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To all the food we've loved before

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Chica Villarta

Posted on March 30, 2021

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An ode to the food we fell for in Quarantine Season 1, and some recos on their Season 2 remixes.

This article was originally a tribute to the food trends we were obsessed with during quarantine 2020, written and published with a silent wish that we never have to face the same situation again.

But lockdown life seems to be quite persevering, as the National Capital Region and nearby areas (NCR Plus) are not only faced with yet another ECQ, but in a state worse than ever.

So while NCR Plus is on strict quarantine and the rest of the country waits for a wider vaccine rollout, we asked ourselves: If quarantine were a Netflix series and the food were its main characters, how would they look like in Season 2?

Presenting: character development at its finest, as we feature 2020's greatest food hits and their evolved iterations this Quarantine Season 2.

Dalgona coffee

If Gatorade is the NBA's official drink, then Dalgona Coffee is the pandemic's ultimate poster beverage. Frothy, bitter and wrist-injury inducing for some, this caffeine-fueled drink matched our palpitations while watching 2020 world news.

This 2021, we're glad to report that we no longer have to hand-whisk our Dalgona coffee as Ins Tea and Bread now carries the drink on their menu. They even added milk tea-style pearls to the mix, making this concoction a one-two trendy punch.

Visit Ins Tea and Bread in Ayala Malls Manila Bay or contact Ayala Malls ANA to buy from home.

Sushi bake

2020 was so weird that even piping hot, straight-from-the-oven sushi became a thing, by way of the iconic sushi bake. The food concept that gave birth to many small businesses, this dish not only surprised and satisfied our palates, but it also allowed home-based individuals and delivery workers to make up for lost earnings caused by the pandemic.

Today, we're no longer limited to a one-note California-style sushi bake flavor: many businesses and restaurants have created their own unique iterations of the dish. We're particularly curious about Tenya's Karaage Chizu version, perfect for fried chicken lovers who want a break from sushi bake's standard fishy flavors.

Visit Tenya at Market! Market! or contact Ayala Malls ANA to buy from home.

Ube cheese pandesal

The news may have been bleak in 2020, but our mornings were somehow more colorful when ube cheese pandesal came into our lives. Finding a really good ube cheese pandesal was frankly a struggle though, because most sellers either lacked cheese, lacked real ube, or left us wanting for more on both ends.

In this extended lockdown, we found the famed pandesal's more decadent, more flavorful counterpart: ever heard of an ube cheese..cake? Kumori's Hanjuku Ube is a half-baked, Japanese style cheesecake, flavored with ube and served in bite-sized pieces. Talk about a glow-up!

Ube and cheese make a new baby. Image via Kumori

Visit Kumori at UP Town Center or contact Ayala Malls ANA to buy from home.

Sourdough bread

Sourdough bread is by no means a new food concept, but lockdown made home bakers out of many stuck-at-home individuals. They took up the activity either as a hobby or as a business, so much so that flour and yeast became hard to find at one point! Perhaps, quarantine-era bakers were drawn to the sourdough creation's easy-to-follow steps, its creative, carvable outer surface, or its artisanal flavor.

In this enduring situation, sourdough is clearly the pandemic's runaway do-it-yourself carb champion, but we're glad classic bakeries like L'Artizan have it on-the-ready—this time, with chewy additions like raisin and walnut—for when our attention is devoted to yet another new quarantine hobby.

Fruit and nut update a bakery classic. Image via L'Artizan

Visit L'Artizan at Ayala Malls the 30th, or contact Ayala Malls ANA to buy from home.

Chocolate babka

The bitter, socially-distanced new normal has made us crave mood-uplifting sweets and warm, lingering hugs since March of last year. This is probably why the chocolate babka found a surprising following in 2020. A sweet, braided loaf or cake usually filled with chocolate or cinnamon, babkas are the definition of comfort food, with pillowy slices of our favorite sugary flavors giving us a warm embrace in a mouthful.

Breaking news: nutella and bread get into a sticky entanglement. Image via Mai Crafts Boutique & Café 

As this ongoing pandemic takes another sharp turn this year, Mai Crafts Boutique & Café in Cagayan de Oro infuses the chocolate babka with another comforting flavor: Nutella. Together with a thick serving of bread and a dash of chocolate chips, this updated version of the chocolate babka gives as a much hug without breaking social distancing rules.

Visit the Mai Crafts Boutique & Café stall at Ayala Centrio Mall.

Which quarantine food trend are you ready to love again?

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