Filipino Restaurant Combines Flavors With an Austin Icon to Serve a Traditional Dessert Found Nowhere Else in the World
The Philippines: my native homeland, Manny Pacquiao, exotic beaches, Ms. Universe. These are the descriptions I hear from people who are delighted by my culture. Although there is a large Asian population in Austin, Filipinos are by far a minority. Just like everyone else, I get my share of nostalgic cravings. There are a handful of Filipino restaurants sprinkled around the city, and I’ve probably tried them all.
Be More Pacific Filipino Kitchen & Bar hosted its grand opening in October 2017. It all started as a food truck frying eggrolls during the South by Southwest Music Festival in 2011. The mobile eatery was then stationed downtown to feed the late night 6th Street hangry bar hoppers. Life happens, it was exciting and lucrative then until executive chef-owner Giovan Cuchapin and his business partners got married and started their own families. This was when shifting to a brick and mortar began to make perfect sense.
Chef Cuchapin brings his mother’s recipes to life with a mission to keep the menu as authentic as possible, while appealing to a larger audience. He described the challenges of obtaining traditional ingredients and has crafted a twist on a few dishes. For example, Kare Kare is a peanut butter dish served with Texas brisket instead of oxtail. At first glance, the menu offers my country’s most popular delights such as Shanghai Lumpia, Chicken Adobo, Sinigang (tamarind soup) , and Tosilog. Sisig was an unexpected bestseller made from crispy pig ears served tableside with a cracked raw egg on top, mixed in a sizzling cast iron skillet. The most interesting of them all was the Halo Halo.
Literally translated to “Mix Mix” this rainbow dessert is a tower of shaved ice, fruit, jellies, corn, flan, and evaporated milk. What makes it very unique was that the ube (purple yam) was served by the legendary Austin Icon, Amy’s Ice Creams! Visit the link to my story on this local culinary celebrity. Chef Cuchapin approached Amy about the concept. Within three weeks, Amy delivered a prototype, a lighter lavender in color because her ice creams are churned without preservatives. This Filipino dessert was served in a Texas-sized margarita glass, along with extra spoons to share with at least three or four of your favorite friends. I’ve had my share of ube ice creams, and Amy’s healthier and not too delectably sweet rendition was one of the best I’ve ever tasted. For $10, I am willing to skip all my meals and have Halo Halo for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was definitely worth every peso. For more Austin dining and travel news, visit the city guide.