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by: Gypsy Chef, Yana Gilbuena

Finding the taste of home is not easy, especially when in a foreign land. As a traveling chef, it’s one of the challenges I faced when doing my 50-state tour doing Filipino food pop-ups.

Filipino food requires at least 3 of the five basic tastes: salty, tangy/sour, sweet, umami and bitter and to be honest, sometimes a heat component (not a taste, but an important factor for flavor depth).

When I was sourcing my ingredients in all the different farmers’ markets, little mom and pop shops and big asian grocery stores, I always keep in an eye out for ingredients that I don’t need to substitute. When I discovered Manila Gold’s calamansi, I was ecstatic. Okay, scratch that, I was over the moon! To find a flavor that I rarely see, let alone in its purest form, was a big game changer for me.

Now, I can make my favorite dishes like Sisig, Inihaw na Isda and Bistek without compromising or settling for alternative flavors.

Manila Gold is not only a lifesaver in the kitchen, but also a cultural preserver. In my style of cooking, where I put emphasis on saying true to the integrity of the traditional flavors with local and seasonal ingredients, having calamansi in its purest form is a gift. From now on, I’m a Manila Gold loyalist. <3

YANA GILBUENA known as the Gypsy Chef is known to have ordained herself to be the evangelizer of Filipino Kamayan dinners. She has traveled 50 states serving Kamayan dinners to everyone. Learn more about Chef Yana at

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