Add Some Spice Into Your Life With Wakaba!
Ida Damo | Aug 15, 2018
I am not a huge fan of spicy hot food. Lately, I have been experimenting on different spicy food like kimchi, kari, and chili garlic sauce in small doses to slowly acquaint myself with it. Venturing into the spicy world has been an influence by my friends who provide me with food with different levels of spiciness.
Just recently, photojournalist, host, columnist and my mentor Jojie Alcantara gave me a bottle of Wakaba. And I asked what Wakaba meant and what it was.
Wakaba is, yes, chili garlic sauce but a notch higher with onion, dried shrimp, salt, sugar, and vegetable oil. Wakaba means “Way Kaba” or no doubts, no fear. It is loosely based on the Indonesian Sambal sauce which the creator, Andrew Fel Rene “Choi” Dedal tweaked according to the exact taste that he wanted.
Choi’s first batch was way too spicy but he still bottled it up and let the buyers deal with the spiciness with a well-worded warning in the bottle’s label in Tagalog.
Through time and constant innovations, what remains is a blend of spicy yet savoury sauce that blends perfectly well with any dish and hits all the flavor notes that Choi was looking for.
Every ingredient is locally sourced in Davao’s Bangkerohan Public Market. Choi has established a relationship with his suppliers that provide him with only the freshest and best ingredients. From there, it is 4 hours and 30 minutes of labor intensive and precise step by step cooking to produce a batch that has a uniform taste.
A bottle can last from 6 months to a year but I doubt it if it would last that long with the way people have been raving about it. Once opened, you just cannot help but dig in and use it for your dishes that you want to be spiced up.
This former call center agent who studied culinary in a local school on weekends, started with just PhP1,500 and used his Nanay’s metal pot to cook the first batch now produces Wakaba at 200-300 bottles a week and has brought his own giant pot.
Choi’s dream is to start his my own little kitchen and cook food that could eventually become memories to people. “Pretty dramatic but that's my plan. In due time i'll be able to do that. But for now, I am working on pushing Wakaba and make it the official hot sauce of the Phillippines. (Laughs) If Japan has Wasabi, Indonesia has Sambal, Thailand has Sriracha, Philippines has Wakaba!”
How to get there:
Major airlines fly daily to Davao City from Manila and Cebu.
To order Wakaba, text or call 0933-2925598 or thru their FB page: www.facebook.com/wakabasauce