At least three Filipino restaurants – Kabayan, Payag Restaurant, and Tito Rad’s Grill – say they will having “heart-healthy” offerings on their menu, that is, according to the Kalusugan Coalition, a Filipino-American health advocate group.
The FilAm’s Cristina DC Pastor reports that as part of its REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) FAR campaign, Kalusugan introduces staff members, of restaurants and church groups interested in providing healthier eating options, to nutritionists who explain how to cut back on saturated fats and salt while still keeping the traditional flavors of the dishes. The initiative is currently centered in Queens, where all three restaurants are located, but the coalition looks to expand the initiative to other boroughs with Filipino restaurants.
The project is also looking to tackle cardiovascular disease, which is common in the Filipino community.
Steering the community toward healthier eating options may take some time.
Kalusugan concedes that breaking down “cultural and behavior barriers” will not happen overnight. The concepts of “Filipino comfort food” and “finishing your plate” are thinking patterns that strike at the heart of one’s cultural identity, it said.
Go to The FilAm to hear reaction to the project from a co-owner of Payag Restaurant, and how Kalusugan suggests making the staple ingredient of coconut milk, which is high in saturated fat, a bit healthier.