There is nothing like a lutong pinoy.
For all of us Filipinos, it is the taste of home but for foreigners, it is a celebration of taste. It is probably the worst kept secret that Filipino food is that foodgasm experience waiting to happen. We have good food here as we are rich in spices and natural ingredients.
Which is why it comes as no surprise that our cuisine was recognized on a global scale with two Filipino restaurants landing on The New York Times‘ 2021 Restaurant List.
These 2 prides of the Filipino restaurants are aptly named Archipelago, located in Seattle, and Kasama which is in Chicago. Just by their names alone, a true Filipino would instantly know that they are serving our home food.
Archipelago in Seattle
Archipelago in Seattle, a Filipino fine-dining restaurant, is known for their modern take on our Filipino dishes. Its name means a cluster or collection of islands which is a description of the Philippines itself. The food being served here is by Filipino-American chef Aaron Verzosa, and Filipino-American artist and designer-restaurateur Amber Manuguid.
Their dishes are so uniquely and artfully plated and presented that you would just stare in awe and even fear to destroy those art pieces in your table. A lugaw isn’t just an ordinary lugaw as a loaded bowl rice porridge is topped with Alaskan spot prawns and weathervane scallops. They also have savory plates of crispy pork belly with rice tinged with black truffle and a random mix of dinuguan.
Don’t worry though as they still offer our all-time fave pandesal and other original Filipino food just in case you don’t want to mix it up that much.
Kasama in Chicago
Kasama, which means companion, is owned by real-life partners Genie Kwon and Timothy Flores. Serving eye-opening dishes with Filipino flavors and elements, they have surely earned that spot on the NY Times list.
Another challenger for mixing and matching it up but a little more experimental. They have a sandwich with grilled longganisa, pickled green papaya, and giardiniera mustard which is a bizarre and yet tasteful combination.
They also serve a small plate of pork belly with crisp, bubbly skin, paired with a piquant radish-jicama salad which I assume translates to an atsara for us in the Philippines to cut against the pork’s richness.
I know they look familiar and yet not the same with the usual Filipino dishes but as I have heard from our fellow Filipinos living in the US, our dishes are not beautiful enough for the foreign taste sometimes so they have to make it more presentable and of course adjust to the taste of the locals there as well.
Said to be selected by “critics, reporters and editors” around the country, The New York Times‘ 2021 Restaurant List consists of 50 dining establishments in America.
As both Filipino restaurants offers unique taste and experience to every diner, they deserved to be one of the “most excited about” restaurants.