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filipino in pdx?

seeing all the discussion about filipino food in seattle/honolulu etc., does anyone know where to find filipino food (good, mediocre, anything!) in pdx?

i've had adobo at both Uwajimaya in beaverton and Taste of Bali in downtown pdx. Taste of Bali also has Pancit thursdays which i have yet to test out.

i'm a filipina originally from jersey city nj - a mecca for filipinos! filipino eateries are in abundance over there, maybe out of sheer necessity. i could use some good lumpia out here.

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  1. To my knowledge, nothing. Definitely nothing like Barrio Fiesta or some of the other standards down in the SF Bay Area where I lived for 10-12 years.

    There is a "Malaysian" restaurant downtown, but the gentleman's accent sounds a lot like my Filipino uncles. In fact, I think on Thursday's they serve Pancit, Adobo and Halo Halo. It's a clean place, run by a nice old couple, but the food was just OK.

    Taste of Bali
    947 SW Broadway
    Portland, OR 97205
    (503) 224-2254

    There is a "Manila Express" in old Tigard. Tried it once and was sorely disappointed. I understand that like the myriad of dialects spoken in the P.I., there are an equivalent amount of variations of Adobo and Pancit, however, the flavor was flat out bland, the cleanliness questionable, and the display was not exactly appealing (flies, old dried food, etc).

    Years ago, my father ran a little nieghborhood market on SE 14th and Stark. In the back he had a little Filipino "plate lunch" deli set up and a catering service. Lumpia, Apritada, Adobo, Sinigang, Diniguan (for you in "the know") etc. Was a good little business until I (then an 8th grader)was held up at gunpoint while tending the register for him. 3 Months later he sold the place and never looked back, though he had similar businesses in the SF Bay Area as well as Yakima where there is a substantial Filipino community.

    Have been meaning to elaborate on this memory/thought for the other Filipino food thread, but would end up writing a novel. In a perfect world, I'd figure out how to market Filipino food to the masses of PDX and resurrect my dad's recipes. Hmmm...one of these days when I can afford to throw money at a venture with a high rate of failure...

    Welcome to Portland cobblegal. If you want- I'll kick you down some of the 100 lumpia my Nana just rolled for my 1 year old's birthday party...

    1. I'll make you some lumpia... I've been told its the best :)

      1. luckily i'll be in jersey city for thanksgiving, and i'm certain to load up on lumpia then. :)

        1. OK, it pains me to post such fuzzy info, but I have been told that there is a teriyaki joint at Murray & Cornell that also has Filipino food. Maybe someone can fill in the blanks, but you did say "good, mediocre, anything!" :)

          3 Replies
          1. re: jeff_pdx

            I think you're talking about Kauai Island Grill, http://www.kauaiislandgrill.com/index.... Their menu looks to be mostly Hawaiian, though.

            1. re: Kristi

              No, I know Kauai Island is not what my source was referring to...

              1. re: jeff_pdx

                OK, talked to my source. :^) It's closer to Saltzman than Murray, and we think it's the Teriyaki Beef Bowl:


          2. There is a place on SE Foster and about 60th. I always mention it, but I've never heard anyone report back. Because I can never remember the name, I stopped by on my way home today and picked up a menu and card:

            Tambayan Restaurant
            6014 SE Foster

            I haven't tried it. Filipino food is not among my favorite cuisines. However, they do have a full menu. I'll just give a selection of items (the terms they're using are a little different from what I'm used to seeing on menus, perhaps someone can make better sense of it):

            Lumpiang Sariwa (fresh veggie rolls) $2
            "Tokwa't Baboy" (pork and tofu) $5.50
            "Sisig" (broiled pork and ear -- advanced order) $5.50

            Adobong Baboy $4.35
            Kare-kare (rich stew of beef and veggies in peanut sauce) $6.50
            Dinuguan $4.35
            Lechon Kawali (deep fried pork belly-rind crisp) $5
            Crispy pata (deep fried pata w/ crunchy rind and soft meat) $7
            Menudo (rich dish w/ sauce flavored by onions, tomatoes, bell peppers) $4.35
            Binagoongan na baboy $4.35
            Sinigang na Baboy/Baka/Hipon (pork/beef/shrimp, a sour cream soup made with meat, veggies, and tamarind) $4.35/$5.35/$6
            Nilagang baboy/baka (flavored and boiled meat with veggies) $4.35/$5.35
            Puchero Baka (beef stew with pork and beans) $6.50
            Hilabos na hipon (shrimp cooked with 7-up instead of wine) $6
            Fried Tilapia $5

            monggo (sauteed mung beans cooked w/ pokr or beef) $3.75
            Pritong talong (6 slices) $2

            RICE, NOODLES, and SOUP
            Pancit palabok $4.25
            Bijon guisado (sauteed rice noodles) $4.25

            DESSERTS and SNACKS
            Ice cream (Filipino flavors) $3
            Halo-halo $3
            Mais con yelo $2.50
            Puto (sweet steamed cakes) $1.50/slice
            Kutchinta $.25

            And this is only a portion, a little more than half, the menu. A couple obvious worries going in: 1) there's a lot of different stuff for such a small and non-busy restaurant which brings into question freshness, 2) they're probably under-pricing their dishes basing those prices on what they would pay rather than what is appropriate in the marketplace and for their business's well-being, 3) unless you know your Filipino food you may be in for some suprises because the menu is not geared towards gringos.

