How We Brought Filipino Food To Hong Kong With Cross Cultures

Teams Cross Cultures, 42nd Davis, Linguini Fini Hong Kong, Rocco's Pizzeria, Pepita's Kitchen and Joe Villanueva represent! (Photo by Nicky Lozano)

Last July 13 and 14 were really important to me as I staged my first Cross Cultures (the events platform I founded under this website) outside of the Philippines… and in HONG KONG! Firstly, I need to reiterate that as Cross Cultures was founded on the premise that food was one of the most accessible ways of exchanging cultures, we have a two-fold aim: 1) To introduce the Philippines to cuisines from overseas (we have previously collaborated with chefs, cooks and restaurants from Ethiopia, Kenya, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Mexico and Peru), and 2) To likewise introducing different countries to the Philippines by way of our cuisine.

“A Filipino Feast,” in partnership with i-Remit and Destileria Limtuaco, and supported by Manila Chocolatier, Memz Chicharon, Mini Hotel and Forks & Spoons, was held at 42nd Davis— a fully Filipino-owned-and-staffed restaurant located at the heart of Kennedy Town.

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A special two-night Cross Cultures Filipino Feast “pop-up” event at 42nd Davis in Kennedy Town, Hong Kong (Photo by Nicky Lozano)
42nd Davis Kennedy Town, Hong Kong- Cross Cultures Hong Kong- Photo by JJ Acuna
42nd Davis is a completey Filipino-owned and staffed restaurant in the hip, up and coming Kennedy Town (Photo by JJ Acuna)

The two-night event, which featured an eight-course menu for HKD588 +, was not only sold out, but had a waitlist. We had invited Hong Kong-based Filipino chefs: Roy San Antonio and Roy Ocampo of 42nd Davis, Jimlie Catapang of Linguini Fini, and Jerome Santos of Rocco’s Pizzeria—to shine the spotlight on Filipinos working behind the scenes in top restaurants in the vibrant Asian capital. A special guest from Manila was flown in for the occasion: Dedet dela Fuente of Pepita’s Kitchen, known for her specialty lechon, which she reinvented by stuffing it with rice.

Dedet de la Fuente (Pepita’s Kitchen, Philippines), Jerome Santos (Rocco’s Pizzeria, Hong Kong), Roy Ocampo and Roy San Antonio (both 42nd Davis, Hong Kong) and Jimlie Catapang (Linguini Fini, Hong Kong), with Pepita’s Kitchen’s Pinoy paella: tanglad (lemon grass) rice, pork tocino, crispy adobo flakes, longganisang Macao, salted egg, crispy beef kansi, smoked milk fish, crispy dilis, tapa, garlic and quail eggs
Dedet de la Fuente (Pepita’s Kitchen, Philippines), Jerome Santos (Rocco’s Pizzeria, Hong Kong), Roy Ocampo and Roy San Antonio (both 42nd Davis, Hong Kong) and Jimlie Catapang (Linguini Fini, Hong Kong), with Pepita’s Kitchen’s Pinoy paella: tanglad (lemon grass) rice, pork tocino, crispy adobo flakes, longganisang Macao, salted egg, crispy beef kansi, smoked milk fish, crispy dilis, tapa, garlic and quail eggs

Award-winning mixologist Joe Villanueva also crafted cocktails made from Manille Liqueur de Calamansi (Pinoy’s Cup), Mango Paradise Rum (Tropical Quencher) and Amadeo Coffee Liqueur (Flan de Kape) from Destileria Limtuaco (distributed by Montrose Wines in Hong Kong) for the event.

Award-winning Hong Kong based mixologist Joe Villanueva (Photo by Nicky Lozano)
Award-winning Hong Kong based mixologist Joe Villanueva (Photo by Nicky Lozano)

From chicken wings inasal and sisig in phyllo, to inihaw na pusit to pinakbet, to lechon stuffed with truffle rice and super suman, the dishes served drew remarks from guests—a mix of different nationalities, and likewise Filipinos living in Hong Kong—like, “I fell in love with Filipino food tonight,” to “This is the best Filipino food I’ve had, I’m so glad I gave it another chance,” to “This was a phenomenal event,” to “We wish we could have this event in Hong Kong every week.”

