There’s this interesting food place inside the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City where one could imagine being in the midst of a coconut grove though there are no coconut tress around. It’s where people can find “the best coconut ice cream in the world” and very wide array of food all made from coconut. Coconut House is owned by Jun Castillo, an entrepreneur advocate for the Philippine coconut as food.
Castillo believes in the power of the coconut fruit as a health food for the Filipino people. Not for the processed, unnatural and foreign food fare found in fast-food joints and supermarkets, but in the vein of the natural, indigenous, whole foods promoted by the worldwide Slow Food Movement. The food in Coconut House is so amazing that the organizers of the people’s party last June 30 when President Aquino was installed chose it to be one of the official caterers for the guests and dignitaries celebrating the event in Quezon Circle. Kris Aquino was there, reportedly thrilled by the taste and feel of cool coconut water cum lemon grass served in a drinking glass made of fresh bamboo.
The bestsellers in Coconut House decidedly are the coconut ice cream and frozen novelties called Ice Buko. These are all made from whole coconut milk, coconut water and coconut sugar. But the main attraction, the waiters say, are the appetizers like Pancit Buko, Coco Okoy and Laing Pizza. The cooking of these and the main entrees required the use of such ingredients as virgin coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut cheese and coconut soy sauce. Praises for the coconut water-based hot drinks, Coffeenut and Coconut Tea, equal those of the cold drink concoctions like Coconut Skim Milk and Coconut Nectar which I believe are found nowherelse.
According to manager Joseph Biay, a major change in the menu in forthcoming in November with the introduction of organic unpolished native rice, organic fish and meat, and organic vegetables, to complement the organic coconut content of the House.
Castillo is an active member of the Virgin Coconut Organization of the Philippines (VCOP) and a pioneer in the Philippine non-dairy industry (his company produces non-dairy ice cream aside from dairy ice cream). As an exponent of the virgin coconut industry (of which VCO is just one of its numerous products), he has been calling for a fundamental change in the Philippine coconut industry. He terms the old copra industry which has been dominant and dedicated for more than 100 years to coconut oil as industrial oil, a “sunset industry”, bound to be replaced in the next 20 years by the “sunrise industry” – the Virgin Coconut Industry which looks at coconut as food.
Original Article: Health Foods from Coconut, Anyone? in The Philippine Star on October 24, 2010
Related Article: An All-Coconut Meal IN MY BASKET By Lydia D. Castillo in The Philippine Star on June 13, 2010
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