NEW YORK CITY – Foodies in New York and New Jersey will once again feast on authentic, bold and innovative Filipino dishes as Filipino Restaurant Week 2016 kicked off May 11 at the Philippine Center with the 15 participating restaurants offering samples from their menus.
Filipino Restaurant Week, or FRW 2016 features 15 Filipino restaurants that offer fixed price three-course lunches and dinners ($25 and $35, respectively, not including taxes and gratuity) that showcase the best of Filipino cuisine. It runs from 16 May through 27 May 2016.
FRW was first launched in 2015 in response to the growing popularity of Philippine cuisine in the US mainstream and to put the spotlight on Filipino restaurants in New York and New Jersey.
Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. presented to the press the participating restaurants, stating, “Whatever the form, foodies are assured of a unique gastronomic experience that will give them a grasp of the equally eclectic Filipino identity and culture.”
Kat Popiel, entrepreneurial content marketer and producer, integrated digital campaign expert, international food and travel blogger and a foodie “of the highest order,” congratulated the organizers of FRW 2016, citing it as a way to boost the growing popularity of Filipino food.
“It’s an exciting time for Filipino food. We’re seeing our dishes take hero status
because of the likes of Jeepney’s Kamayan feasts in New York and Alvin Cailan’s Unit120 incubator in California, then watching those ingredients and flavors permeate other menus,” Popiel said.
Addressing the challenges faced by Filipino restaurateurs in mainstreaming
Filipino food, Popiel cited the importance of staying true to the authentic flavor of the food, supporting each other and being bold in putting Filipino cuisine on the food map.
“While it is important to hang on to the authenticity of our dishes, we need to feel confident that our cuisine is there to be shared with everyone, no matter the variations or changes made,” she said. “Taste should always be the central force. After all, our culinary DNA has always been a halo-halo of flavors as a result of our socio-political history. It’s this history that has made us fiercely proud to be Filipinos, always warm, open and hospitable. We must do the same with our food. It takes a full barrio to push Filipino food forward, from the restaurant to the chef to the food lover – let’s do it together.”
Food week participants are Filipino chefs and restaurant owners who blazed the trail in elevating Filipino food into New York City’s mainstream consciousness through their creative work and bold business ventures, either through pop-up eateries, food trucks or full blown restaurants.
These include Nicole Ponseca (Jeepney and Maharlika), Romy Dorotan (Purple Yam), King Phojanakong (Kuma Inn) and Aris Tuazon (Ugly Kitchen), whose work have been featured in mainstream print and broadcast media in the US.
Guests at the launch event sampled signature preparations from the participating restaurants, which ranged from the traditional (crispy pata, lumpia shanghai and bibingka) to the slightly retooled versions of well-loved dishes (palabok with aligue, vegetable mélange on cassava ube tamales and cassava chips with latik).
Complete information about Filipino Restaurant Week 2015 and of the participating restaurants, including their menu offerings, and how to make reservations can be found at www.newyorkpcg.org/frw.
The participating restaurants of FRW 2016 are:
Brooklyn: Purple Yam (1314 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn, NY 11226, ) 718-940-8188, www.purpleyamnyc.com)
Manhattan: Grill 21 (346 E 21st St., New York 10010, ) 212-473-5950, www.thegrill21.com · Jeepney (201 1st Ave., New York 10003, ) 212-533-4121,
www.jeepneynyc.com) · Kuma Inn (113 Ludlow St., New York 10002, 212-353-8866, www.kumainn.com) · Maharlika (111 1st Ave., New York 10003,)646-392-7880, www.maharlikanyc.com) · Ugly Kitchen (103 1st Ave., New York, 10003, ) 212-777-6677, www.theuglykitchen.com)
Queens: ·Kabayan Restaurant (49-12 Queens Blvd. Woodside, NY 11377, 718-639-3113, www.kabayanwoodside.com) · Payag Restaurant (5134 Roosevelt Ave., Woodside, NY 11377, 347-935-3192, www.payagrestaurant.com) · Tito Rad’s Grill & Restaurant (49-10 Queens Blvd., Woodside, NY, 11377, 718-205-7299, www.titorads.com)
Staten Island: Phil-Am Kusina (556 Tompkins Ave., Staten Island, NY 10305, 718-727-3663, www.philamkusina.com)
New Jersey: Calesa (1020 Stuyvesant Avenue Union, NJ 07083, ) 908-688-8700, www.calesarestaurant.com) · La Parilla de Manila (1159 St. Georges Ave., Colonia, NJ 07067, )732-510-7033 www.laparrillademanila.com) · Max’s Restaurant (687 Newark Ave., Jersey City, NJ 07306, ) 201-798-2700, www.maxschicken.com) · Noodlefan (11 Broad St., Elizabeth, NJ 07201, ) 908-820-0709, www.noodlefanusa.com) · Pinoy Filipino Restaurant (18 Division St., Somerville, NJ 08876, )908-450-9878, www.pinoyfilipinorestaurant.com)