A Spring Feast

By Rezel Kealoha


A SpringFeast

Article by Rezel Kealoha

Edited by Sahara Bohoskey

Photography by Mariel Henry

Food is the love language in our home, in our culture.  With my family, we are not big talkers and very light on physical affection. However we are big on showering each other with love through food. You know you have made the cut as a very good friend when you get invited to a Filipino family party!  It means that you are truly part of the family. To be invited share our food is to share our heart with you.
If you asked me what my last meal on earth would be it would this. Crispy Lechon that brings back memories of my Dad. Visiting him at his home where his mom would pick the biggest pig to feed the whole neighborhood and celebrate his homecoming.  Lechon is a celebration dish that is traditionally made by grilling a whole pig on a spit for nearly a whole day.  The meat gets extra juicy and the skin gets extra crispy over the course of a few hours.  In my rendition we use pork belly instead and it’s first boiled, dried and then baked in the oven to get the same level of crispiness.
Then there is my Pancit Palabok, it's the pancit I would always ask my mom to cook for me on my birthday. Pansit is a Filipino stir fry noodle dish with many regional varieties. There are “dry" versions where the main components are stir fried vegetables, protein and noodles. This particular recipe is more saucy and the noodles act more like a base for the prawn sauce with a variety of toppings. It’s a different kind of pancit that is very saucy and has different kinds of condiments ranging from smokey to crispy to sour.  It’s a play on textures and flavours which is what I love most about Filipino food.
The Garlic Fried Rice, Green Mango Salad and Adobo Kangkong weave the whole meal together with its acidity and freshness. Never overlook the important of a side dish, it so necessary for a successful dinner party!
Pictured: (top) Rezel plating the Garlic Fried Rice (bottom) Kalamansi Pineapple Margarita and Passion Fruit Rum Cake brought by guest.
For drinks we had two types of flavoured Water:  cantaloupe and lemongrass. We also had a cocktail made with pineapple juice with rum. But this Kalamansi Pineapple Margarita is the perfect cocktail for the occasion too.

I am not going to lie, this meal is a labour of love. It takes a few days of preparation, but once your guests approach your dinner table and you see their faces, it will be all worth it. One thing that I would recommend? Bring a friend to help you with the cooking and setting up! We all want the glory of presenting a stunning dinner to ourselves but in the end it's about sharing memories and culture through food. This is how we communicate, this is how we show our love and this is how we celebrate.

Special thanks:

Photography By:  Mariel Villaluz Henry

Floral:  April Baytan Designs

Dining Wear:  Cups and Chairs

Guests Pictured:

Kim Tan Founder Skin Salvation

Julie Ngyuen Founder Methodology 

Jen Creator of The Jenn Project

Sylvie - Founder Just Date Syrup

Bebe Carminito - Food Stylist

Gina Florio

Carolina Vargas

Daniela Gerson

Kristina Todini Founder Fork in The Road

Bethaina Rasheed

Valerie Six

Rebecca Founder Cooking Therapy

Edwina Clark

Katherine Chen