By: Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, Seoul

30 August 2020. The Philippine Embassy in South Korea, in cooperation with the Philippine Agriculture Office-Seoul and Mama Sita Foundation, launched a special project on Philippine cuisine entitled Traditional and Contemporary Philippine Cuisine: Lutong Bahay ni Mama Sita, a series of videos on Philippine food promotion to generate greater awareness of Philippine food in Korea and to provide an opportunity to learn and experience Philippine culture during the pandemic.

(L-R) Charge d�?affaires, a.i. Christian L. De Jesus, Department of Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar, Mama Sita Foundation President Clara R. Lapus, and Agriculture Attache Aleli Maghirang, during the official launch of the Traditional and Contemporary Philippine Cuisine: Lutong Bahay ni Mama Sita, with guests from the Filipino married migrant communities, Korean cultural organizations, food businesses and food enthusiasts
The project also aims to encourage the Filipino community in Korea to be partners in the promotion of Philippine cuisine, to inform the wider community of the availability of Philippine products and ingredients in the Korean market and to invite the Korean public to visit the Philippines when normal travel resumes.

About 60 guests attended the virtual launch of Traditional and Contemporary Philippine Cuisine: Lutong Bahay ni Mama Sita on 30 August 2020. The guests included leaders and members Filipino-Korean migrants associations, Filipino workers, associates from various Korean cultural organizations, Korean and Filipino business owners and food enthusiasts.

During his welcome message, Charge d'Affaires, a.i. Christian L. De Jesus underscored that during this time of travel restrictions, "Our food is our connection to, and a reminder of our country." He also reminded the migrant multicultural families of their important role in bridging the cultural divides and fostering mutual understanding between the Filipino and Korean cultures. He emphasized that through sharing our food, which is an extension of our Filipino heritage and identity, Filipino migrants can help influence the wider community to be more accepting of another culture.

In his special video message, the Honorable Secretary of Agriculture William D. Dar mentioned that South Korea is included among the Philippines' top 5 export markets for Philippine agriculture and fisheries products, and the Philippines enjoyed a net surplus of more than US$300 Million from its agri-fisheries trade with Korea in 2019. Secretary Dar stated that the Department of Agriculture, through the Philippine Agriculture Office in Seoul, is engaging in new and innovative ways of actively promoting not only traditional Philippine agri-fisheries exports but also new food export items through online platforms such as this collaborative project with Mama Sita's?s. Secretary Dar lauded the efforts poured in the project saying that, "Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they have done an admirable job in promoting the Philippines, Filipino culture and identity through gastronomy." He also expressed the hope that with the support of the Filipino community in Korea and Korean food bloggers, grocery chains, restaurants and other food and cultural institutions, Philippine cuisine will also attain the recognition and patronage that other foreign cuisines enjoy in Korea.

Mrs. Clara Lapus, President of Mama Sita Foundation delivered an inspirational message where she narrated to the guests the beginnings of Mama Sita. She also talked about the similarities in the food cultures of Filipinos and Koreans. Apart from encouraging the guests to try Mama Sita's simple and healthy lutong bahay (home-cooked) recipes, Mrs. Lapus also paid tribute to the dedicated Filipino suppliers and hardworking farmers who are partners in bringing Philippine products and flavors to our dining tables.

The Embassy received positive feedback from the participants in the virtual launch of Traditional and Contemporary Philippine Cuisine: Lutong Bahay ni Mama Sita.

Filipino marriage migrant community leader Mrs. Fe Kim welcomed this project and expressed that some members of her association are planning to open a small Filipino restaurant as they were greatly encouraged by the availability of Philippine products and ingredients in Korea.

Korean food blogger Hungry Seoul wrote on his Facebook page about his excitement for the cooking videos on Philippine cuisine: "Even though Korean food uses a lot of chilis, there are still a lot of similarities with Filipino food. This is why I love eating Filipino food as well."

The Traditional and Contemporary Philippine Cuisine: Lutong Bahay ni Mama Sita marks the Philippine Embassy's celebration of the Buwan ng Wika in August. END

31 August 2020