AS AN overseas Filipino who travels back and forth the Philippines and Canada, I have had my fair share of insatiable Filipino craving. As most of you who are overseas must feel, I, too, succumb to these Pinoy craving wherein I just need to eat something pork. And not just pork, but the way we Filipinos like our pork.
I was in Vancouver, Canada when this craving hit me and one of the best Filipino restaurants here would be Pinpin in Fraser street. If you ask Filipinos in Vancouver where to get authentic Filipino food, this place would be on top of most people’s list.
I saw the word pork barbecue on the menu and I knew I definitely had to get that. It is common in our country and widespread as a street food but incredibly hard to find when you are abroad. Pinpin served this with vinegar sides, and the meat was flavorful and tender. It was going for $3.50 a piece.
I was also craving for anything silog and since I wanted to write an article on pork dishes, I went for the longganisa instead of the beef tapa. The longganisa was also another outstanding dish at this restaurant. It normally comes with garlic rice, that is why the name Longsilog, meaning longganisa, Sinangag or garlic rice, and itlog, Tagalog word for egg. Since we were ordering a big bowl of garlic rice already, I asked the server if the longganisa can be served with Java rice, that orange achuete and pork flavored rice also blended well with the longganisa or Filipino cured sausage. The longsilog in Pinpin comes with atsara, or pickled vegetables, which is sour to taste, but blends well with the saltiness of the cured sausage. The dish sells for $9.95 and is topped with two fried eggs. I know we can get Longsilog for P200 back home in the Philippines but then of course you have to factor the “in the labor costs” abroad is more expensive than back home.
Another pork dish that seem to resonate even with foreigners is the Lumpiang shanghai. This is deep fried minced pork, wrapped in lumpia flour wrapper and served with sweet chili sauce. Some foreigners are familiar with this as Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese cuisine have spring rolls in their dishes too.
What is more different for us Filipinos is our Binagoongan, a Filipino pork dish made with sliced up pork, deep fried, smothered with shrimp paste. This particular version of Pinpin restaurant is topped on beds of sliced eggplant. Red onions, siling labuyo, or chili, diced tomatoes, spring onions complete this dish.
These pork dishes are really to die for. I avoided the adobo as that would have been more common than the rest of these dishes. We ended our Filipino meal with the quintessential leche flan-a derivation of the Crema Catalan or Creme Flan found in Spain. The Philippines was colonized by Spain for 300 years and I consider the Leche Flan, a milk custard and sugar dessert to be one of their most delicious contribution to our culture.
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