Cheryl Tiu- Cross Cultures by Cheryl Tiu Hong Kong- 42nd Davis- Hong Kong
Cross Cultures was founded to promote the exchange of cultures through food, with a larger goal of removing misconceptions and boundaries– with the hopes of building a more global community. But integral to our core is also SERVICE. We are an events platform and it’s very important to us to deliver a special dining experience to all our guests. There are a lot of backend elements that come into play before any event can come in to fruition, and on the front end, we will always try our best to make sure that our guests have a wonderful, memorable time. (Photo by Dedet dela Fuente)

Guests went home with Cross Cultures pralines specially made by Manila Chocolatier: white chocolate with sampaguita-infused dark chocolate ganache, Milk chocolate with ube (purple yam) ganache, and miniatures from Destileria Limtuaco.

Here’s a photogenic recap of the event that transpired:

 

 

Memz Premium Pork Chicharon was served as pica-pica to start (Photo by Nicky Lozano)
Memz Premium Pork Chicharon was served as pica-pica to start (Photo by Nicky Lozano)
As Linguini Fini is known for their chicken wings, head chef Jimlie Catapang created chicken inasal wings for the Cross Cultures Pinoy Feast event
These chicken wings inasal by Jimlie “Jay” Catapang, head chef of Linguini Fini on Elgin Street were such a hit that there’s a serious petition for it to be on the LF menu. (And actually, they did put it up as a special for a week!) To get the flavor, he marinated the wings in annatto seeds, calamansi juice, salt, black pepper, garlic and thyme for 2 days, before being topped with spring onions, red chili and served with toyomansi. Since Linguini Fini is known for their wings, he decided to add a Pinoy twist to it for #CrossCulturesHK.
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Jerome Santos, group executive chef of Rocco’s Pizzeria and Spicy Fingers HK and Manila turned our famous pork sisig into one-bite wonders by placing them into phyllo pastry cups, topped with Memz pork chicharon and calamansi aioli. (Photo by Nicky Lozano)
Traditionally a breakfast dish called tapsilog, Jimlie Catapang, head chef of Linguini Fini turned it into an appetizer-- marinating organic beef in garlic, soy sauce, cane vinegar and salt-- and serving it on pickled radish "atchara" before being topped with quail egg. When eaten all together, it championed the entire flavor profile of the dish-- just without the rice. Another crowd favorite at #CrossCulturesHK.
Traditionally a breakfast dish called tapsilog, Jimlie Catapang, head chef of Linguini Fini turned it into an appetizer– marinating organic beef in garlic, soy sauce, cane vinegar and salt– and serving it on pickled radish “atchara” before being topped with quail egg. When eaten all together, it championed the entire flavor profile of the dish– just without the rice. Another crowd favorite at #CrossCulturesHK.
Ginataang alimasag by Jerome Santos of Rocco’s Pizzeria
Ginataang Alimasag, or soft-shell crabs cooked in coconut milk, with a dash of homemade chili by Jerome Santos of Rocco’s Pizzeria and Spicy Fingers.
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Gorgeous plump squid put on the grill and served with mango salsa and toyo mansi (calamansi and soy sauce), a dish in the Philippines, popularly known as inihaw na pusit, which Roidence San Antonio of 42nd Davis served up at #CrossCulturesHK. (Photo by Nicky Lozano)
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Roy Ocampo of 42nd Davis decided to make a mixed vegetables stew called pinakbet, with tomatoes, okra and string beans and topped with Memz chicharon. He decided on this because it reminds him of his time spent with his grandmother growing up in the Philippines. (Photo by Nicky Lozano)
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Dedet de la Fuente’s famous Pepita’s Kitchen truffle rice-stuffed lechon made its way to Hong Kong! (Photo by Nicky Lozano)
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In Hong Kong, Dedet de la Fuente served her specialty Pepita’s Kitchen truffle rice-stuffed lechon in wooden pig plates she brought in from the Philippines– each proudly waving the Philippine flag. (Photo by Nicky Lozano)
Pepita's Kitchen's Super Suman proudly waving the Philippine flag, and Joe Villanueva's Pinoy's Cup made with Manille Liqueur de Calamansi (Photo by Nicky Lozano)
Pepita’s Kitchen’s Super Suman proudly waving the Philippine flag, and Joe Villanueva’s Pinoy’s Cup made with Manille Liqueur de Calamansi (Photo by Nicky Lozano)
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We had Cross Cultures pralines specially handcrafted by Manila Chocolatier for all our guests. 🍫 They were made with the best criollo and forastero beans from Venezuela & infused with Philippine flavors.🇵🇭 That’s white chocolate with sampaguita-infused dark chocolate ganache, and milk chocolate with purple yam (ube) ganache. (Photo by Nicky Lozano)

For more information on Cross Cultures, you can follow us on Instagram (@cross.cultures) here or Facebook (@crossculturesbycheryltiu).