Just because we now have all sorts of foreign food chains around doesn’t mean we get to ignore our culinary roots. I feel this way sometimes: when I get ‘tongue fatigue’ from slurping on so many bowls of ramen, munching on macarons and getting a headache from eating foie gras, I yearn for good old Filipino home cooking.
My particular interest lies with regional cuisine and the cooking techniques of native chefs which are as diverse as these 7107 islands. This is the reason why am always on the lookout for outstanding Pinoy restos. Even though our yaya at home cooks excellently, nothing beats restaurant-style sisig, barbecue or fried chicken.
To my list of highly-recommended Pinoy restos, I am now happily adding Kuya J Restaurant … a growing chain found in a few SM malls in Metro Manila. Originally from Cebu, Kuya J has the best crispy pata in my book. Pork fat heaven is achieved when Crispy meets Tasty. This whole chunk for P490…. or P695 for the bigger, family-sized slab.
The crispiness is attained even when the meat is cut up into tender pieces. It’s a treat I must indulge in even in my semi-vegetarian/budgetarian state. Because life is short, haha.
The appetizer called Chorizo Dinamitas (P170) is something else. Native green peppers stuffed with Cebu chorizo and cheddar cheese make for an irresistible combination, and it’s even made more delish with a garlic mayo dip. Something about this dish made me crave for an ice-cold bottle of beer on a hot afternoon…but it was too early for that.
Kuya J’s sisig is just the way I like it. I like real meat tidbits in this delicacy, not pork cheeks. The resto’s good for sharing version is only P190.
My health-conscious friends opt for this Lumpia Presko where the bamboo shoots (ubod) are mixed with slivers of crabmeat and put on top of fresh wrapper made of malunggay. Only P95 for an order.
The scallops (P230) with the cheesy butter topping is one of the resto’s bestsellers. A bit too cheesy for my taste, but I guess you can always tell the kitchen to adjust according to your preference.
The kare-kare (P399) is a must-try and doesn’t disappoint. It is actually best paired with the excellent crispy pata.
When there’s food all around, can rice be far behind? Diners are spoiled with rice choices at Kuya J, starting with unlimited rice for only P60. These are just some of the varieties: danggit, dilis & salted egg, chorizo, sisig. We chose to have the Humba Binagoongan Fried Rice (P175)..it’s topped with some sweetish binagoongang baboy, green mango, chopped bell peppers and onions. A dish that was truly sumptuous as it was also generously served.
Honestly, too much food on the table made me crave for a drink…even though it was all in the middle of the afternoon. I found the perfect beverage in the dalandan beer!!! ..beer mixed in part with dalandan juice…a one-of-a-kind thirst quencher which you can find only in Kuya J. So yummy!
Anyway….don’t forget the dessert too. My friends and I love that the Mango Pandan wasn’t too sweet, and it has this nice sugar decoration on top. Only P80 per glass.
The tablea flan (P85) also has coffee caramel topped with dried coconut meat and cream
Kuya J, the Filipino casual dining restaurant, has branches in the following locations: Escario St. Cebu City; SM Cebu; SM Consolacion; SM Sta Mesa; SM BF Paranaque; SM Marikina, SM Novaliches; SM Pasig and SM Bacolod