With the weekend upon me, I can’t wait to stop in Woodside, Queens. An article by a Filipino writer got me particularly craving for good old-fashioned pork dishes there.
In the Winter edition of Edible Queens, writer Keith Wagstaff (whose mother is from Manila) gets back to his roots. He reminisces about his childhood filled with traditional Philippine dishes as he samples the fare at three restaurants:
During big events like graduations or weddings, lechón, or whole roast pig, is often the centerpiece of the meal. I can’t imagine anything better than ripping chunks of fatty meat from under loose, crackly skin, the house brimming with relatives.
“We Pinoys looove our pigs,” Alex Orquiza, a doctoral candidate in Filipino history at Johns Hopkins University, wrote me from the Philippines. He explained that despite the many varieties of native pig species spread throughout the country, it was the Spanish influence, with their concept of the fiesta, that really inspired the country’s love affair with pork.
At its heart, Filipino food is a product of the home, of family dinners and all-day celebrations. Restaurant culture isn’t nearly as big as it is in other countries, which is why you see Chinese joints everywhere but may have never entered a Filipino restaurant.
Step inside any of the restaurants he wrote about below. As long as you like pig and other meat, you won’t be sorry.
Ihawan, 40-06 70th St. Woodside, 718-205-1480
Krystal’s Café, 69-02 Roosevelt Ave., Woodside, 718-426-8676
Renee’s Kitchenette & Grill, 69-14 Roosevelt Ave., Woodside, 718-476-9002