Zagat includes Pinoy food in 'most exciting' list

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 11 2013 05:35 PM | Updated as of Sep 12 2013 07:47 PM

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

MANILA -- Foreign interest in Filipino cuisine increase continues to rise.

After the US lifestyle magazine Details declared Filipino cuisine the “next great Asian food trend” in its September issue, the influential restaurant guide Zagat included Pinoy food in its list of the 10 “most exciting emerging cuisines” in the United States.

In an article posted on Zagat website on Monday, writer Jenny Miller noted that cuisines that made the list “are just beginning to show their faces stateside” but “have all the markers of a craze in the making.”

“In some cases, one or two restaurants are leading the pack, with others sure to follow. In other instances, several factors seem to be converging, hinting at a big-time trend about to bust wide open,” Miller wrote.

Miller noted that Filipino cuisine, which she described as “previously underrepresented,” has enjoyed “a big few years” now, citing the participation of three chefs who are part Filipino in the popular reality show “Top Chef” – Leah Cohen, “All Star” contestant Dale Talde and Season 9 winner Paul Qui.

Cohen is among the brains behind the New York restaurant Pig and Khao, which was also cited in the Details article and favorably reviewed by the New York Times. The restaurant is known for its quail adobo and sizzling sisig.

It has a 4-star rating on Zagat, which described the menu as “incorporating Thai and Filipino flavors in its midpriced dishes designed for sharing.”

Zagat’s Miller reported that Talde has indicated that he would like to open an “outright Filipino eatery,” while Qui included Filipino touches on his menu for his eponymous Texas eatery, described in Zagat as a “highly anticipated East Austin fusion restaurant”

Miller also mentioned the successful Maharlike and Jeepney restaurants in New York, which started as a pop a few years ago; another pop-up Milkfish in New Orleans, which is already raising funds for a proper restaurant; the recently opened Kainbigan in Oakland, California; and the Seattle food truck Lumpia World.

“‘Beautiful, tasty,” porkalicious Filipino classics ‘with modern flair’ plus ‘strong’ cocktails add up to a ‘hopping’ scene at this ‘somewhat upscale’ East Village storefront; factor in ‘enthusiastic’ service and low prices, and ‘you can’t go wrong,’” Zagat raved about Maharlika, which got a 4.2-star rating.

On Jeepney, Zagat, which gave it a 3.9 stars, wrote: “The Maharlika team strikes again with this inexpensive Filipino gastropub in the East Village, serving up hearty dishes meant for sharing; named after highly decorated taxis from the WWII era, the colorfully designed space features tin accents, large pin-up photos on the walls and lively murals.”

Zagat, meanwhile, recommended Kainbigan for “affordable Filipino breakfast dishes, noodle bowls and rice plates along with a few American sandwiches and plates.”

Miller also revealed that the popular local chain Max’s will soon open a branch in Las Vegas this fall.

The other foods that made Zagat’s list of most exciting emerging cuisines in the United States were: Northern Thai, Macanese, Icelandic, Laotian, Yunnan (Chinese), Hawaiian, Israeli, New Zealand and what it calls “Gonzo fusion.”