Quisina’s Deconstructed Frozen Meals Gives You the Quality of a Dish Made from ScratchMarch 7, 2018
Nina Co is an architect by trade, and tells us that she has no background in cooking other than what she had learned on her own. But found that her knack for design could be applied to food, particularly frozen food, whose convenience she embraced but quality she saw a lot of room for improvement.
“When you cook [frozen food], you know that it’s frozen [food],” she laments. “It’s convenient food, but I felt like it could be done better. that’s what I wanted to do [with Quisina].” Her brand of frozen food that she sells at the Salcedo Saturday Market was an experiment in product design in that it is still easy to store and prepare but feels and tastes homemade.
“Since we do it small batch, everything is fresh so it [tastes] just like your mother’s [cooking] versus mass produced . . . we don’t use preservatives or MSG so it still tastes [like home-cooking].” And with certain frozen meals that are deconstructed, like the salted egg chicken or sweet and sour pork, they almost feel like you made them too when you put the separate packets together—at a fraction of the prep time it would take to normally prepare these dishes. This deconstruction of these fried frozen meals assures a final output that is crispy, fresh-tasting, and unlike any other frozen meal you’d pick up at a grocery.
But these 20-minute dishes are the ones that require the longest time to prepare out of anything in the Quisina line. They also offer frozen meals that you can easily pop into a microwave and consume in 2 minutes. Many of those microwavable dishes are traditional Filipino food made by their partner ‘Quisineras’ from the Quisinera sub-brand, which focuses on providing a platform for Filipino cooks to share their cooking talent.
Co got connected with these ‘Quisineras’ mostly through her friends and recommendations, and what captured her attention was not that they made a classic Filipino dish exceptionally well but rather that they had placed their own creative spin to make its taste unique. One such dish that stole the hearts of the Pepper.PH team, even those who are usually averse to the traditional version, was the smoked dinuguan that demands attention for the deep character of its flavor.
Co even has party-ready food with her freezer-to-pan fried balls that were actually the inspiration and flagship product of Quisina. Before the brand was founded, she would keep a constant supply of these frozen snackables in her freezer at all times in case of guests. Soon, her friends began offering to purchase her popular party snack, and Quisina naturally was born from there.
Going on her fifth year of running a food business, Co admits that while the work can often get exhausting, especially since she mans the Salcedo Market booth herself, the reactions and her interaction with the market-goers reminds her that it’s worth it.
MSG-free, preservative-free small-batch frozen dishes, with a sub-brand Quisinera that offers home-cooked traditional Filipino meals made by partner cooks.