Tambayan is the first Filipino restaurant at Philly’s Reading Terminal Market
Tambayan is a Filipino restaurant in Philadelphia’s historic Reading Terminal Market—and it’s carving out a space for lovers of Pinoy cuisine in the area.
In the Philippine context, the word “tambayan” (a Filipinization of the phrase “stand by,” which now translates to “hangout spot”) can hold a lot of sentimental value. And it’s doing the same for people craving a taste of home or a bite of something new.
The first of its kind in the historic Philly location, Tambayan serves no-fuss, Filipino comfort food. Proprietor Kathy Mirano has had a long history with Reading Terminal Market. She opened Tambayan in 2021 after working for another restaurant in the market for 21 years.
“I’m really, really honored to be here. I’m waving my flag, not only for me but also my fellow Filipinos,” said Mirano in an interview with CBS News Philadelphia.
Mirano’s food is a love letter to the cuisine she grew up with and the family that helped her get to where she is today. The menu reads like home-cooked meals Filipinos grew up eating at home, prepared with love by parents or grandparents.
Dishes like silog (pan-fried cured meat served with rice and egg), lumpia (both fried and fresh), pancit, barbecue, embutido, and meat pies (which are typical bakery fare in the Philippines) are all present on the menu. Aside from savory options, the restaurant also serves an entire page of sweet treats.
Desserts and sweet snacks like the iconic halo-halo, ube jam, mango, matcha, ube cake rolls, and of course, turon are all readily available when the cravings hit. French-style macarons inspired by the flavors of the Philippines are also present on their menu.
Opening a restaurant anywhere is a feat worthy of praise. For Mirano who grew up on the other side of the world, making space for Filipino cuisine in Philadelphia—much less in the iconic Reading Terminal Market—isn’t just a personal victory. It’s an edible representation of Filipino culture.
“It means a lot. I’m not just serving my Filipino food, I’m serving my culture too and that’s the most important thing for me.”