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Both - Mantou and Spring rolls are two of these Chinese dishes that conquered the world and are hugely popular in all societies.


They were adopted, twisted and “modified” in almost all cuisines and sparked endless creative recipes and variations.



first pic





Now for this time - lets take a moment and go back to the roots




“Mantou” actualy refers to Chinese steamed buns and they go a long way back in Chinese history - as far back as to the Zhou Dynastie – 771 B.C.


According to Chinese Historians – Mantou was invented to represend human heads to worship gods - so to avoid killing inocent people for that purpose.


They killed animals instead and stuffed their meat into flour dough, shaped like a head and steamed them.









As such – mantou was born and has evolved over time into many popular varieties and usually eaten in place of rice - specially in wheat growing areas in northern China.


Steamed or deep fried - they are perfect not only to fill a hungry man’s stomach, but ideal to soak up the delicious sauce of it’s accompanied meat or seafood dish.


Just imagine a tasty chili crab or a Chinese braised pork belly without this delicious bun to dip and soak up the sauce..




porkbellychili crab


Kids love them with sweet sticky condensed milk or anykind of sweet dipping sauce.



There is no boundry really to what one can do with this delicious bun. They can be used to make “sandwiches” and they can be filled with all kind of seet or savoury stuffings



lady mantou



And what do we know about Chinese spring rolls ?


Before there was the Spring roll as we know it today, people around the time of Tang Dynasty prepared a pancake, placed in on a plate and added special ingredients such as fruits and vegetables on it. The plate then was decorated with different ingredients, depending on the wealth of the family and what they could afford – ranging from simple vegetables to sauces, eggs, meats etc


This was the “Spring Dish” done on the first day of spring, and brought to relatives to celebrate the beginning of spring.

During different Dynasties the preparation has been changed and refined and along the way turned into the Spring Roll, of which there are now differet varieties from different areas in China.


In Chengdu  for example – spring rolls are not fried. The wrappers is prepared simply with water, flour and salt. The wrappers are then filled with fresh vegetables and/or meat, onions, garlic etc. A dipping sauce is made with soy sauce, vinegar, mustard, peanuts and sesame seeds.






In Xiamen – the main ingredient for their fried spring rolls are bamboo shoots. Other ingredients are beansprouts, eggs, dreid tofu , shrimp meat etc. The dried tofu has a special purpose, as it absorbes the moisture of the shrimp and fish etc and prevents the fried spring roll to become soggy.


Hong Kong Spring rolls are very rich and are very popular on dai pai dong’s (street side stalls) - enjoyed with a cup of tea. The filling usually can consist of mushrooms, pork, rice noodles and bamboo shoots




So ...  next time you enjoy your spring rolls or mantou with your friends and family – you have surely something to talk about...

Bon appetit





Published in: News


flat breads


There are several varieties of Asian flat breads and very popular all over the world. These breads are very versatile and can be enjoyed in many different ways. Originally they were used as a food and "eating tool" at the same time, to wrap up other food items such as meats , to dip in curries, soak up sauces etc etc

The most popular flat breads are Naan, Roti Pratha and Chapati





The word “Naan” originates from Persian language and has always been used for  flat bread.


Traditionally, naan bread is baked in a “Tandoor” clay oven in the shape of a barrel, with glowing coals as a heat source.


There are different recipes to make a naan dough – but generally the ingredients include flour, milk, water, eggs, sugar, salt, yoghurt, butter and baking powder or yeast

The dough is rolled and stretched out and then slapped on the side of the hot oven and is cooked  in a very short time, as the tandoor oven due to his shape, reaches  very high heat

The iconing teardrop shape comes from dough being stretched







Roti Pratha


Roti prata is a fried flour-based kind of pancake that is cooked over a flat grill. It is usually served with a vegetable- or meat-based curry and is from Malaysia and Singapore. Prata is also very popular when cooked with stuffing of cheese, onion, banana, red bean, chocolate, mushroom or egg etc.

