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, fisherfolk, 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 that 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 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 from this joint undertaking. Truly a win-win situation!

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

More ideas on this topic at arlet Brand

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Asian flat bread

There are several varieties of Asian flatbreads 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.

The most popular flatbreads are Naan, Roti Pratha and Chapati.


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

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 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 its shape, reaches very high heat.

The iconic teardrop shape comes from the 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 a 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 with many people.

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


Chapati is unleavened flatbread 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 using different kinds 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 a 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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About mantou, buns and spring rolls

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.

Now for this time – let’s take a moment and go back to the roots

“Mantou” actually 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 represent human heads to worship gods – so to avoid killing innocent 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 – especially 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 its accompanied meat or seafood dish.

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

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

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

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 the Tang Dynasty prepared a pancake, placed it 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 different varieties from different areas in China.

In Chengdu for example – spring rolls are not fried. The wrappers are 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 is bamboo shoots. Other ingredients are beansprouts, eggs, dried tofu, shrimp meat etc. The dried tofu has a special purpose, as it absorbs 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

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Why prefer local seafood

Philippine seafood

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 is internationally well-known and 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.

Methods of catching, handling, and transport

The most common methods of catching seafood are 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 seawater to remain live until they 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.

Buyer preferences

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.

Why local seafood is better

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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Marketing Exclusive Brands

The rationale

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

Through different touchpoints (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 represents.

Out of this experience, you develop your own thoughts, beliefs, feelings, or attitudes toward our brand – your perception of our brand.

On the basis of this 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 the 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.

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.

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 a focus on carrying only the best products for you.

We also cultivate long-term relationships with our production partners, in the same manner we nurture lasting relationships 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

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