What If You Open a Filipino Restaurant…

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someonePrint this page

If you open a Filipino restaurant, what would be your menu?

I know, I know. A lot have already been said about Filipino restaurants outside the motherland.
If we miss pinoy food, go home and cook. There is no place like home.
It could never be as good as the way mom cooks it.
Why is Pinoy food not as popular as Thai or Vietnamese?
Yada yada yada.

But let’s not talk about the nitty-gritty details and make things much simpler. Think of this scenario. Say opening a restaurant that would cater to everybody, including non-Pinoy. A foreign country, a place where there is no Pinoy restaurant but there is a market that celebrates cultural diversity through food. People from all walks of life who welcomes good food with good price. Mid-range. Not fine dining, not carinderia-style. Service that would appeal even to the western culture. Authentic pinoy food and well-presented to impress. Don’t worry about the decor; it would definitely be taken good care of.

Please if you don’t mind, I’d like to know what you think by answering the following polls. Here are 3 things that may affect the way you choose. Think of…
1. Food you personally like.
2. Food you think non-Pinoys would like as well.
3. Food you will be proud of, you won’t hesitate to invite your non-Pinoy friends to try.

You may think a certain dish should be a main or you have another in mind that is not in the list. If so, please feel free to leave a comment.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someonePrint this page
I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

23 thoughts on “What If You Open a Filipino Restaurant…

  1. Yaay! This is great, I had to think what I really like most! :D

    There’s a pinoy resto here, I havent tried it there yet coz well carinderia style pero ewan ko iba ang dating…I also heard most pinoy restos here doesnt succeed kasi prices nila mataas…But I did and still am dreaming of putting up one! :) Most of my choices yun ang gusto ko talaga sa menu.

  2. Thanks for your comments, thoughts and, of course, for
    participating in the polls. Like Gmirage, I am dreaming of putting up one
    here in Auckland. Haay.. nangangarap ba…
    Libre naman, di ba? :-)

  3. this idea has been goes through my head multiple times a day. filipinos are one of the most underserved communities (especially here in the US). imagine there are about 62,000 filipinos in nyc and only 10 or so filipino restaurants (and i’d say only 2 worth going).

    to elaborate on gmirage’s point filipinos have got it in their head that filipino food is cheap because i think there has been so many shortcuts made to food production in the philippines that we forget natural and organically grown food is not cheap. take for example, if you serve adobo chicken for USD$20 meal people would flip! because KFC chicken is only USD$9 for a bucket of chicken.

    i believe the best way to introduce filipino restaurant is not to the filipino community but to get non-filipinos’ buy-in and make it trendy and popular like thai food. there are thai restaurants everywhere but it’s not necessarily “real” thai food that’s cooked at home. i think the best thing is to be a trailblazer and changing the attitude of filipinos toward filipino restaurants.

    this is something that i could talk forever about… :) as you can already tell. i would love to hear your thoughts and ideas as well.

    paoix´s last blog post..Adobo Cook-off @ Cendrillon – NYC

  4. I totally agree with what you said. There is a great potential for Pinoy restaurants to prosper in a foreign land. In this city where I’m in, people is quite open to different cuisines. Being great travelers (probably because the country seems to be isolated from the rest of the world) and such a multicultural society, people here are so knowledgeable with a variety of food that I always end up being asked about Filipino food. Dahil dun sila walang alam.

    Being trendy, like you said, is good. Don’t get me wrong. I love carinderia food. We used to own one and I cooked for our carinderia a long time ago back home. But in another country and if the idea is to introduce it to non-pinoys, food can be authentic only to a certain level. It definitely needs to be well presented. Selling is also about marketing and good packaging.

    Today I had lunch with my colleagues (mind u it’s like the United Nations) and we went for Indian. Our Indian officemate recommended it because he says it’s the closest he can get to authentic Indian food. I could totally relate because I know it can never be cooked or presented exactly the way his mom or wife does it. But he loves it and all his friends, too. Our verdict? Oh the loveliest we all had together for months! I could see him so happy and proud and wish I could be in the same situation, too. Same thing with an Indonesian friend of ours. Oh I could say so much about it, too. Paoix you got me so excited!

  5. I really picked those dishes that I loved and those that I think foreigners would eat.
    Fortunately, the US has already been “overrun” by Pinoys that most of the foreigners who either work with or live with Pinoys have already adapted to the Pinoy taste so I think it’s not that hard to let them try.
    I have noticed that Pinoy restaurants here are not that popular. See, we went to one tapos yung food nila is expensive and the servings are quite small compared to the normal servings dito kaya konti lang ang pumunta doon.

    Zriz´s last blog post..False Advertising Part 2

  6. to add on to that observation hindi talaga as authentic as what we have before pero I agree sa mga comments above that it can only authentic to a point.
    I would really want to have a “closer to authentic” Pinoy restaurant here and I hope that it won’t be that expensive.

    Zriz´s last blog post..False Advertising Part 2

    1. Thanks for your thoughts and for participating, Zriz.

      What I have in mind is…
      If I can go to a restaurant and willing to pay a certain amount for good food, then I can spend the same amount for good Filipino food in a another restaurant.

  7. Iska,
    The choices you have are good, but if you want to please the American palata as well and introduce them to Pinoy cuisine, Beef Pares would be a #1 hit to them, more than adobo, as most Americans are beef lover (beef to them is like fish to us, since they have more access to beef, and it is the cheapest meat, especially if you slow cook a chuck roast – the toughest cut – into a savory melt-in-your-mouth goodness, like the beef pares).
    Anyway, you have been awarded the Lemonade Award here for your unrelenting unselfish, sharing and caring attitude, and your sense of gratitude to everyone who makes a contribution to the growth of foodie community. Please continue with your good work!

    Manang´s last blog post..Lemonade Award from Yummy As Can Be

    1. I will add Beef Pares to the list and take note that it was included quite late. Thanks for your thoughts. Beef is also quite cheap here in NZ.

      And thanks heaps for that Lemonade Award!

  8. Hi Iska, this post and polls made me really think ha! The lone Filipino restaurant in the whole of Holland went out of business +1 year ago. Trouble was, the owner thought she can cook because once upon a time she was hired as an assistant cook in my ex-bf’s restaurant, but she just couldn’t, and in the process she lost six digits.
    Finding someone who really can cook is a top factor for a restaurant to be successful, next is food presentation and third, commitment as it’s a whole day work for the cook. From finding & buying
    of supplies to standing almost the whole morning in the kitchen preparing til evening when orders arrive…whew, a lot of hard work!
    Ah, how I wish my maternal grandma’s still alive, she had a mini carenderia which people from outside manila flocked on lunchtime, that I will never forget.
    sensha na, napa kuwento pa =)

    1. Definitely, it should have a professional cook. When I was in Beijing, I was almost tempted to open a home-style resto (which was quite fashionable in major cities like Beijing, HK and Singapore) but I told A I don’t think I can handle the stress. I’m too lazy for that hehehe Nag-carinderia din kasi kami and I know it needs full time, attention and hard work.

  9. hello iska,lahat masarap, eh kaya lang may mga nag kabaligtad lang eh,merong pang main coures na hindi para doon,meron rin na pang starter hindi rin para doon?pero lahat nang iyan eh para sakin eh the best!be proud to be a filipino!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Hehe oo nga, meron ngang mas bagay na starter at meron naman para sa iba ay main sya. But if you could comment on which one, at least malaman natin kung san sila mas babagay :-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge