Edmonton’s New Filipino Restaurant Month Cocktail Dim-Sum Combo

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“We have influences from so many different cultures, and we also have so many different regions”

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When Zaldy Patron came up with the idea for Filipino Restaurant Month in 2018, it was only supposed to be a regional event.

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“That’s because my jurisdiction only covers the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan,” the Calgary-based consul general of the Philippines says of April’s initiative showcasing Filipino cuisine. “Everything stopped with the pandemic, but then I had the opportunity to propose this as a joint project between the Embassy of the Philippines in Ottawa, as well as the Consulates General of the Philippines in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver, and our tourism department. We then agreed to do this all together.

Filipino cuisine is often overlooked compared to other countries in the region, and Filipino Restaurant Month was invented to rectify this. The Consulate messaged as many Canadian restaurants as possible, and in the first year they signed 40, with five Edmonton restaurants agreeing to provide prix-fixe menus until the end of the month. The first participants are Bro’Kin Yolk, Max’s Restaurant, Cebuchon & BBQ, Manila Grill Express and Filistix.

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“Filistix’s mission from the beginning was essentially to introduce and educate restaurant audiences about Filipino cuisine, ingredients and flavors, so it makes sense to be a part of it,” notes Ariel del Rosario, co-owner of Filistix. with Roel Canafranca. “We are like a springboard to Filipino culture. We just want to be part of this conversation about cooking, and we’re not quite there yet with what I call the Big Five: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. It’s pretty much what you think of when someone mentions Asian food.

So what exactly is Filipino cuisine and what makes it different from other Asian cuisines?

Del Rosario calls it a “fusion cuisine” which represents the many changes the island republic has gone through over the centuries. American colonization and Spanish rule had an effect, as well as the large number of Muslims from Indonesia and Malaysia.

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“We have influences from so many different cultures, and we also have so many different regions,” del Rosario points out. “A lot of our dishes are stews, and a lot of them are influenced by Spanish cuisine. The northern part of the Philippines, like Manila, has a strong Spanish influence. Due to our proximity to China, we have also learned a lot from them.Southeast Asian cuisine brought us curries and herbs like lemongrass and basil.

Patron notes that as a country made up of 7,107 islands, it’s nearly impossible to point to a standardized style of cuisine. With around 200 different ethno-linguistic groups scattered across the country, you can be sure there are several thousand different dishes to be found. That’s just as much the goal of Filipino Restaurant Month, to educate Canadians about the different types of food found in the Philippines.

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For example, there is the inasal chicken, which is marinated in lemongrass, calamansi, salt, pepper and garlic, then brushed with achute oil. Bulalo, or beef shank soup, is a perfect cold-weather dish that Filipinos love to sip even in their tropical homeland. Noodle lovers will surely appreciate the pancit palabok, a rice noodle dish covered in a sauce made from shrimp, pork, boiled egg, shrimp and pork rind broth.

In the case of Filistix and a few fellow travelers, there is also a desire to show how cooking has changed among second-generation Filipinos in Canada. Patron mentions visiting the restaurant and trying sinigang, a popular broth in the Philippines that normally involves beef, fish, and other ingredients, except Filistix created a version that includes scallops.

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“So Ariel didn’t grow up in the Philippines,” Patron says. “He learned to cook Filipino dishes with his mother and grandmother, but he is Canadian and he has his own tastes. This shows how Filipino cuisine adapts to different countries like Canada.

To sweeten the palayok (a Filipino pot), diners at participating restaurants will also have the chance to win local and national prizes.

“It’s about bridging the gap,” del Rosario says. “Connecting with other communities, not just Filipinos. Why would you want to preach to the choir?

Fu’s Repair Shop an innovative culinary spot

Edmonton may be a restaurant on 109th Street, but we’re also a cocktail bar and dim-sum restaurant.

In January, Prairie Fish ‘n’ Chips closed just north of the High Level Bridge, citing a number of factors beyond the usual pandemic woes. However, the space didn’t sit vacant for long, as just last week Fu’s Repair Shop, an auto repair shop-themed cocktail bar, opened. Among the alcoholic delights on offer are the Spicy Mandarin Sour, Lychee and Sake Martini, Yuzu Passion Whiskey and the seemingly quite spicy Enter the Dragon, which features pepper-infused vodka.

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Dim sum and dumplings are also on the menu, along with DJ sets on weekends. Check them out on Instagram.

Flame & Barrel opens on the south side

Windermere Crossing in southwest Edmonton has also gained a new place to eat.

Last month saw the opening of Flame & Barrel, a restaurant that offers a bit of everything from pizza and standard burgers to steak and New Zealand lobster, butter chicken and lamb. The bar side offers all the usual cocktails, whiskey and wine, although the Flame & Barrel Caipirinha made with white cachaça and fresh pomegranate seems like a delicious summer treat.

yegarts@postmedia.com

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