Quibranza: An interview: Mark Wiens in Cebu

WORK. Mark Wiens filming at Kuya Simo’s Larangan.
WORK. Mark Wiens filming at Kuya Simo’s Larangan.

The Quibranza family has always been a foodie family from the start. Naturally, the content we consumed evolved as we grew: Think “Caprial’s Cafe,” “Iron Chef,” “Man V. Food,” “Masterchef,” “Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma.”

With YouTube, we’ve arrived at a “renaissance” of food shows — produced by passionate, independent food bloggers from all over the world.

One of them we consider a hero is Mark Wiens (whose content was actually introduced to us by our dad). When the brothers travelled to Hong Kong for the first time, we tried recreating Mark’s video at Yat Lok. We’ve been fans ever since. Of Mark. And of the roast goose.

Mark’s content has always been honest and down-to-earth, yet at the same time, exhilarating and insightful for those who love to dine and discover something new.

When I learned Mark was in town, I just had to meet the guy — shout-out to food blogger Carlo Olano for the hook up. Mark was gracious enough for a short interview about his creative process and his recent Cebu food trip.

(Interview edited for brevity and conciseness).

Luis A. Quibranza III: “Please take me through the thought process of finally covering the food scene in Cebu. What led you to that decision, and how long ago was that?”

Mark Wiens: “I had always heard about Cebu and the delicious food. Of course, it’s famous for lechon. So Cebu has always been on my list. When I saw an opportunity and had a little bit of time, I said, ‘let’s just make it to Cebu and go on a food trip.’

To be honest, this particular trip was planned pretty last-minute within a couple of weeks, but I had been wanting to visit Cebu for years.”

Luis: “How would you best describe the food in Cebu compared to the ones served in Southeast Asian neighbor cities and perhaps, internationally?”

Mark: “Cebu has really a great mixture of flavors and a diversity of tastes. One of the meals that comes to mind is the ‘sutukil’ meal that includes a mix of different dishes.

That combination, it just shows that with every meal, you can have this spread of different flavors — you have a soup, you have something from the grill, you have the acidity of vinegar from the ‘kinilaw.’ That altogether, in a combination of meals—that’s something that really stood out for me.

That just shows the diversity of the cuisine, which is also similar to other Southeast Asian cuisines with the mixture of different dishes. Additionally, I can never get enough of ‘sawsawan.’”

Luis: “If you could pick a particular favorite from your Cebu food trip, what would it be?”

Mark: “I really loved lechon. Lechon did not let me down. That was as good as I had expected. One of the unexpected delicious snacks that I really enjoyed was ‘ginabot,’ but especially when it’s hot and fresh. Flour, fatty intestines, fried hot and fresh, and then you dip that into a bunch of vinegar that needs to be loaded with onions and chilis? That is so good. It’s so crispy.

Probably my favorite dish is ‘kinilaw.’ I love the flavor of ‘kinilaw’ with the vinegar and the ginger, especially; it’s so refreshing.”

Luis: “How do you decide on which places you would like to include in your content?”

Mark: Pretty much my goal is to just always eat at restaurants and places where local people would eat. I mean, that’s really my main criteria. I want to go to places where people enjoy, where people are passionate about the food, where they’re cooking something fresh, where you can see a little bit about the process and that kind of stimulates your food senses.”

Luis: “How was it meeting with the Cebuano fans and followers?”

Mark: “First of all, a huge thank you to the amazing support from all Cebuanos. It’s just overwhelming support and hospitality. We met so many incredible people. I love how you are so passionate about food and about the culture of Cebu. It’s been an extremely warm welcome.

We met so many amazing people. I want to give a big shout-out to Carlo from Kalami Cebu, Bhen and Yuri, and also Stanly from Stanly on Media. They really helped me, took me around and showed me some of the local food of Cebu. Thank you to them.

I also want to say a big thank you to all of the people from Cebu and for your incredible support. I couldn’t have done this without you. Thank you so much and we hope to visit again sometime in the future.”

Like and subscribe to @MarkWiens of Migrationology on YouTube.


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