NY Times reviews balut, Pinoy restaurants


Posted at Mar 13 2013 07:18 PM | Updated as of Mar 15 2013 01:05 AM

NY Times reviews balut, Pinoy restaurants 1
"Kamayan Night" at Jeepney, a Filipino gastro pub in New York City. Photo from the restaurant's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – The New York Times gave a review on the Filipino delicacy balut – and the writer seemed to like it.

In another sign that Filipino food is continuing to make inroads abroad, the respected newspaper on Tuesday reviewed two Filipino restaurants in New York: Jeepney, which promotes itself as a “Filipino gastro pub” in the East Village; and Pig and Khao, whose chef, Leah Cohen, is half-Filipino and best known for being a contestant on TV’s “Top Chef.”

“I felt as if I were poring over an album of carefully edited postcards from her travels,” the article’s author Pete Wells wrote about Cohen’s food. “Dinner at Jeepney, on the other hand, felt more like parachuting into Manila myself. I didn’t know all the vocabulary and didn’t always know what I was putting in my mouth, but I knew I had left home.”

“I’ve grown fond of both places, but I would take different sets of friends to each,” Wells said.

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Sizzling sisig at Pig and Khao. Photo from the restaurant's Facebook page

Among the dishes Wells tried at Pig and Khao is sizzling sisig, which he described as “a modern Filipino classic” and recommended to the Times readers along with the turon.

He said those who try the sisig would “devour the chopped bits of pork — some crisp, some gelatinous, some meaty — seasoned with soy and slicked with the yolk of an egg cracked over the platter at the last minute.”

Wells also showed that he knows Filipino food when he noted that Cohen’s adobo is not authentic, writing “the adobo in ‘crispy quail adobo’ was not a stewing liquid, as it might be in the Philippines, but a rich soy and garlic sauce tossed with deep-fried quail.”

As for Jeepney, which is a sister restaurant of the well-praised Filipino restaurant Maharlika, Wells recommended the adobo wings, pinakbet salad, arroz caldo, bulalo, dinuguan and puto and pancit malabok negra.

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Bulalo at Jeepney. Photo from the restaurant's Facebook page

Wells seemed particularly taken with the bulalo saying his friends would “pay $7 more for an extra marrow bone to supplement the impressive one that rides on top of a short-rib and vegetable soup called bulalo. They would mash the marrow with a fork into a lump of jasmine rice, then drink the deeply restorative broth from their bowls and ladle some into mine.”

He described the dinuguan as “cubes of pork stewed in a fascinating chocolate-colored sauce of beef blood, bay leaves and vinegar.”

And the balut, which is served at Jeepney?

“The liquid on top tasted, yes, like chicken broth; the yolk was chalky; parts of the white were confusingly hard. As for the little embryo, it gave way to the spoon as easily as custard and tasted something like duck liver mixed with duck breast. If you didn’t grow up eating balut, it probably helps to stop thinking about the feathers,” Wells said.

Wells gave both restaurants two stars each.