Finding Filipino Food in Brooklyn

Sisig burger from Tama (Photo via Asian Journal)

From Tama in Bed-Stuy and Ibis Eats in Crown Heights to Purple Yam in Ditmas Park, Momar G. Visaya gives “a Filipino gastronomic tour of Brooklyn” in Asian Journal, pointing out the restaurants that have cropped up in the borough after Purple Yam opened in 2009.

Bjorn dela Cruz, who runs Ibis Eats along with his Trinidadian partner, spoke to Asian Journal. Dela Cruz also opened Manila Social Club with his siblings.

“They don’t know about Filipino cuisine [here] so when I opened in Williamsburg for Manila Social Club, we had avant-garde, cutting edge Filipino food. Here now in Crown Heights, it is a great place because it’s a blank space where I can show them the real strengths of our tradition,” dela Cruz shared.

They are also exploring Filipino food as it pertains to the Galleon Trade, Spanish influence and incorporating Trinidadian and Caribbean influence.

“There are some dishes – when we were making the menu, like laing – and my partner would go, ‘This is like my grandma’s dish and it’s called callaloo!’” he added.  “For a staff meal once, I made some afritada and he asked me how I learned to make it because he never learned how to make it. I told him it’s as Filipino as it gets.”

Continue the gastronomic tour of Brooklyn – read about everything from smoked mackerel over spicy chocolate rice at Tama to Filipino and Tex-Mex tacos at Swell Dive to “Filipino-inspired desserts using plant-based options” at Ube Kitchen – at Asian Journal.

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