With all these options for stuffings and/or dips it is very versatile and popular by many people


Is is very different from naan, as it is streched very thin and then folded to trap in air bubbles and then cooked on a flat grill








Chapati is unleavened flat bread originally from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It is a very common staple in South Asia  and has found its way and friends all over the world .


Chapati is made from a firm dough made often from whole grain flour and water . There are different varieties by using diffeerent kind of flour.

Small portions of the dough are rolled out just like tortillas and then cooked on a griddle or a flat grill. In some regions of Nepal and Western India, the chapati is cooked partially only on the flat grill and then put directly on a high flame, which makes them blow up like a balloon. The hot air cooks the chapati rapidly from the inside.

Chapati tastes a little more rustic than the Paratha – especially when done with whole wheat flour.





If you want to try these breads – you don’t need to travel to India, Malaysia, Singapore or anywhere else – just drop by your favourite supermarket near you and look for KAWAN products.





Malaysia based KAWAN is the leading manufacturer of frozen Asian Breads and many other interesting products.

Check the complete available product range here on our website

We at Ascona Int’l Corp. are proud to be the exclusive distributor in the Philippines for these fine products.













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Why Support Filipino Food Producers?

Of course, it is a fact that not all food needed by the end-users can be produced locally. For example, some vegetables and fruits especially those required by institutional customers are not available all-year round or cannot be supplied locally in the desired specifications or volume. Or maybe, some food products can only be produced in other countries by reason of climate, production technology, or even culture.

But still - it's now more than ever that we need to support our local food producers like farmers, livestock raisers, fisher folk, contract growers, processors, or manufacturers. They  play vital roles in the Philippine economy as they:

  • produce food for the Filipino nation

  • provide these food as fresh as can be

  • cultivate and nurture our natural resources

  • provide livelihood and employment to fellow citizens

  • pay taxes to the Philippine government

  • give other benefits to our society

  •  help the economy get back on track during these challenging  times  

    How can consumers and businesses help?

    Consumers can help support them by giving preference to locally produced food products. These products are definitely fresher than those coming from other countries which had been produced relatively some time past and stored for another period of time in importers’ warehouses.

    Businesses requiring food products can help in the same manner as cited above. They can even do more. They can actively work with local food producers in product development.

    Local companies in the food business can work out their product development program alongside local producers particularly the small ones. The former can come up with unique product concepts and attributes which they can jointly research, develop, and produce with local producers.



To illustrate this, a food supplier to institutional clients can identify products that are constantly in demand.  The supplier can specify all the vital product specifications required by their clients – from raw material inputs, growing conditions, processing procedures, production standards, storage requirements, and delivery capability.  The supplier can also provide funding, technology, and management systems.  The supplier and the selected local producers can work closely to come up with the products meeting all the set criteria.


A realistic setting

As a result, the supplier company can provide the food products needed by their client end-users and at the same time help the local food producers grow their business.  All the primary stakeholders – the local food producers, the supplier company, and their client end-users are benefited by this joint undertaking. Truly a win-win situation !

 fruit market

Given the opportunity and production feasibility, consumers and business alike should support Filipino food producers.


More ideas on this topic at





















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With the Philippines’ 7,000+ islands, its surrounding seas are rich fishing grounds. While destructive forms of fishing and environmental pollution have adversely affected the seas’ productivity and future state, Philippine marine resources are still better off than other places in terms of diversity and availability of marine species. Local seafood are still abundantly available almost anywhere, almost anytime (depending on season and weather) – live, fresh, or processed



The richness of the Philippine seas are internationally well-known that many countries import their seafood requirements from the Philippines like tuna, squid, octopus, cuttlefish, crabs, shellfish, seaweeds, and others.

Some foreign fishing vessels are even poaching in Philippine waters.



You can catch and gather seafood almost anywhere in the Philippines. Drop a line-hook-sinker, cast a net, set up a trap, or scour the shoreline – chances are you will catch a fish, squid, octopus, shrimps, lobsters, crabs, or gather some shellfish.