            However, it does appear to be at least partly a market, as well, so perhaps there is better turnover of goods than if they were just a restaurants. And the prices are so low, it's not much of a risk. I'd be willing to go with someone who knows their Filipino food better than me (which wouldn't be saying much since I've primarily eaten it on trips to Hawaii).

            7 Replies
            1. re: extramsg

              thanks for this info. i'd heard there was some sort of filipino fast food joint somewhere on foster so this must be it. i'm most interested in the market - i'll have to check it out. (i wonder if they sell avocado ice cream).

              i'll try to check out the suggestions in neighboring towns as well. extramsg, i hope you can find indulge in some quality lumpia sometime - because like you, filipino isn't my favorite cuisine (and i grew up in a filipino-american household) but lumpia is hands down one of my top 10 favorite foods. :)

              1. re: cobblegal

                There's not much to the market. I imagine the ones that are out Beaverton way are much better.

                1. re: extramsg

                  Last night my boyfriend and I, very excitedly, visited Tambayan for the first time. It was awesome! We ordered spring rolls, lechon kawali, pancit palabok, and chicken adobo. It was all really good. Nothing was lacking in flavor and there were large portions. The atmosphere of the restaurant really made you feel like you were getting a home-cooked meal. Everything is brought out on different plates and you get your own clean plates to dish up whatever for yourself. We even watched Wowowee while eating. My favorite part of the meal though was the halo halo. My biggest pet peeve when going to "filipino" restaurants is when they make the halo halo with regular milk and ube jam, instead of evaporated milk and ube ice cream... and Tambayan made it the right way. All in all, it was a great experience and we're going back next week to try the dinuguan and the talapia (and of course more halo halo).

                  1. re: extramsg

                    there's a filipino market just south of se 72nd on harold (around the corner from arleta café), here's the google map link. http://maps.google.com/maps?client=sa...

                    it's a very small store but, after moving my girlfriend here from florida, i was super stoked to find even this. they have mostly snacks (boy corn nuts, shrimp chips, etc, pancit noodles, condiments (mang tomas, etc), most of which any asian market has, however, it's something.

                    tambayan...haven't been, probably going tonight with my girlfriend and her sister who's visiting. will let you know how it is. the reviews so far sound great. i'd love to have more pancit, lechon, lumpia, bicol express, halo halo, etc. here in portland.


                    1. re: jurnaa

                      I've been going every Sunday and it's great so far. Here's some pictures of the palabok and the lechon kawali. My favorite, though, has been the dinuguan.

                      1. re: SauceSupreme

                        wow, that lechon looks great, as well as the palabok. nice photos too! didn't make it last night but, am taking my girlfriend and her sister tonight (pilipinas). every sunday huh, sounds like a great place to be on a sunday.

                  2. cobblegal, so where are the best lumpia options in pdx? I haven't tried asking the filipino owners of taste of bali to put that on their regular menu. How about the place on foster? Where should I go?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: pacific

                      i haven't tried the place on foster yet (Tambayan). i'll report back once i do!

                      i'm searching for lumpia shanhgai - the little, greasy, type of lumpia - and they don't serve this at Taste of Bali. they serve a thicker version which could be a more indonesian variety.

                      1. re: cobblegal

                        having lived in seattle, berkeley, and the LA area, i kind of got spoiled with access to filipino eats.

                        tambayan tries its best to offer regional and staple pinoy food. on the greasiness level, it is moderate, even considering that some filipino dishes are inherently greasy.

                        i work and live on the other side of town. what i do is keep their number in my cellie. if i am in the area, i would phone an order to go. the menu offers the usual and some regional dishes. it really depends on how much you are jonesing for filipino food. phone orders have always been timely.

                        a good solution for lumpia is this frozen bag of lumpia that goldilocks sells. i think uwajimaya's sells them. tambayan might as well. there is a filipino market run by a young couple on main street in tigard that is virtually open 7 days a week. the owners, ex filipino IT folks, bought the place to expand on filipino offerings to a geographically fragmented market. store traffic is steady form what i observed. they have some foods (ie: palabok) brought in by a caterer on weekends for sale. they have tons of goldilocks and other frozen food products that ought to satiate any hunkering for filipino food. forgot the name but it is off hwy 99W, south of hwy 217, on main street, on the other side of the post office. rumor has it, there is also a place in vancouver, wa, but that is like driving from jersey city to queens, in my opinion.

                        good luck.

                    2. Is there anything in particular you think Tambayan does well?

                      I've been jonesin' for Filipino food ever since moving to Portland (uhhh... 15 years ago!). The short-live Manila Hut on Powell helped, but I don't think that place even lasted a year, alas.

