SPAIN - All-time favorites Tocilog, Litsilog and Chicken Inasal are also selling like hotcakes on the Spanish island of Mallorca.
Not only because there’s a demand from the Pinoy community there, the largest island of the Balearic archipelago is also an important destination for international cruising lines manned mainly by Filipino seafarers.
“Kasi masarap ang Pinoy food, iba pa rin talaga ang pagkain dito,” said Mitch Manantan who works in a cruise ship docked in Mallorca and a regular customer of restaurant Manila Bay Crew Bar Tapas Asíaticas.
Although the name of the restaurant appears to cater mostly to seafarers, according to its manager Angelo Cruz, Mallorquins and tourists are starting to try "Asian tapas".
Tapas are very typical of the Spanish cuisine and loosely resemble pulutan dishes.
"Yung mga tourist po at saka yung mga nakatira na dito, mahilig din silang mag-try ng ibang pagkain. Yung iba nga, nung na-try nila lalo na yung lechong kawali, talagang gustong-gusto po nila," Cruz added.
Mallorca is frequented by tourists coming from northern Europe, especially from Germany, to enjoy its postcard-perfect coves and have a taste of ensaïmada mallorquina the island is famous for. Considered as the birthplace of ensaïmada, the pastry has traveled the world and has adapted to local taste, ingredients and climate as exemplified by sugary, buttery and cheddar cheese-topped Pinoy ensaymada.
The Asian tapas served by the restaurant comprised not only of Pinoy breakfast meals but also of Indonesian dishes such as Nasi Goreng and Chicken Satay as there are also Indonesian seafarers visiting the bar. They also serve Japanese dishes like Yakisoba and Chicken Teriyaki.
African seamen are also starting to like Pinoy food as they consider it very tasty and affordable.
“Minsan hindi na namin napapakain kasi pila pila sila. Yung iba po pinapa-takeout na lang ang pagkain,” cook Arlene Cayanan said.
Sometimes they also accept special orders if some customers request for Sinigang, Pinakbet or Dinuguan.
The restaurant located on the island’s capital Palma de Mallorca hasn’t celebrated yet its first birthday and as Cruz admitted, is still affected by the decrease in the number of cruises coming to the island as a result of the Italian cruise line Costa Concordia sea mishap.
But they put up the business anyway and offered another reason for customers to come—free Wifi.
“Siyempre bukod sa masarap na pagkain, masarap na pakinggan na meron restaurant dito sa Palma, may free Wifi pa,” Victorino Sumalinog said, who also happens to manage a bar of a cruise ship.
Aside from enjoying Pinoy food, which one of the things seafarers miss about the Philippines, they also get to talk via Skype or Facebook to their loved ones whom they miss the most.