in almost any supermarket,” he says, citing ingredients like meat and vegetables like potatoes, cabbage, onions and carrots that dominate their kitchen. “In this term, one of the greatest advantages of Russian cuisine is that it is very simple and healthy. It does not require any special ingredients.

Ambassador Pavlov and his staff at the embassy took the opportunity to discover Filipino cuisine. “We really enjoy seafood here,” he says. “We also enjoy adobo, pancit and kaldereta.” He admits, however, that he misses Russia’s abundance of dairy products and how, when possible, he brings in food items that keep him from missing his home country too much – Russian caviar, herring and rye bread.

“I really wish more Filipinos would visit our country and be able to share our feelings about Russian cuisine,” Ambassador Pavlov said. “I’m sure once they taste it, they’ll love it.”



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