Gng. Bukid Fights for the Integrity of Food Through Their Stellar Breads and PastriesFebruary 17, 2018
“[Gng. Bukid] was born out of [the] frustration with what’s locally available,” explains Mike Policarpio of the humble Makati-based bakery. The use of preservatives, enhancers, and other artificial ingredients was especially prevalent at the time, he continues, which came at the expense of people’s health. Though formerly business owners in the toys and novelties arena, the fall of their old enterprise—coupled with the said dissatisfaction they’d held—compelled Policarpio and wife Aigrette Cuatico to instead move into the food industry, despite not having any prior experience (aside from being “very good eaters” who’d grown up with mothers who cooked well). More than being a bakery offering a wide selection of local and global cakes, pastries, and breads, Gng. Bukid is their way of fighting against the highly-processed current of food today. And they do this by adopting a simple but powerful philosophy: to bake from scratch, using ingredients that are recognizable and real sans unnecessary chemicals and preservatives.
Cuatico began to experiment with baking, initially with a small La Germania oven they owned at home (“that got really beaten [up],” she laughs), but soon with a bigger oven as she got better at the craft. They soon joined the then-new (and then-small) Salcedo Market, a Philippine Daily Inquirer feature on which especially helped propel them and their signature Maja Blanca to fame. Though initially focused on selling cookies and brownies (hence the name—”Gng. Bukid” being a reference to the American brand Mrs. Fields), Cuatico branched out to include breads and other yeasted goods consistent with their credo of being made with no sneaky ingredients and no shortcuts. Policarpio (who admits he does not bake, but does the ingredient-sourcing and marketing) personally mans their booths and interacts with market-goers, which not only lets him get feedback on their products, but also allows him to educate customers and spread their advocacy.
We want to show people that it can be done better.”
More than a decade past their initial debut, Gng. Bukid retains their Makati outlet along Pasong Tamo (now across the street from their original location, inside La Fuerza II Plaza) where they bake and sell their signature breads, cookies, cakes, and other sundries, even on weekdays. They no longer sell at the Salcedo Market but continue to set up weekend market booths up North: at the Greenfield Weekend Market on Saturdays, and the Sidcor Sunday Market on Sundays. While you’ll find a number of constants (including their best-selling Pandesitos, Levain, and 10-Grain Bread), offerings are changed up from time to time and you’ll always find something new to look forward to. Here are some of our favorites:
Gng. Bukid proudly proclaims their version of the classic Filipino coconut pudding to be “the best in town”. Just gelatinous enough to hold its shape before revealing its full-on creaminess in the mouth, this simple but stellar rendition is a far cry from the many stiff, gummy versions available elsewhere. In each spoonful you get just enough sweetness, some crunch from the corn kernels, and a sprinkling of toasted grated coconut for a savory contrast.
Made with no fat, dairy, sugar, nor additional preservatives (this spoils fast so store this in the fridge or freezer), you’ll instead find a whopping 10 different grains—wheat, rye, corn, millet, flaxseed, oats, triticale, barley, soybeans, and brown rice—in each loaf. Each slice juggles nuttiness and a slight sourness with its tender but hearty texture. While it’s great for just about any sandwich you can imagine, it’s flavorful enough that we’d enjoy it on its own.
Chicken Sandwich with Sliced Oranges and Sunflower Seeds
Gng. Bukid also offers freshly-prepared sandwiches at the Pasong Tamo outlet, with fillings that change up from time to time. This simple but hearty combination juggles lean chicken and pesto with juicy slices of orange and sunflower seeds for a subtle, nutty crunch. Served on their flatbread, it makes for a substantial snack or a balanced but filling lunch option you can nosh on on the spot, or take with you on the go.
A baking venture that specializes in baked goods from around the world, made with no additional preservatives.