Watch out, America: according to the Huffington Post, Filipino food has “all the trappings of the next big ‘it-cuisine’”. Ten years ago it may have been difficult to find outside of major centres of Filipino immigration, but as people discover south-east Asia’s cozy home cooking, restaurants are popping up all over. Whether you’re taking a vacation to New York and want to find the best eats on your cheap holiday, or you grew up in the Philippines and miss the flavours of home, here are a few of the most popular Filipino restaurants in the US:
Maharlika Filipino Moderno
New York has its fair share of Filipino eateries, and Maharlika Filipino Moderno on First Avenue is one of the best. Diners here can tuck into delicious, fresh dishes that reflect the flavours of the Philippines, presented with contemporary elegance and flare. Offerings include the Filipino speciality of balut, which is a fertilised duck egg, and lechon kuwali, a plate of salt-cured crispy pork belly served with seasonal market greens. If you’re after a pork feast, indulge in Pampangan-style sizzling sisig, a combination of pig ears, snout, cheek and belly cooked three ways.
Another Big Apple eatery that has established itself firmly on the US Filipino dining scene is Grill 21. Located on East 21st Street, this fusion restaurant offers traditional Filipino dishes with a modern twist and it prides itself on the taste, texture and presentation of its food. Lucky customers can take their pick from a broad menu, including pork binagoongan, a dish of pork chunks sautéed with shrimp paste. With great food and reasonable prices, it’s no wonder this restaurant has a real buzz.
A day’s drive south of New York, Virginia Beach is a popular cheap holiday spot for residents of the East Coast. If you find yourself nearby, head to Susan’s Kitchenette. Susan specialises in authentic Filipino cooking, and head chef Fely T Galang has received acclaim for her delicious dishes, which include lumpia, a type of egg roll, and pancit rice noodles. Diners are also big fans of the steamed sweet buns called siopao.
On the other side of the country in San Francisco, California, hungry office workers and local Filipinos flock to an unassuming food truck parked in the Financial District near Union Square and the Cable Car terminus. The long lines betray this local secret – the Señor Sisig truck dishes up the sort of affordable, homemade Filipino-California fusion food that will make you want to up sticks and move to SF. While not traditional, the Sisig tacos and burritos wrap up tender, marinated pork shoulder that will leave you stuffed but hungry for more.
Down the coast in LA, head to K-town (Koreatown, that is) for a well-loved, if slightly out-of-place, Filipino restaurant called Adobo Hut. The menu offers tasty and authentic treats including pork and chicken adobo, lumpia and made-to-order breakfast, and is popular with the local Filipino community. Situated within a food court on Wiltshire Boulevard, this small and sunny eatery is well worth a visit.