Filipino flavors continue to impress international palates.
It’s not a secret anymore: Filipino foods are some of the best in the world, and people outside of the Philippines are serving as proof of that.
Of course, while we’ve already said it many times over — from the sinigang being hailed as the world’s best-rated soup to a local lechon brand opening to long lines in Las Vegas — we never tire to hear about similar success stories. That’s why heads turned when two Filipino restaurants were included in New York Times’ The Restaurant List 2021.
The esteemed list chronicles “the 50 most vibrant and delicious restaurants” that the prestigious publication is “most excited about right now.” From Texan offerings to the exotic flavors of Honolulu, the list spans a wide spectrum of tastes, which is why we’re that much proud to see that our local fares of lumpia, chicken adobo, and pandesal held space in the list.
Situated in the Pacific Northwest city of Seattle, Archipelago is the brainchild of Filipino-American chef Aaron Versoza and Filipino-American artist and designer-restaurateur. Conceived after a creative and explorative journey to the Philippines, Archipelago boasts modern Filipino fares with a distinctly American flair.
Times writer Tejal Rao only penned praises when describing the quintessential pandesal: “A puff of pan de sal pulls apart effortlessly, filling the air with a sweet, buttery perfume.” He also commended the thoughtful gesture of the chef checking in on his diners after a meal.
“You could easily get lost in the deliciousness of the modern Filipino food, but [Versoza and Manuguid] do more than send out excellent food,” wrote Rao. “They tell complicated, expansive stories about the Pacific Northwest and the many ways that Filipino immigrants have shaped it, using words, pictures and even some unexpected dance moves behind the pass.”
Meanwhile, another bustling “neighborhood cafÃ©” is showcasing the Filipino staples we’ve all grown and love: Kasama in North Winchester Avenue in Chicago was commended for its “delicate, inventive treats.”
Brought to life by the husband-and-wife pair of chefs Genie Kwon and Timothy Flores, this bakery-slash-modern Filipino restaurant can dish out a dainty delight on a weekend afternoon or a hearty weekday lunch — practically the two moods that every Filipino relish in.
Times writer Priya Krishna specifically gave her nod of approval to the “ham-and-cheese croissant replete with raclette and topped with dainty shavings of Serrano ham,” which is “like none you’ve seen.” She likewise loved the “unpretentious and soul-warming” renditions of lumpia and adobo as well as the “excellent take on a Chicago-style Italian combo sandwich, made with longaniza.”
Art Daniella Sison