>> Sariling Atin | Eat the World New York City

12 January 2015

Sariling Atin

PHILIPPINES

If you happen to make it across busy Queens Boulevard (many don't! R.I.P.) and into this small turo turo, you are in for a good treat. The style of restaurant is repetition of the Tagalog word for "point," simply because you are offered foods dispayed in front of you on a steam table and to make your selections, do just that.

In the front of the shop is a well-stocked grocery that is fun to peruse for anyone that is fascinated with groceries from other cultures like I am. I never miss an opportunity to browse a grocery store when I am traveling. Behind these rows you eventually find the tiny dining room, four or five tables, and Filipinos coming in mostly for takeout.

There are three options here, one for every appetite. 1 item for $4.50, 2 for $6.50, or 3 for $9.50. Each selection gets you a plate of rice or noodles along with your dishes, and I found that three was far too much for me even though I was quite hungry.


My dining companion went with the noodles (pancit), which are very thin and fried, and almost an afterthought. I noticed that unless you clearly state you prefer them, they naturally start making you a plate of rice. Her selections are in the photo above, beef kaldereta (left), a stew with carrots and potatoes, as well as a tomato-based sauce and liver paste. She also opted for the pork menudo (right), which is another stew of sliced pork and liver, garlic, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and I think even raisins were in there. It has a slightly vinegary taste and as with most Filipino dishes is nicely accompanied with rice unless you want a very salty experience.

As alluded to earlier, I overdid it with three options. Clockwise from top right is the pork adobo, sisig, and bistek. Out of all the dishes we had this day, the adobo was the one I liked the most. No matter what the meat used, this stewing process also uses vinegar, but is very unique from the Spanish version. It sits in quite a bit of oily sauce which is perfect with the rice.


The sisig falls the most flat due to the lukewarm nature of turo turo, something that many westerners complain about this style of eating already. When I knew I was not going to be able to finish, I saved most of my portion of the bits of pork head and liver and heated it up the next day at home on my stove. The bistek is the least recommended of everything we tried, and for beef is far less appetizing than the kaldereta.

The people working the counter here are busy at meal times, but friendly enough to answer questions for the uninitiated and give a very good experience.

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