Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pilipino ka ba?

"Pilipino ka ba (Are you Filipino)?"
"Oo (yes)."

I don't have any trouble telling people my ethnicity. I have trouble convincing them to believe that I am what I say I am.

I have a lack of knowledge about my Filipino culture's history and customs. Like many American born Filipinos, I was raised American thus making me not Filipino enough for the motherland and not American enough for the Americans. Yes, I was surrounded by a Filipino family but I chose not to participate in the Filipinoness of it all. It was just too foreign for me.

Now that I live in the city, I've been exploring a lot of cultures including my own. I went out to eat Filipino food for dinner and, surprisingly, it was the first time I have actually tried some of these native dishes. I've got so much to learn and, luckily, food is not a bad place to start.

Ihawan 2 in Long Island City is the sister restaurant to Ihawan in Woodside. Ihawan is famous for their grilled meat. Ihawan 2 also has a sushi bar menu but I recommend sticking to the Filipino cuisine. After all, why go to Ihawan if you are not going to eat Filipino food?

The best way to eat Filipino food is to share all the dishes. That's what we would do at home. Plus you get to try everything.

Most Filipino meals consist of soup, meat, and vegetables. Party food will always have lumpia and some type of noodles. What we ordered was a pretty good representation of some typical Filipino dishes ranging from snack food to side dishes, grilled meats from seafood to pork, and soups and stews that have the signature sour and sweet flavors characteristic of Filipino cuisine. Filipino food is quite trendy these days. Stay tuned for Filipino food blog post #2. In the meantime, let's have a taste of what a Filipino dinner looks like. Masarap (delicious)!

Lechon Kawali, Calamares, Lumpiang Shanghai
(pan roasted pork, squid, tiny eggrolls
commonly served with liver sauce for the pork and sweet chili sauce for the lumpia)
Chicken BBQ and Pork BBQ sticks
Grilled Shrimp and Mussels
Fresh Lumpia
(vegetables and shrimp wrapped in a thin pancake with peanut sauce)
Garlic Rice
(Most Filipinos eat white rice. Garlic rice is more of a brunch option
but a nice tasty alternative offered for dinner at Ihawan2.)
(Grilled pork ears and snout with chili pepper, onions, and lemon)
Pancit Palabok
You have to mix the palabok in order to enjoy it!
(rice stick noodles topped with shrimps, egg, and shrimp sauce) 
Sinigang na Baboy
(Pork and Vegetables in Tamarind Soup)
(Cow Tongue in Mushroom Sauce)
(Oxtail with mixed vegetables in peanut butter sauce)
Fried Tilapia

1007 50th Ave.
Long Island City, NY 11101


  1. I've been learning a lot about our culture too. Did you know that after I party in NYC I'm planning on flying back to the homeland?

    And about food, "Filipino food" is such a broad term. Me and my mom didn't know what sisig was until recently, because it's a Kapampangan dish. It's common in SF though, because a majority of Filipinos in the Bay Area are from that area. Even my dad was surprised, it was a new dish to him. :)

  2. This post just made my arteries cringe. ;)
    We should go discover Filipino food together one day!

  3. I visited the PI when I graduated from high school. It was definitely a culture shock. I can't wait to hear about your adventures!

    I thought all Filipinos knew about sisig. I had no idea it was a regional dish.

    Maybe we'll hit up Manila Manila when Novemberwind visits in the winter time... although our restaurant list is quite long already..... yes!

  4. Very thoughtful post. I learned a lot about Filipino food!