NEW YORK -- Filipino Restaurant Week kicked off at the high bar rooftop in New York City.
But you don’t have to be in the Big Apple to experience this annual Filipino cuisine sampling in five states in the East Coast, thanks to the emerging popularity of Filipino cuisine.
Participating restaurants now span 24 restaurants in 7 states from Massachusetts to Virginia.
Consul Arman Talbo said now there is more opportunity to showcase the best the Philippines has to offer.
“We are creating so much buzz on social media, in mainstream media, in Philippine-American media and promoting it not only to the Filipino community but to mainstream American communities as well, elevating the level of Filipino food in the United States,” he said.
Diners have a chance to win free roundtrip air tickets to the Philippines using food passports.
“Inside the food passport are the participating restaurants. We encourage the clients to go to at least three participating restaurants, have their name stamped and when they collect three stamps, they get to win prizes including two roundtrip tickets to the Philippines.” Talbo added.
Among the new restaurants joining this year is Asin, serving traditional Filipino cuisine in Caldwell, New Jersey.
“Caldwell is a predominantly non-Filipino area but that is our purpose, to push what Philippines is. We are so proud of being Filipinos and we want to showcase what the real Filipino food is. We want to elevate it to a higher level,” said restaurateur Queenie Pena Banez.
Ugly Kitchen chef Aris Tuazon, who has been participating in the Filipino Restaurant Week since 2015, said shining a spotlight on Filipino restaurants shines a brighter light for more people to discover and enjoy Filipino cuisine.
“It’s really a big difference now. When I see customers in the restaurants who are non-Filipinos they already know what to order. That means we are really being recognized nowadays,” Tuazon said.
Inspired by the New York Restaurant Week, participating Filipino restaurants will serve set meals of at least three courses.
Filipino Restaurant Week runs until May 26.