March 11-13, 2016 was a heavenly weekend for all the foodies of Cagayan de Oro. It was during this weekend when Big Bite 2016: The Northern Mindanao Food Festival was held at Centrio Ayala Mall. And, oh, what a festival it was!
Big Bite highlighted the flavors and colors of summer, as well as the undeniable cooking talents and skills of Kagay-anons. Naturally, a good number of homegrown delicacies and food businesses were showcased during the festival. And whenever there’s a gathering of homegrown delicacies and businesses, would you expect SLERS to be left out? Of course not!
SLERS and its sister company, Mercedes Bakery, were major sponsors of the event. As such, SLERS prepared a ham slider that was presented during the festival opening program as the Biggest Ham Sandwich. After the unveiling ceremony, VIPs and representatives of various government agencies, NGOs, and the food services industry had a bite of the delicious SLERS ham sandwich. Guests, festival participants, and media personalities were also invited to partake not only of the sandwich, but also other food preparations.
Other than giving everyone at the festival the chance to taste their mouthwatering ham sandwich, SLERS also hosted the Best Ham Sandwich Competition, which had three participating teams: Culinary Institute of Cagayan de Oro, Pilgrim Christian College, and Southern Philippines College.
Each participating team was given two minutes to gather the necessary ingredients from a box onstage. After that, they were given a limited time to prepare their respective sandwiches, which were presented to the judges for tasting and scoring. At the end of the competition, the team from Pilgrim Christian College was given the award for Best Ham Sandwich.
Being a major sponsor, SLERS did not stop at preparing a giant ham sandwich slider and hosting a competition. They also participated in the festival itself by displaying their products at a SLERS booth at Ayala Centrio Mall’s Ground Floor Bridgeway.
At the booth, festival goers were given the chance to taste SLERS’ sumptuous crispy sisig. SLERS is known for taking a Pinoy food favorite and making it even better. Considering how popular sisig is all over the country, we really cannot expect SLERS to pass up the opportunity to create their own version of this all-time favorite dish.
The SLERS sisig is crispy-licious because of the crushed SLERS chicharon added to the usual chopped pork. Topped with a whole egg, the SLERS sisig is made even more special and undeniably delicious. And, guess what? You can buy a pack of fully-cooked SLERS sisig, which you simply need to heat up to enjoy at home! This was on display at the SLERS booth at the Big Bite food festival, along with SLERS chicharon, of course.
Speaking of chicharon, did you know that if it wasn’t for a major problem SLERS had to overcome, we probably wouldn’t ever come to know their beloved chicharon? In 2006, their main meat supplier suddenly closed shop, leaving them scrambling to find another supplier. They ended up buying whole pigs direct from piggeries just to keep their production from going to a standstill.
When Mercedes P. Mejia, who was already managing the business by that time, checked their inventory, she found that they had a ton of pork skin that was just going to waste. Ever the innovator, she took half a kilo of the pork skin and started experimenting with chicharon recipes she got from the Internet. When she finally came up with a recipe that satisfied her, she hired a few kitchen staff and finally introduced us to the crunchy snack we have all come to know and love.
If you had visited the SLERS booth at the Big Bite 2016 Festival, you would have had the chance to get a pack of SLERS chicharon for free for every purchase of SLERS sisig. But don’t worry! You can still buy these two delicious treats at any SLERS store near you. They have booths at all major malls in the city and two SLERS Cafés along Velez Street.
What if you just want to enjoy the taste of their sisig without going through the hassle of heating it up, and crushing the chicharon to mix with the sisig? Well, you don’t have to wait for the next food festival for that. All you need to do is visit SLERS Express Meals at the Ground Floor of Gaisano City. There you’ll get to enjoy not just the sisig and chicharon, but all the other all-day breakfast favorites SLERS has prepared for you!