Filipino food in New Orleans
When I went to the Asian-American Fest at Audobon park I chatted with some fo the food vendors there and discovered that there is Filipino food in New Orleans! For those of you who have looked before, previously there was only Ms. Ely's, and she only did it sporadically, nor did she return after the storm.
Every Sunday from 11-3, Streetcar Bistro on Baronne has a Filipino buffet for $9.95, and I gotta say that it tastes like family reunion to me. I think they might even do daily Filipino breakfast and may have some specials, but their online menu doesn't reflect any of this, which I think is a shame.
Anyhow, this past Sunday they had Adobo, Sinigang, Dinuguan, Pancit, Embotido, Pinakbet, Kare Kare - and more. The adobo was just as good as mine, though this was just chicken and I typically mix with pork - despite the lack of pork, it was very flavorful. The sinigang na baboy I didn't eat (I was already full) but my dining companion said it was pretty good - improved when patis (fish sauce) was added. The dinuguan was my favorite! Tasted like my aunt's and I went back for seconds. And I gotta say that I've eaten plenty of Filipino's dinuguan and not everyone can get it right. The kare kare I also thought was tops - just make sure that you add the bagoong (shrimp paste, normally beside the dish) otherwise it may taste a little bland to you. The pinakbet was a wonderful balance of vegetables - butternut squash, chinese long bean, bitter gourd - with a small amount of pork and cocunut milk and shrimp paste. That's something else I got seconds of. Sarap!
I'm getting hungry just writing about this.
They also have a couple things in buffet that, again, I didn't eat because I was focused on the Filipino food: salad, tofu, fruit, soup, etc. For dessert I ordered something not offered in buffet, the halo halo, and then I took home some siopao, which was excellent - much different from chinese siopao (in regards to flavoring, not so salty) and I just ate that, which is what made me think to write this. I guess the other reason is that I know that people look for different kinds of food and may not know where to find it. I wanted to support my fellow Filipinos and make others aware of this hidden gem. While I make my fair share of Filipino food, it's nice to be able to go somewhere to eat it too.
Anyhow, I hope you all enjoy - I am sure to be eating there next Sunday too...this time with a couple more friends.
If you are interested in Filipino food the current source is Milkfish on Carrolton Ave at Canal. It's next to Rue 124 and across from Venezia.
It is pretty typical of suburban "ethnic" restaurants with simple décor, reasonable prices and home cooking.
We enjoyed dinner there about 2 weeks ago and will go back. Nothing exceptional but it is always nice to dine on some new ingredients, spices and combinations.
Two in our party have Filipino/a inlaws and the discussion on the lumpia reminded me of the "best gumbo" questions. Lumpia can come in cigar size, cigarette, size and joint size and the "right" size was the size you were first served the first time you had it.
Among the six of us we had about half the things on the menu and there were no complaints. I also drank my first San Miguel beer since my days in the Philippines, decades ago.