It is a common sight in the Philippines to see mobile vendors selling all sorts of street food, but not in Milan. A city known for food, pizzerias and restaurants are the go-to places for those who are looking for Italian dishes.
But the dining scene has evolved in the past years and the city has gained its share of food vehicles, one of which is authentically Pinoy.
Nine years ago, Jennifer Tabangay dreamed to put up a restaurant but she had to forget about it because of the financial costs and the real-estate adage, “location”. She thought of opening a food truck, a mobile restaurant that she can bring to different places where she can generate enough income.
With proper planning and business acumen, the Filipino Fast Food Truck came to life.
“I need a big capital to put up a restaurant so I just thought of starting a mobile food truck business. I can drive to different locations where there are Filipinos,” Tabangay said.
With the Philippine Consulate General as its lunchtime parking spot and a lunch crowd of Italians and Filipinos, this pink food truck swept the city and has changed how people satiate their hunger and the somewhat greasy reputation of street food vendors. When the clock strikes 12, Pinoys await must-eat home cooked dishes.
Filipinos who are known street-food lovers line up from Monday through Friday with the convenience of having their favorites. Tabangay, together with daughters Karen and Liezel, provide food choices that save kababayans who have busy schedules from the need to sit down, those who are processing their documents and others who are en route to their next part-time jobs.
“We are for here for the hardworking Filipinos who don’t have enough time to eat or prepare their food at home,” Tabungay said.
There was relative absence of Filipino food in Milan decades ago but the dissipating stereotype on Filipino cuisine made it easier for Tabungay to introduce a menu devoted to Filipino homestyle cooking that even Italians took notice of.
Their pink truck is now known for serving Filipino food on the streets of Milan, making it more accessible even to other nationalities. Here, people gather with skewered grilled pork, sisig, pakbet, lumpia, pansit, longganisa and pansit and many other dishes.
Don’t forget the caramelized banana. This is where Italians also learn to say “masarap.”