In a fever for Filipino food

Photo_090906_012.jpgOne great thing about living in the New York area is the simple fact of its diverse population. I’ve been shopping regularly at various Asian markets in the area — a Japanese grocery store in Manhattan; the huge Japanese supermarket, Mitsuwa, in northern Jersey; the Korean Han Ah Reum (better known as H-Mart) — and buying everything from eggs and orange juice to Asian staples like rice, packaged ramen and a variety of unique Asian snacks and junk food.

Here in Jersey City’s Journal Square area, there’s a concentration of Indians and Pakistanis and a two-block stretch of nothing but Indian groceries and restaurants along Newark Avenue. Today, I explored the neighborhood around Journal Square and discovered to my delight that on another stretch of Newark Avenue, there are a number of Filipino businesses.

I’d eaten lunch with co-workers at one Filipino restaurant but didn’t realize that just around the corner there were several more, plus a handful of Filipino supermarkets.

In Denver, there’s a large Filpino community, but only one Filipino restaurant that I know of, and one very busy Filipino caterer. I can’t even tell you if there’s a Filipino supermarket, although there are several large Asisn markets and a thriving Japanese grocery store. When we want have a hankering for the cuisine of the Philippines, our best option was always to attend events at the Filipino-American Community of Colorado.

I entered one today and stocked up for dinner, with plenty for tomorrow (unless I really pig out and have a midnight snack). In the back of the market was a deli counter where I could order hot foods. I got a margarine-tub sized plastic container of pancit, the traditional Filipino noodle dish. The pancit here is mixed with meat and lots of seafood and vegetables. I also got a tub of marinated beef and onion (deee-licious!) and some lumpia, a tightly-wound Filipino eggroll. I also bought a Filipino version of a tasobao (a phonetic spelling, probably incorrect, of Chinese pork buns, a favorite).

On my way out I grabbed some junk food (I love trying Asian snacks, the more unique the better, and have written before about Japanese snacks), including a sticky stick of cassava mixed with sugar and wrapped in layers of banana leaves, and a bag of “Boy Bawang,” toasted corn like Corn Nuts flavored with a strong dose of garlic.

I’m in heaven. Ethnic food heaven, that is.

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One Response to In a fever for Filipino food

  1. Nat says:

    The Filipino community tends to blend in and appear underrepresented in proportion to their true population. Its also part of the culture to be adaptable so other Asian supermarkets usually fill Filipino needs although being able to find calamondins (kalamansi) and saba bananas would make for a more Filipinos happier. Among the Philippine food you mention I think I can identify siopao with an asado filling, bistek Tagalog, the pansit is probably either a pansit canton or maybe a pansit malabon, and the cassava dessert sounds like suman.

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