Filipino Restaurant Week delights the Big Apple

/ 01:27 AM June 18, 2019

June 12 celebrations at Tsismis NYC with Chef Jappy Afzelius, featured chef at New York Times. INQUIRER/Carol Tanjutco

NEW YORK — It was another gastronomic adventure for Filipino Americans and their friends in and around New York when most awaited Filipino Restaurant Week kicked off.

A total of 24 restaurants and pop-ups presented culinary delights, from traditional home-cooking to international fusion highlighting the innovative use of coconut.

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Inspired by the New York Restaurant Week, the participating restaurants served set meals of at least three courses:  appetizer, entrée and dessert.

Foodies were feted to a unique cultural experience of Filipino culinary identity and flavors, from carenderia favorites and rice bowls to kamayan style (eating with bare hands).

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At the Week’s launching sponsors, chefs and guests from the tri-state region filled the Highbar Rooftop on West 40th Street, overlooking the Hudson River.

New Jersey based Asin, owner Queenie Banez (above) prepared braised short ribs and pinangat; Ugly Kitchen treated guests to a kamayan feast (foreground). INQUIRER/Carol Tanjutco

The first-ever Filipino Restaurant Week in 2015 was organized by the Philippine Consulate General New York with 13 participating restaurants to put a spotlight on Filipino cuisine.

Deputy Consul General Kerwin Orville C. Tate and Consul Arman R. Talbo officially presented and thanked this year’s participating restaurants. With the support of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC, restaurants from Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC joined for the first time, in addition to restaurants from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.

Ten new participants were The Buren in Brooklyn; Maganda, a pop-up restaurant; Karenderya in Nyack, NY; ASIN in New Jersey; Tanám in Massachusetts; Sarvida and Lalo in Philadelphia; Bistro 1521 in Virginia; KuyaJa’s Lechon Belly in Maryland; and Purple Patch in Washington, DC.

Seven restaurants in New York and New Jersey have supported the Filipino Restaurant Week since its inception: Ugly Kitchen, Purple Yam, Phil-am Kusina, Max’s Restaurant, Maharlika, Jeepney and Grill 21.

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Downtown NY Kabisera Kape owner Auge Francisco (above) presents her version of salted egg sushi and buko sherbet; young Fil-Am Joan Canosa (foreground) of Maganda pop-up restaurant and events company prepares fusions that cater to Gen XYZ. INQUIRER/Carol Tanjutco

Also participating this year and the previous years were Tito Rad’s, Swell Dive, Mighty Bowl, Perla in Philadelphia, Kuma Inn and Kabisera Kape.  ASIN offers authentic home-style Filipino food inspired with the mission of bringing Filipinos closer to home through food as well as introducing Philippine cuisine to the culinary world map.

“There are more to explore about our cuisine as the Philippines has many regional specialties which we highlight in our restaurant,” said Quennie 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.

At Manhattan, Grill 21 owner Rose Teves (standing Left) serves all-time favorites starting at $9 lunch combo; NQUIRER/Carol Tanjutco

The closing event was held at Ugly Kitchen NYC where Chef Aris Tuazon presented a “kamayan” feast  attended by food enthusiasts, restaurant owners, partners and sponsors, with raffle prizes awarded.  Instagram food blogger “foodglitz” Emmeline Robles won a round-trip ticket to the Philippines courtesy of Philippine Airlines, and a culinary tour provided by the Department of Tourism New York Office.

Philippine culinary specialties is well-received and recognized in the Manhattan scene. The recent addition of Tsismis NYC at downtown Orchard Street sparked curiosity among mainstream food enthusiasts as Chef Jappy Afzelius was featured in local news and the New York Times.

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal encouraged support for Filipino restaurants and the promotion of Philippine cuisine even as the Filipino Restaurant Week has ended. In closing he remarked, “Make everyday a Filipino restaurant day.”

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TAGS: Filipino cuisine, Filipino food, Filipino Restaurant Week, Filipino restaurants in New York City
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