When I think of South America, three things usually come to mind: chiseled bodies; sandy beaches and lush forests; and that girl from Colombia who was robbed of a Miss Universe crown by Steve Harvey. Rarely do I associate the region with food, because one, I’m not exactly an adventurous eater; and two, I’d rather have my mother’s cooking any day of the week. The latter is something I apparently share with the owners of Naxional — a new South American diner in UPTown Parade, BGC. Anyone thinks their own mother’s cooking is the best. What I discovered, however, is that sometimes another mother’s cooking can be just as good as yours.
Originally conceptualized by Raymund Magdaluyo of the Red Crab Group, Naxional brings traditional, home-cooked Latin flavors into the spotlight. Many of the restaurant’s partners grew up in South America, including Vanessa Matsunaga. She brought her brother and mother — Daniel and Gege Matsunaga — on board and it became a full-fledged family affair. Lei Norwood, fellow Naxional partner and wife to Fil-Am basketball player Gabe Norwood, shared that their collective passions for South American food fueled the birth of the diner. “All our experiences were put together, and allowed us to have a unique and exciting concept of bringing the Latin American culture to Manila. We are excited to share our favorite flavors with everyone.”