Everyone who's had a childhood will have fond memories of street food -- it's accessible, simple, nostalgic, and something ultimately comforting that always reminds us of a place and time that was humbling and fun (this is also why we're fond of 'throwbacks,' after all). And as full-grown foodies, we appreciate these simple streetside and late-night noms especially when we travel -- eating these treats also give us a delicious idea of a country's culture.
It's no different for Cibo's Chef Margarita Fores -- traveling to Italy for her will not be complete without enjoying street food, and so for this year, Cibo's 20th in the business, she is sharing her street food love with her own takes on some of Italy's well-loved street food. Cibo di Strata is the new street food menu of the Italian restaurant, which is exclusively available at the SM Aura, Taguig branch. Each order from the Cibo di Strata menu is priced at P249 each, and they are served on paper cones to give you a more casual eating experience (also, a nice way to make these street food items a grab-and-go order, perhaps serve as movie snacks when you head to the cinemas).
"Actually, in the year 2000, we made an effort to serve street food at our first store in SM. Year 2000, so seventeen years ago, and like many of the things that we've done, sometimes it's a little bit too early for its time," Chef Margarita explains. "We were actually doing risotto balls there and doing the porchetta sandwich but maybe it was too early, and maybe that's why it's also a perfect thing for us to be launching our street food back here in an SM property, here at SM Aura."
Cibo di Strada includes their take on Arancini (P249), risotto balls that are deep fried and stuffed with cheese. Traditionally arancini is made from leftover risotto so nothing goes to waste. Cibo's rice balls are stuffed with mozzarella cheese and come with a creamy chili aioli dipping sauce, and you can have their arancini in three flavors: in Bologna-style beef and pork ragu and mozzarella; in stewed tomato, mozzarella, and basil (or 'a la telefono' like their best-selling pasta); andin porcini mushrooms, gorgonzola, and mozzarella. Deep-fried, crunchy yet filling with rice, and gooey with cheese -- it's an unbeatable mix and definitely comfort food stuff!
If we have our Pinoy barbecue, Italians have their Arrosticini (P249), skewered meats popular in Abruzzo, Center Italy. At Cibo, they offer cubes of beef tenderloin on a stick with chili flakes, served with Tuscan whole wheat. If you're craving for crunch, then have the Fritto Misto (P249): a cone stuffed with deep fried battered shrimp, squid, zucchini, eggplant, and lemon. The fried lemon slice was a great surprise, and is great to nibble on in between bites of the crispy seafood to lend some zest and acidity.
Another street food Chef Gaita is obsessed with is the deep-fried crescent shaped pockets called Pizza Fritta (P249). The Neapolitan fried pizza is dunked in a deep fryer rather than baked in an oven, and this makes each bite extra crispy, while its filling is warm and gooey. Cibo's Pizza Fritta comes in three flavors: in prosciutto cotto, bel paese (creamy Italian cheese), mozzarella, and fontina; in tomato and mozzarella (a personal favorite); and a dessert variant filled with nutella and banana. The savory pizza frittas come with groviera cream for more flavor.
Cibo's Porchetta Panino (P299) is actually not new, but comes highly recommended by the chef herself for everyone to try, since this sandwich is also considered classic street food. The crusty roll is a filling sandwich of thinly sliced porchetta (roast pig) smeared with apple and pear mostarda that give it a distinct fruity sweetness, while arugula balances every bite with a refreshing crunch and a pleasantly peppery, slightly bitter finish.
The Cibo di Strata menu will be available starting June 26, 2017, exclusive to the Cibo SM Aura branch, while the Pizza Fritta is available across all Cibo outlets. Get a 20% discount on a single order of any pasta dish at Cibo (dine in or take out) when you order a Pizza Fritta from June 26 to July 27, 2017, Mondays to Thursdays only.
Visit Cibo at the following branches: Glorietta 4, Shangrila Plaza, Alabang Town Center, Promenade Greenhills, Gateway Mall, Greenbelt 5, Power Plant Mall, Eastwood Mall, Robinsons Magnolia, Mega Fashion Hall, and SM Aura Premier. Visit www.cibo.ph, like Cibo on Facebook (/ciboPH) and follow on Instagram (@ciboph).