On a good sunny day, under the cool shade of a mango tree, the boys bring out the beer and “pulutan” for an afternoon of drinking, in Tagalog, “inuman”. The term inuman has its negative connotations, which usually means hours of drinking alcohol bottle after bottle until everyone gets drunk or until they run out of pulutan. But for some inuman is being in good company, sharing endless stories, and, enjoying unlimited good food and cold beer.
The art of eating “pulutan” during a drinking session may be attributed to the Spanish culture of tapas-tapas. However, the Spanish tapas-tapas is a non-drinking food. Eventually pulutan emerged as a distinct cuisine accompanied by alcohol and became a norm in the Philippines. It was the perfect combination – inuman at pulutan.
That perfect combination is now making waves here in Toronto. The Filipino beer, San Miguel Beer, is finding its way around town. San Miguel Beer has been in Canada for 14 years. In December 2015, Pacific Ark took over the sole distributorship of San Miguel Beer. Through their efforts, SMB is now sold in 100 LCBO stores and over 100 restaurants. They hope to reach the mark of a million units sold per year in the next 5 years. According to Miguel del Rosario, Sales Manager of Pacific Ark, the marketing push is to get it into the mainstream. “The difference you can actually see it in our packaging. We actually made it a point to make a different packaging for North America.”, says Miguel. There will be billboard ads to target the Asian population north of the GTA . “It will be in buses and bus stops,” Miguel adds.
Across the globe, the inuman and the pulutan finally found each other in one of the streets of Baldwin Village in the heart of downtown Toronto. The owners of Platito Filipino Soul Food, Jonathan Mirasol and Derek Linay, wanted to be true to their heritage and was searching for a potential partnership with SMB. According to Jonathan, “Because we are opening up a Filipino restaurant, we want to be sure that we serve Filipino beer.” Even before the restaurant opened, there has been talks to permanently etch the partnership all over the restaurant. The SMB artwork is visible on the walls of both floors of the restaurant. With summer just around the corner, Platito is a place to go to for a perfect inuman spot. The matching of a sizzling sisig with a cold bottle of San Miguel Beer is incomparable. But for those with a true north taste bud, try the chicken and (ube) waffle with the beer. Oh, you should try it! But I guess, a cold bottle of SMB combined with any Filipino food will truly satisfy your palate. Whether it’s a merienda, inuman or a regular meal.For those who have been living here in Canada for years, we should all be proud and excited with the growing presence of SMB in restaurants across the city. Miguel adds, “Every Filipino knows San Miguel (beer). It’s like part of our culture. We know it from birth. It’s there in every occasion, in every gettogethers. If there’s one constant thing that’s there, it is San Miguel (beer).” Thus truly exemplifying the beer’s slogan, “Iba ang may pinagsamahan.”
Platito Filipino Soul Food is temporarily closed due to the recent fire on Baldwin Street. Coowner, Jonathan Mirasol, is requesting patrons to be patient. In the meantime, Platito will be participating in various food festivals this summer.