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Monday, December 1, 2014

The Best Pinoy Street Food experience at SM Hypermarket Cubao

Nothing excites me when I see or discover some street food cooking right across the neighborhood. It has become a habit to buy from them. I dont know but I have a thing for palabok, bola bola, hot mami with egg, pansit and sago. They have become my comfort food as the years passed by.  Now SM Hypermarket brings 10 of the best pinoy street food cooks where they prepared their best dishes and impressed food critics including Chef Boy Logro and hundreds of expectators during the grand finals  cook off at SM Hypermarket Cubao last November 28, 2014 where Jose Nestor Guevara II emerged as the grand prize winner after 2 rounds of intense challenges set by Chef Boy Logro himself.

 The top ten contestants faced a two-part challenge pushing them to their limits. As street food cooks, they’re only as good as their most critical customer which is why Chef Boy Logro’s first challenge was to pair up and cook a noodle based dish of their choice for 100 people. Using all their techniques, knowledge, and skills, the top ten gave it their all and cooked pansit that’s nowhere near ordinary. After 100 people tasted the noodles and voted for their favorite dish, the final four was finally named: Hercules Umali of Star-BAKS Sizzling and Frappe in Quezon City, Jose Nestor Guevara II of Lola Ebeng’s Lugawan & BBQ-han in Las Piñas, Merly Dulay-Co of Merly’s Gotohan in Pasay, and Eloisa Cabrales of Cab’s Burgeria in Batangas.

“Maraming maraming salamat sa SM Hypermarket, di ko inaasahan ito. Akala ko hanggang pagluluto lang ako ng lugaw. Napapagod ako pero ayaw ko sumuko. Kahit di ako manalo basta makasali ako,” said Merly Dulay-Co.

The last but the most challenging according to the final four was Chef Boy’s ultimate challenge which was to recreate his signature “Crepe Surprise,” an interesting kind of crepe filled with cream and seafood. The four were only given 30 minutes everything and merely a spoonful of the crepe to taste. As soon as the timer started, the final four proved why they made it this far as they displayed great presence of mind, effective multitasking, and mad kitchen skills. In the end, it all boiled down to who made the best tasting crepe. Chef Boy Logro, along with Chef Paulo Sia of Unilever, Chef Niño Logarta of CDO, Chef John Valley of Purefoods, and Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet, tasted each crepe carefully. After thorough discussions and deep thoughts, the judges finally came to a decision to who goes home with an SM Hypermarket business. Jose Nestor Guevara II, a.k.a. Jones jumped high into the air and stomped hard on the stage as soon as his name was called as the first grand champion of the country most epic street food battle ever.

“Elementary pa lang magaling na akong mangopya,” Jones joked but on a more serious note, he explained, “marami kaming street food vendor. Dito (Best Pinoy Street Food) napapakita namin ang galing namin sa pagluluto. Na ang kalidad ng pagkain namin ay di nalalayo ang lasa sa mamahalin.”

Jones is set to operate his very own food stall at SM Hypermarket rent-free for a year as well as take home 100,000 pesos worth of prizes including an SM Prestige Card loaded with points, large food packs, ingredients, cooking equipments, etc. courtesy of SM Hypermarket’s Food Service Center; the perfect source of all HORECA needs.

“Maganda itong ginawa ng SM dahil dapat talaga mabigyang pansin and street food. Unang una, maraming Pilipino ang mahilig sa street food. Mayaman (o) mahirap mahilig nito. Miski ako. Nakalakihan na yan ng masang Pilipino…. We have to inspire them kasi mapagmamalaki talaga ang Pinoy street food," said Chef Boy Logro.

Jose Nestor “Jones” Guevara II

Jose Nestor “Jones” Guevara II is the owner of Lola Ebeng’s Lugawan and BBQ-han, a small food business he opened in their garage and named after his mom. Their house is in front of a church and his clients were mostly people who came to hear mass or those working in the parish. Customers were only abundant when there is mass which is why his business is only open on weekends. The rest of the week, Lola Ebeng’s is closed and Jones has to find other means to earn. According to Jones, he doesn’t have any other places to open his food business because rent elsewhere is too steep for his trade. But now that he’s won the first ever Best Pinoy Street Food, Jones is looking forward to a yummier future.

“Maraming salamat sa SM Hypermarket at binigyan niyo kami ng opportunity na ipakita ang aming talent. Marami kayong matutulungan na tulad ko (street food vendor). Promise, babalik-balikan niyo ang signature dishes namin.”

Part of the grand finals was probably the best tasting street food fair ever. The food bazaar features the Best Pinoy Street Food contestants who won in the elimination rounds held at 30 different SM Hypermarket branches. Each tenant beat hundreds of other entries to qualify for the semi-finals as they impressed culinary experts from different brands and kitchens. The Street Food Fair featured the best of the best when it comes to street food.

Moreover, everyone present at the event was able to take part in the fun games, exciting promos, and must-have freebies arranged by the event’s sponsors - Purefoods Funstuff Nuggets, Tender Juicy Hotdog, Fiesta Ham, Crisp n’ Juicy, Star Chickn’ Tasty Hotdog, Thick Cut Bacon, Unilever Food Solutions, Nestle All-Purpose Cream, Maggi, Knorr, Bounty Fresh Chicken, Bibbo Hotdog, Bibbo Cheesedog, CDO Ulam Burger, Funstastik Young Pork Tocino, Del Monte, P&G, and Joy. SM Hypermarket Best Pinoy Street Food has truly accomplished what it has set out to do; to highlight the exceptional cooking skills of the everyday people selling the popular Pinoy street food.

“Malaking opportunity ito sa maliliit na negosyo. Dahil sa contest na ito, dumami customers namin at, higit sa lahat, nagkaroon kami ng mga bagong nanay at mga kaibigan na di mapapantayan ng salapi,” said Hercules when asked about his Best Pinoy Street Food experience.

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