On the 11th day of Christmas, I’m craving a banquet of empanada, pancit, palabok and more
Leave a Comment Karen HamiltonDecember 20, 2011
On the eleventh day of Christmas, Foodsters drove to me
Ten Bella gelatos
Nine Napoli pizzas
Eight deep-fried winglets
Seven meat-filled ‘wiches
Six buns a-steaming
Five Memphis Feasts!
Three Peking Ducks
And a steaming bowl of chicken congee.
The trouble with Vancouver’s sprinkling of Filipino restaurants is that none of them deliver. It’s especially inconvenient when organizing a massive potluck, which Filipino families have almost weekly. Party staples such as lumpia, empanada, pancit, and palabok are so tedious to make for a crowd that almost everyone will get a restaurant to do it for them. With the exception of lumpia, which is made fairly well in all the Pinoy eateries I patronize, your typical restaurant excels in the making of just one of these banquet-style dishes. My family either winds up ordering from the closest location–and in the process tolerates some mediocrity–or gets a volunteer to run all over the city for the good stuff.
Next time, I’m going to suggest that we get Foodsters to do all the running around.
Josephine’s: best palabok
My cousin was one of my bridesmaids in 2006, and she knew that food from Josephine’s Restaurant on Main & 10th was the fare I’d be craving on my wedding day. Her favourite item to order is palabok, a dish of rice noodles smothered in a shrimp-based sauce. Done right, the noodles are thick and have absorbed the essence of the tangerine-coloured sauce, and toppings are varied and generous: tiny shrimp, slices of hard boiled egg, tofu cubes, scallions, roasted garlic, chicharron crumble, and a hint of anchovy. I hardly ever see this served outside of a special occasion, and when that occasion arises, she and I trust Josephine’s to make it best.
Cucina Manila: best empanada
I may be critical about the in-store service of Collingwood’s Cucina Manila, but I cannot fault the quality of their catering division. This is the place my aunts go for empanada when they’d rather not make it themselves. The addition of raisin, egg, carrot, and peas to the traditional pork filling makes their version of these small, deep-fried meat pies rank above the rest.
PinPin: best pancit sotanghon
Fraser Street’s PinPin is my top pick for Filipino eating in the city, so it’s not surprising that they make a mean pancit. The regular menu offers a greater selection of pancit styles than do the rest of the pack. Pancit Sotanghon, whose star ingredient is the delicate, broth-infused strands of glass noodles, is the one sought after for a more auspicious meal.
Where does your family frequent for additions to their Filipino potlucks?
From December 10-22nd, I’m a media sponsor for Foodsters’ 12 Days of Christmas Food Drive. Follow along as I share what my top 12 food and restaurant cravings are this season (with some poetic license to boot).