There are several well-known fishing grounds in North Luzon, Eastern and Western Luzon, Southern Luzon, Eastern and Central Visayas, Palawan, and around Mindanao down to Tawi-Tawi.



The most common methods of catching seafood are the fishing line, nets, and traps.

These come in different sizes, numbers, and locations.

Those seafood intended to be sold as live are usually placed in tanks with aerated sea water to remain live until it reach the market. Seafood sold fresh are always put in ice or iced water to maintain their fresh state until sold or further processed.

Seafood caught are transported in fishing vessels of large commercial operators or motorized bancas or small boats of small operators. Those items destined for far places are transported by land vehicles then airplanes.



Most seafood consumers buy them fresh from the public markets or supermarkets. If you are an institutional or wholesale buyer/trader, you usually go to fish ports.

Some buyers prefer their seafood live – fish, crabs, shrimps, lobsters, and shellfish.

There are several vendors in Metro Manila equipped to handle live seafood.


The reasons are obvious. Philippine seafood is better not only in terms of diversity and variety but also because of the choices that consumers have – live, fresh, processed seafood available almost all year-round from your nearby sources/vendors.




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The rationale


Brand is the bridge of trust between a product supplier and its customers.

Through different touch points (like our products and marketing communications), we try to engage you - our customers. We try to reach out to you and build a relationship. Through this relationship you would experience our brand and the various products it represent.

Out of this experience, you develop your own thoughts, belief, feeling, or attitude toward our brand - your perception of our brand.

On the basis of these rationale, we at Ascona International, have decided to carry products with brands that are exclusive to us and that are worthy of your trust and continuous patronage.

The brands


Our house brand is “arlet”.



arlet brand symbolizes local excellence. It has evolved out of a passion to showcase and promote local products that have exceptional quality.

You will have a chance to personally experience the arlet brand of quality this January when we launch our initial seafood range which will include gourmet seafood mixes, squid fillet, octopus, scallops, abalone, nobashi, among other items.






These fresh-tasting seafood items can be prepared and served alone or as main ingredients of your favorite seafood dishes. Watch out for these soon at your supermarket’s frozen food section.

Subsequently, more local products of excellent quality will be launched under the arlet label.





One internationally-known brand we decided to carry and promote in the Philippine market is “Kawan”.




Kawan product mix includes Asian flatbreads, puff pastries, specialty dough products, vegetarian products, samosa, spring rolls, oriental buns, mantou, glutinous rice balls, and halal food.


Ascona International Corporation - Products

Surprise and delight yourself, your family and friends by serving these healthy and tasty food. You can find these in the frozen food section of your favorite supermarkets Ascona International Corporation - Clients



Why exclusive brands

We want you – our valued customers – to have a good perception of our brands.  

This is why we carefully select the brands we carry. We make sure we have the right brands and products for you.

With exclusive brands, we develop focus on carrying only the best products for you.



We also cultivate long-term relationship with our production partners in the same manner we nurture lasting relationship with our customers.


We want our customers to associate these brands only with the reputable image of our company.




We will really appreciate it if you stay in touch with us. We welcome your feedback, which you can send through Ascona International Corporation - Contact Us



Published in: News

Welcome to our new ASCONA blog and our re-designed website.

We have been working very hard over the past few months, to be able to provide you with a more complete range of products, based on our clients’ feedback and extensive market research on customers’ demands.

As such - we are very excited about our current expansion program, in which you will see many new products on offer - be it on the supermarket shelves or in our food service division.

We have developed our new house brand “arlet” with focus on high quality local products. arlet is ready to be rolled out in January. More on “arlet” brand you can find on this website. Also we will be publishing more details in this blog and other social media shortly.




Additionally, we have expanded our current product line with a larger variety of frozen fruits and berries of premium quality. A cost effective alternative for fresh products when out of season and to ensure consistent yield and ripeness for your particular recipes and preparations.






We will be sharing more updates, news, promos and other useful and interesting information regularly in this blog.

For now – we from Ascona Int’l Corp wish you a joyful merry Christmas and a healthy, happy and successful start to 2015



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