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Saturday, January 28, 2023

In Emy’s kitchen, Filipino food with heart

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Yucatán Magazine
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Emelyn Belogolo Tecson and her son Gabriel prepare for customers shortly before a Saturday-morning Slow Food market day. Photo: Lee Steele / Yucatán Magazine

When Emelyn Belogolo Tecson moved to Mérida from her native Philippines, she brought a knowledge of her native cuisine that became the basis of Emy’s Kitchen.

Today, Emy sells lumpia egg rolls, rice-paper summer rolls, and cheesecake at the Slow Food Market and has expanded into catering parties.

She relocated to Mérida five years ago with her precocious son, Gabriel. Since then, Emy has been improving her English and Spanish and continues that study every day. But mainly, she enjoys cooking and sharing the authentic Filipino flavors of her homeland.

A variety of traditional Filipino food from Emy’s Kitchen brings bright flavors to any party. Photo: Maggie Cale / Yucatán Magazine

Emy grew up on the family farm with three older sisters. Her oldest sister enjoyed cooking for the family and started teaching Emy to cook. Emy then worked in a restaurant, cooking for two years before leaving for college to study nursing. 

To meet her, it is easy to picture her in that role. Emy is compassionate and soft-spoken. She also enjoys fashion and has sold clothes and purses online. When she became a mother, she went back to her roots of cooking and established her business in Mérida.

Thus the beginning of Emy’s Kitchen at the Slow Food Market

Emy started by selling lumpia, a thin pastry-like wrapper with savory fillings of vegetables, pork, chicken or shrimp. They are sold already fried or raw, ready to be finished at home. Summer rolls are vegetables or vegetables and shrimp wrapped in rice paper. They are served raw and have a good, refreshing crunch to them. Everything is prepared bright and early before the market opens Saturdays in the García Ginerés market. 

Emy’s Kitchen is open for business at Mérida’s Slow Food Market. Photo: Lee Steele / Yucatán Magazine

The sauces are what enhance the lumpia or summer rolls’ flavors, and those are made by her American friend, Cathy Quinn, who also assists Emy at the market. Sauces made from peanuts, sweet chili or chimichurri mixtures are what’s normally on offer. 

Emy enjoys the sweets of her country, so she shares those flavors by making either a Filipino cheesecake or cassava cake and sells it by the slice for 30 pesos. Both items have been a delightful treat for her customers. 

Emy’s Kitchen started off great at the market, so she started offering a Filipino dish once a week to be delivered to customers’ homes, served with organic rice. Those dishes are changed weekly, but examples include:

  • Kare Kare, fresh vegetables and a choice of meat or shrimp in a peanut sauce
  • Pancit stir-fried noodles with a choice of pork or chicken and carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and cabbage. It can also be prepared as a vegetarian dish
  • Sweet and Sour Chicken, a citrus-flavored dish with peppers, onion, and fresh pineapple topped with sesame seeds 

Emy then decided to offer party catering for the month of November through to the New Year. However, business has been good, so Emy is going to continue with catering.

Emy’s Kitchen creations are made with her love, cooked from the heart and in her own home kitchen. For catering or information, contact emyskitchen@yahoo.com.

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