Filipino cuisine is generally regarded as meat-heavy, rich and fatty. With the abundance of pork being the main protein component of traditional Filipino dishes, it is a known fact that Filipinos love and know their pork (and meat!) well. They say there are three things on the plate that Filipinos can't live without: Rice, Meat and Patis (a pungent fish sauce). This trinity of essential items then further compound the complexity yet simple elegance of the Philippine cuisine. Filipinos are natural foodies of this world, when most social gatherings and events revolve around food and drinking. This foodie culture is deeply embedded in the psyche of Philippine society that wherever Filipinos go, there should be something that reminds them of food as a form of comfort and celebration.
When I started the concept for Luntian, I saw a gap in the New Zealand foodie landscape. Filipinos are one of the largest immigrant population in this beautiful country and count towards the increasing diversity of New Zealand's wider communities. Interestingly, the global foodie scene is looking towards Filipino culture as the next best thing in nouvelle cuisine, but then sadly there is still not enough traction to gain momentum here in this part of the world. With the likes of the late Anthony Bourdain and other celebrity chefs like Andrew Zimmern paving the way for borderless gastronomy, there is definitely a place for a punchy character on the Kiwi plate. And that is Filipino food. Where you have lechon, sisig, adobo, dinuguan, caldereta, kare-kare as the usual heroes of a burgeoning foodie revolution.
Then there is the plant-based movement.
In an early 2019 article published by the New Zealand Herald online, the country ranks as the third best in the world for veganism (source story here). Kiwi appetites are diversifying and growing, and that includes a huge interest for plant-based food products. With commodity prices soaring high coupled with the emerging fascination on new food concepts, this is where Luntian is stepping in.
Luntian was born out of the need to introduce Filipino food to Kiwi palates and bridge the overall gap in the Philippine-New Zealand food market. We need healthier and cheaper options, without putting a dent on our wallets, on the Earth plus on our own well-being but still enjoy a plateful of flavour, novelty and playfulness on our dining tables. It was born out of a passionate embrace between two different yet highly similar cultures, bound by the same interests of savouring good food that not only nourishes the body, but also comforts the soul.
Luntian means "green", a colour that symbolises nature and health.
Our food are herbivore versions of what are traditionally meat-based Filipino dishes. There is a lot of green thinking that comes into the food we serve, making sure that we stick to the original flavour profiles to bring Philippines to New Zealand to show what the rest of the world is buzzing about when it comes to this cuisine --- in a healthier, more meaningful and highly creative presentation.
Come join us at Luntian and experience for yourself a new way of eating and discovering heavenly flavours, interesting textures and tempting palates that you will surely enjoy.
Register for upcoming events and we will take you to a journey of culture, arts, history and philosophy as told by the stories of culinary artistry through New Zealand's very own foliage.
Kain tayo (let's eat)!