It’s always a must to try local delicacies when travelling to any destination within the Philippines. This, however, may prove difficult for those who follow dietary restrictions.
If you’re a vegan who’s visiting Cavite, worry no more for the province boasts of a plant-based café called Hidden Wonders.
Situated in Bacoor City, this restaurant serves food that’s wholly organic, without salt, oil, added sugar, dairy or GMO ingredients.
Their best seller is the Utmost burger which is 95 percent organic. Its recipe is completely vegan and made from nutritious, whole food ingredients with plenty of spices that make a delicious patty. Even the burger buns are made of organic flour.
To add flavor, the restaurant’s ketchup and mayo are made of tofu.
According to the owner of Hidden Wonders, they import their ingredients from different countries such as Sri Lanka, Iran, Egypt and Japan among others.
Aside from the Utmost burger, below are some of the other offerings in the restaurant.
They have the best sugar-free non-dairy Matcha milk tea.
They also serve their locally grown potato no-oil fries.
Their Cinnamon Rolls are made of organic all purpose flour and dates, almond milk, organic Ceylon Cinnamon, and Sourdough Starter.
They are also proud of their versions of pandesal and apple pie.
In an interview with The Cavite Rising, Hiiden Wonders owner Randy Wyche shared that his business is his lifestyle.
“Mataba ako dati eh. Alak dito, alak doon. Until one day, hindi na kinaya ng katawan ko. I decided to be healthier,” said Wyche.
He then completely changed up his routine. From a meat-eater, he focused more on unprocessed foods and eating more plants.
Following his diet plan, he is more on whole food plant-based, meaning the emphasis is on whole grains and nuts for protein.
“Habang ginagawa ko siya, hindi ako mapakali. Nagbasa ako nang nagbasa. I do research. Doon ko nalaman na wala sa mga vegan restos dito sa Pinas ang nagse-serve ng mga pagkain na wala itong tatlo: salt, oil, sugar,” he explained.
“Hindi talaga nawawala yung isa. Kung walang asin at asukal, merong oil. Kung walang oil at sugar, meron namang salt. Iniisip ko, bakit hindi nila kayang mawala itong tatlong ‘to? Doon ako na-challenge. Sabi ko, I want to make food with organic ingredients, no salt, no oil, and no added sugar.”
Wyche then started to make his dreams happen five years ago. This included whole-food research, creating his own recipe, planning his business, making connections, and building his own restaurant.
Just like any other startup, Wyche didn’t have a smooth start. Filipinos are generally meat lovers and for decades, the Philippines has had no reputation of being a whole food plant-based country.
“Noong nagsisimula ako sa ginagawa ko, ang dami kong naririnig. Sinasabi nila na nababaliw na ako. Sino ang bibili niyan? Walang kuwenta yung pinatutunguhan nito. But I didn’t listen to them, kasi naniniwala ako sa pangarap ko,” he said.
“Maraming nawala sa akin, sasakyan, bahay, sapatos para rito. Naalala ko nawalan kami ng ilaw for three months, para lang sa research na ito. Pero hindi ko siya tiningnan na ganoon, tuloy pa rin ako. I took every problem positively.”
“Ang daming hindi naniniwala sa akin. Pero yung asawa ko, hindi niya ako iniwan.”
He also explained that plant-based food industries have gained prominence over the years not only because it’s more environmentally sustainable, but also for its real health benefits.
“Many Filipinos are now health-conscious. Given the pandemic, ang dami nang naghahanap ng totoong pagkain, yung healthy, plant-based, and organic. Minsan nga, may pumupunta ditto sa store, nagmamakaawa na baka raw may pandesal pa kami, may apple pie, kahit isa lang,” he shared, drawing laughter.
Wyche said what they serve is not just food but a lifestyle. It is something that should be shared and continued for the people who need it the most. Every time they are serving anything from their menu, customers are buying not just their products, but the five years of research in mastering the recipes.
Up to this day, Wyche said he’s been busy studying and creating new masterpieces that will be hitting their menu soon. This includes gluten-free bread.
Located within close proximity to SM City Bacoor, Hidden Wonders is definitely the new whole food plant-based haven in Cavite.