Let’s eat!

A delicious collage by Jan Andrada. 

…A call to a culinary alliance as the 2019 Filipino Restaurant Week unfurled from May 13 to 26 across seven states, including New York, New Jersey, and  Washington D.C.

Two dozen eating places – from sit-down diners with a waitstaff to food court counters and coffee shops – participated. They presented their unique versions of the Philippines’s standard favorites, such as the Pancit, the Adobo, and the Turon. They gave new life to traditional dishes or concocted their own using indigenous ingredients and avant-garde ways of cooking.

Seven restaurants from New York and New Jersey have been with the FRW since it started in 2015: Ugly Kitchen, Purple Yam, Phil-am Kusina, Max’s Restaurant, Maharlika, Jeepney, and Grill 21. They were joined by Tito Rad’s, Swell Dive, Mighty Bowl, Perla in Philadelphia, Kuma Inn, and Kabisera Kape in the succeeding years. 

Ten new restaurants joined this year: The Buren in Brooklyn; Maganda, a pop-up restaurant; Karenderya in Nyack, N.Y.; ASIN in New Jersey; Tanám in Massachusetts; Sarvida and Lalo in Philadelphia; Bistro 1521 in Virginia; Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly in Maryland; and Purple Patch in Washington, DC.

Inspired by the New York Restaurant Week, the FRW participating restaurants served prix fixe meals of three courses: appetizer, entrée, and dessert.  This year, the Philippine coconut is the featured ingredient that is incorporated by the restaurants in any one of their dishes. With its increasing popularity, FRW generates buzz not only within the FilAm community but also in the mainstream gastronomic landscape.  Judging from the social media postings, this year’s FRW was wild! 

Beef Brisket Salpicao by Ugly Kitchen. Photo:  Philippine Consulate NY

Consul General Claro Cristobal is optimistic that FRW 2019 will carry on the growing trend of offering food lovers throughout the US East Coast a “fantastic gastronomic treat which will immerse them into the fascinating tastes of Philippine cuisine.”

Deputy Consul General Kerwin Orville Tate expressed excitement as the project aimed to promote the beautiful and delicious tradition of cuisine and cooking continues to expand in many states across the U.S. He also thanked the chefs and restaurant owners for nurturing the Philippine food heritage.

Consul Arman Talbo presented the participating restaurants before guests, sponsors, and the media at a launch party  held May 8 at the High Bar Rooftop of the Double Tree Hotel, the first time an FRW launch was held outside of the Philippine Center.

“There’s more to explore about our cuisine as the Philippines has many regional specialties which we highlight in our restaurant,”  said Queenie Banez, ASIN’s owner and a two-time national winner of Nora Daza Food Contest in the Philippines.

“We do our best to honor the food and the flavors we grew up with, and we are also very careful to be honest when we take liberties.  Most importantly, we love that we can play a role in starting a dialogue about the food and the culture of the Philippines.  In that sense, we take our role as representatives of our culture very seriously,” said Cheryl Baun, co-owner of Karenderya, a restaurant named by Esquire as one of the 20 Best New Restaurants in America for 2018. 

Joann Canosa, owner of Maganda, said her pop-up and events company not only offers both traditional and innovative Filipino cuisine but uses its platform to “spotlight and empower Pinays all over the world from the tribal Pinays, as depicted in our logo, to the Gen Z Pinays.”

“I am always excited for FRW! It’s a great intro into the yummy world of Filipino cuisine,” remarked chef King Phojanakong, a Culinary Institute of America graduate and the owner of Kuma Inn.

“Savor the best of Philippine cuisine,” urged the consulate in inviting the public to experience Filipino hospitality through FRW.

In short, kain na.

Kabisera Kape’s Augee Francisco offers her Sushi using salted egg and tomato.

© The FilAm 2019

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