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Published in: News

As a professional Chef myself , of course I am passionate and very particular about freshness of food in general and I support and promote the use of fresh ingredients.

Seafood in particular is one of the most delicate products we use and if it comes to freshness and spoilage there is zero tolerance for compromise!

 

I love to eat and to work with fresh seafood – but what does “fresh” really mean?

 

The terms “Fresh” and “freshly caught” or the ever popular term “catch of the day” are in most cases misused and a false statement.

Fish and seafood are so delicate and have such a short “shelf life” that except

you are dining in a rather small port town or fishing village, you will hardly ever get the “catch of the day” !

port

catch of day

Another unfortunate fact is also that the best quality seafood is mostly designated for export first and only the rest is destined for the local market! Walking the local “Dampa” sometimes is rather disappointing when on the search for fresh and good quality seafood !

Even in the bigger cities – “fresh fish” offered is not really as fresh anymore – as the transport from the port of the fishermen to the markets and processing plants in the city just takes too long to maintain optimal freshness.

 

One sensible solution to tackle the freshness challenge is obviously to process and freeze the products within the shortest possible period of time, on the same day within just a few hours.

That’s the only way to preserve freshness, smell, taste, texture and nutritional values of the seafood and guarantee an "as freshly caught" tasting experience

squid

shrimp

 

There are also several advantages to buying and and using frozen seafood !

With today's technology, the fish you pull from your freezer is delicious, nutritious, more economical, and often better for the environment—and fishermen—than so called fresh-caught seafood.

 

  • Fresh fish often has to be shipped by air to reach most consumers; frozen can be transported by shipping vessel, rail or truck with significantly lower environmental impact.

  • Without the urgent pressure to deliver “fresh” fish immediately, fishermen can have a safer timeline in which to bring their catch from sea to table. They also can choose to fish in safe weather conditions only.

  • As a consumer, you use only what you need, by pulling from the freezer exactly the amount you need—when you need it—you avoid wasting highly perishable fresh fish and seafood

  • Get the best seafood year-round.Taste and nutrition are locked in when fish and seafood is fresh frozen at the source and you're never restricted to just what's available “fresh” and in season today

seafood mix

How to choose frozen seafood?

  • When choosing frozen seafood in the supermarket, ensure the bag is properly sealed and the content is IQF (individually quick frozen) which allows you to remove just the right amount from your freezer at home as you need it, without having to defrost the entire batch

    • Choose frozen seafood without ice crystals, as ice crystals are a sign that the product has been frozen too slowly, has started to thaw during the transport or the freezer has reached a too warm temperature.

    • Always check the expiry date

How to keep and thaw frozen seafood ?

    • Store it in your freezer for up to five months. Do not refreeze, as you will lose quality.

  • Thaw frozen seafood in the refrigerator overnight, placing it in a dish to catch any water that melts off. Avoid thawing at room temperature or in warm water, as it will negatively affect the texture.

fisherman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: News

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.

 

mantou

 

 

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.

 

freshspringroll

 

 

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

daipaidong

 

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

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.

 

mantou

 

 

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.

 

freshspringroll

 

 

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

daipaidong

 

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

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.

 

mantou

 

 

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.

 

freshspringroll

 

 

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

daipaidong

 

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

Their Contribution to Various Industries

The Filipino Folk Fishermen (FFF) or the small-scale fishermen contribute significantly to various industries like hotel, restaurant, and food service as they provide the bulk of their seafood requirements.

crabfish1

They supply a big portion of the fresh and chilled seafood, of the frozen and processed fishery products supplied through processors, and the live fish and crustacean in the local market.

FFF’s catch marine products (fish, crustacean, mollusk, and shellfish from the sea) using small “bancas” and simple fishing gears like nets, traps, and spear guns.

They still follow the traditional low-tech method of catching fish, which by the way is generally supportive of sustainable development and preservation of marine resources, except for a few who engaged in destructive methods.

Many FFF’s also tend relatively small fishponds and fish cages for aquaculture production of some marine and freshwater specie.

Their Problems

During the past few years, the fish catch of FFF’s (also called the “municipal fishermen”) have continued to dwindle.

 

chart

Graphics credit: Bureau of Agricultural Statistics

 

One reason for the dwindling catch in 2014 as cited by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics is the series of weather disturbances in Visayas and Mindanao (http://www.bas.gov.ph/?ids=fisheriessituation ).

 

There are other reasons attributed to by other sectors for this diminishing catch.

As such, the FFF’s are now forced to go further out at sea hoping to catch more. In so doing, they spend more on fuel for their bancas, manpower, and others thus increasing their cost of catching fish and other marine products

With higher cost of operation, they have to sell their limited catch at higher prices. Many of them cannot even eat their own catch as selling these at higher prices is the wiser thing to do.

Even with prices of marine products going up, the FFF’s remain poor and marginalized.

squidfish 1

What Can Be Done to Help Them ?

The government has come up with several programs not only to produce adequate supply of good quality and affordable fishery and aquaculture products but more importantly to uplift from poverty the fisher folk numbering about 1.6 million

 

http://www.infofish.org/wp-content/uploads/Country-Profile-PHILIPPINES-06-2012.pdf .

 

The private sector like the institutional buyers can do their share to help improve the FFF’s plight.

The institutional buyers may deal directly, time and distance allowing, with marine culture parks developed under the government initiatives.

They may buy from “biyaheros” who are dealing directly with communities of FFF’s.

This way, there is only one middleman to add cost to the supply chain. The “biyaheros” perform logistic functions that are necessary to bring the fishery products from the fishing communities to corporate buyers in Metro Manila.

The institutional buyers may also deal directly with wholesalers/marketers who source frozen or processed fishery products from processors located at different regions of the country to whom the FFF’s sell their individual catch.

The wholesalers/marketers perform not only logistics functions but they also do product development, nationwide sourcing, and quality assurance.

While institutional buyers cannot deal directly with the FFF’s in most cases, they can help indirectly by purchasing their seafood from entities mentioned above or those in the supply chain that give the most cost-effective and long-term support to the FFF’s.

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

 

 

Naan

 

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

 

 

tandoornaan

 

 

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

 

prata

Chapatti

 

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.

 

chapati

 

 

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.

 

 

kawan

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: News

Why Support Filipino Food Producers?

 Local food producers like farmers, livestock raisers, fisher folk, contract growers, processors, or manufacturers 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

     

    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.

 

fisherman

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

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.

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

 

More ideas on this topic at http://ascona.com.ph/index.php/arlet-brand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: News

 

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

 

seafood1

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.

 

SOURCES

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 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.

seafood2

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.

 

seafood3

 

Published in: News

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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