                      I'm excited (if that's the right word) that they have dinuguan! My mom used to eat this stuff all the time when I was a kid just to freak me out, I think. Now that I'm a little more adventurous I think I might actually like it if I can keep from getting queasy.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: vrunka

                        I am not Filipino, but i love their Pancit. My wife is Filipina...and she loves their Hare Kare.....brings it home lots of time to eat here.
                        My son is 11 and enjoys that dinuguan...i still won't touch it. hahaha

                      2. Maggie's on 72 and Flavel she Cooks Pinoy food. if you ever go der tell her Steve the tall Tagalog speeking American sent you or if you can pronounce (Atanang furaw).

                        1. at the Mississippi street fair this summer a cart was giving out filipino egg roll samples. i didn't try one but they looked delicious! it was a fried banana egg roll with a dipping sauce. they said they're opening a new filipino restaurant on mississippi! i'll be sure to try it and update :)

                          1. Tambayan was hopping this past Sunday at lunch. I'm definitely going back to explore the rest of the menu.

                            For my appetizer, I had sisig, which is classic Filipino bar food. Akin to Spanish tapas, in Tagalog this type of dish is referred to as pulutan, literally meaning finger food but loosely used as a term for bar snacks. Now, I'm slightly biased because my family in the Philippines owns a restaurant-bar that makes really effin' great sisig, so while Tambayan's rendition is nice, it's not something I would order again.

                            For my main, I ordered garlic fried rice (my all time favorite comfort food) to go along with an order of dinuguan (beef and pork offal stewed in beef blood). My mother doesn't typically make this dish, but I have to say that Tambayan's is as good and maybe better than the kind that I've had at various family gatherings.

                            For a drink, I had calamansi juice, which is a small citrus fruit that's best described as a slightly sour kumquat, or a sweet lemon. Fresh calamansi is often used as a finisher for deep-fried items such as fish, or for stir-fried items such as pancit. My parents have a tree in their backyard that seems to flourish in the San Diego climate, and while the juice here at Tambayan came out of a can, it's still very refreshing. As an aside, the juice from calamansi makes a killer sorbet.

                            They're closed Mondays, but I'll be back sooner rather than later. Their pan de sal seems to be sourced from a bakery in Seattle, which is unfortunate, but understandable. A bakery makes its money through volume, and there just isn't enough of a demand in Portland for Filipino bread. No matter: An Xuyen is down the block, and I'd rather shop for bread from a local baker.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: SauceSupreme

                              This is near my house....will hit it tomorrow for crispy pata. A fave. Hope they have it regularly, it seems to be on the menu I found online.

                              Anyone have it who can comment? I will certainly post my findings tomorrow.


                              1. re: sambamaster

                                I can't comment on the crispy pata, but I did see an order of the lechon kawali go out -- oh man that thing looked great. I think it bodes well for the rest of the pig, and I can't wait to hear what you think. I'm especially curious about their palabok and their kare-kare.

                                1. re: SauceSupreme

                                  Had the Crispy Pata tonight and it was fantastic. Crispy (as advertised) on the exterior, and tender and juicy inside... The pata is the "trotter" and normally I've had them slightly more complete, once down to just about the hoof (think a large, meaty turkey leg). This was only the upper portion, closer to the ?knee? joint. I can recommend it. I thought I needed a vegetable and ordered the fried eggplant which was nondescript. Will head back soon, maybe friday, to try more including the lechon kawali which I also saw and it looked great. Can't wait.

                                  1. re: sambamaster

                                    Of course, it all better be served with Mang Tomas (which I saw stocked on their shelf).

                            2. I like Tambayan on Foster Road. The Adobong Baboy is delicious.


                              1. I just drove down N. Mississippi Ave the other day and there is a food cart/trailer that is serving Filipino food. It is called Tita's Pista, and they have a website: titaspista.com.

                                1. Went to this restaurant on Saturday and the food was great. Had the Shanghai Lumpia, fried to perfection and served with some sweet chili sauce. We also had the Dinuguan, Pancit Malabok and my wife had the fresh spring roll. All was good, wait staff fantastic and would recommend this place to anyone who likes authentic Filipino food.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: rons1961

                                    I assume you're talking about Tambayan -- I love that place but I haven't been in a while.

                                  2. Named simply Phillipine Cuisine. Located at Ala Food Carts on 10175 SE stark, across from the Wells Fargo... ish. Wife and I split the special which is the pancit (ours came with chicken), 4 lumpia (ground beef n veggies cooked in a pastry; eggroll-y) and 2 bbq skewers. Delicious food. The bbq pork skewers were grilled to moist perfection on a teeeny Weber grill mounted bumper fore on trailer cum food shack. Inside noodles fried pancit style with tender chicken, spiced perfectly. The cooks (married couple, i assume) offered us chili sauce, for the first time, perhaps ever in my life, I declined.
                                    Good flavors, different than asian dishes pdxers are accustomed to. Preposition ending in.