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Accompanied by continuous growth from food delivery services in the Philippines, the F&B industry inevitably opened its arms and adapted to using this strategy – particularly as the country braved unparalleled restrictions and closures during the pandemic. Within the confines of the home, customers make interesting food choices, including unique Filipino dishes such as Kare-Kare, Bicol Express, Inihaw na Liempo, Kaldereta, and other specialties they were less likely to order prior to the current climate.

Joy was found through food, using cuisine as a way to connect with loved ones, travel (or lack thereof), and made adjusting to change easier when it was impossible to leave. The convenience of food delivery brought many factors to light. Many F&B businesses generate high profits after starting a delivery service, and they receive an increasing amount of orders regularly.

According to Grab NEXT Food Trends Report from 2020 to 2021, 39% of F&B businesses now say that they depend on food delivery to survive, despite restaurants opening their physical doors again to the public. And while some may still rather make the trip to eat out, 85% of consumers, mainly Gen Z and millennials, have claimed they will continue to order food deliveries in the future. With this, restaurants face new obstacles like the need to continue increasing their customer base and loyalty while, in return, having more sales to stay afloat and generate revenue. This means businesses must continue to evolve, stay competent and find different, innovative ways to catch consumers’ attention.

Thanks to ambitious chefs, this guide of simple twists will spruce up your dishes and boost the want of consumers to try local Filipino cuisine

Switching to Plant-Based Ingredients

As more and more people are opting to go vegan, having a selection of dishes, specifically plant-based ones, on the menu will be beneficial for the business. This is further proven by the findings from the 2020 Diet Decisions Survey across the Asia Pacific that reveals 53% of Filipino respondents have started eating more fruits and vegetables, whereas 43% have eaten more plant-based food. In the same survey, the Philippines also ranks highest in its openness to meatless options.

Group orders will also be less of a struggle as consumers won’t need to order from several restaurants and may allow non-vegans to try another healthier, plant-based choice if the dishes are shared. Switching out a classic Sisig for a Mushroom Tofu Sisig, for example, is a great way to enjoy Pinoy food with a twist. Similar to its original recipe of combining heat and acid, the complex flavors will still shine despite the healthy substitutes. The possibility is endless as you can switch the protein with The Vegetarian Butcher No Chicken Chunks to create crispy and flavorful Plant-Based Sisig.

In addition to this, following the initiative to go green can extend to your food delivery through eco-friendly packaging as more consumers care about the environment and are being mindful when choosing what they eat to lessen their carbon footprint.

Combining Cuisines

Chef Belinda Modlez-Evangelista, one of the top five chefs from Certified Funlasang Pinoy, created a stuffed Kimchi Fried Rice in Roasted Chicken Inasal using simple ingredients such as Knorr Chicken Powder and Knorr Sinigang Sa Sampalok Mix. Inventive and unusual, kimchi juice was used in the marinade for the chicken, which judges praised. Fusion isn’t new, but when it triggers curiosity, and the flavors come together after execution, it’s hard to forget. Mikel Zaguirre, the chef and owner of Locavore, found it unique, mentioning it was also relevant because Korean food continues to be a food trend.

Although it may sound odd when learning about the process, creating modern Filipino dishes by combining other cuisines works, from reinventing our local favorites such as Lechon, Sinigang, and Sisig into a Lechon Baka Burger, Crispy Sinigang Wings, and Paella Sisig. Reminiscent of our culture, yet new and different at the same time. These fusion dishes originating from Filipino favorites are made with a twist to present a sense of home while combining techniques assimilated by chefs throughout their careers. It’s a way of sharing their own culture and past or present experiences on a plate to tell a story. These dishes don’t only represent ingenuity but also change by transcending cultural barriers through food. 

Highlighting Popular Classics

Another way to acquire more customers is to integrate simple dishes into the menu. When consumers are looking for what to eat, having easy and popular meals will make them browse through the menu. Items such as Honey Butter Garlic Fried Chicken or Crispy Fried Chicken with Soy Garlic, for instance, will get screen time since Filipinos have a sweet and savory palate. Easy to make with the help of Knorr Liquid Seasoning, the dish serves as a favorite for all chicken lovers.

Adding popular classics like these will create more opportunities for your business.

Elevating your unique Filipino dishes does not need to be a strenuous task, as long as you have the right tips to modernize your menu. Replacing your usual rice with substitutes like ad lai for Arroz Caldo or Paella and enhancing the nutritional value of your dishes by using locally available ingredients such as malunggay, kang kong, ube, sigarilyas, or sayote will elevate the textures and flavors of your dishes. By doing this, you also take advantage of local, seasonal products and support Filipino farmers.

As a chef, it's not always easy to brainstorm your next dish and to launch it with so much going with your daily operations. The task of creating a new dish requires a lot of steps from researching what your diners look for, sourcing ingredients, and training your staff while you still have to manage your restaurant. But worry not, Unilever Food Solutions can help you launch your dish so you can focus on what you love the most - cooking. Send us a message today so that you can schedule a consultation with our team of experts!