The Philippines has always been a hub of trading in the pacific. Given the country’s strategic location, its cuisine has been influenced by the Spanish, the Chinese, the Malaysians, and even the Americans. As to the epic variety of Filipino flavors being unlike anything else in the world, we know why.
This uniqueness extends to the country’s produce as well. With its warm, humid weather, nutrient-rich soil, and abundant seas, plenty of unique flavors have come out of these 7000+ agriculturally diverse islands.
Some of the most famous of these include the famous mangoes of Guimaras, the legendary dried mangoes of Cebu, and in recent years, the rich, dark chocolate of Malagos in Davao.
However, there’s one regional delicacy that even most Filipino food lovers tend to forget when discussing the country’s best produce: pili nuts.
Why is this the case? Well for starters, they’re not as commonly available nationwide, as pili nuts are notoriously difficult to farm commercially. They grow only in very unique conditions: specifically, the rainfall-(typhoon-)heavy, mineral-rich volcanic soils of the Bicol region. These challenges in growing them are why pili nuts have such a fabled reputation..
Additionally, pili trees don’t bear fruit until they reach at least 5-6 years old. The fruits then have to be harvested by hand, then depulped, cleaned, and dried for at least 3 days. Finally, their rock-hard shells have to be opened by a skilled para-tilad in order to extract the nut whole.
This labor-intensive process makes pili nuts fairly expensive. That’s why you usually find them in only a few specialty stores in Manila. So unless you’re from the Bicol region, you probably haven’t been exposed to the wonders of this protein-rich, buttery, umami-tasting superfood.
Que Rica aims to change that. As a brand that proudly champions Bicolano cuisine, they’ve made it their mission to elevate this often overlooked local snack into its rightful place among the world’s most beloved native delicacies.
To do this, Que Rica has built partnerships with communities of local growers from Irosin in Sorsogon. This intimate, purposeful relationship is a testament to its commitment to ethical sourcing and community involvement. They then select only the finest pili nuts to ensure a pure, umami-rich flavor in every bite. At the kitchen, they’re seasoned and cooked in copper pots, permanently sealing the rich flavors and textures in each nut.
Flavors that hold global allure such as the Philippine Sea Salt, Truffle Pecorino, Davao Chocolate, Coffee-Coco Sugar, and Cinnamon Ginger are put together to come up with such an arresting assortment. These flavors, developed to appeal to the discerning palate of international markets, is part of Que Rica’s vision to have specialty retailers globally carry them. One day, more gourmands around the world can discover the unique delights of this buttery-rich, low-carb superfood.
This visionary brand sees itself one day seated in the pantheons of global Filipino eats: from the arrondissements in Paris to the hip stores in Los Angeles, from the streets of Tokyo to the cool neighborhoods in Manila. That day could come very soon.