Earlier this weekend, Culture Editor Tony Gong attended Liga Filipina’s inaugural “Taste of the Philippines.” Between bites of crispy lumpiang and creamy flan, Tony found a few golden moments of serenity brought on by an atmosphere that could only have been: the Philippines, a.k.a., Lerner Party Space.
Never one to pass up an inexpensive meal or a chance to broaden my cultural lens beyond M2M (no offense, M2M – you my dawg), I decided to check out “Taste of the Philippines,” the first Liga Filipina (translation: league of Filipinos) event of the semester.
For those readers who are not as good at navigating Wikipedia as I am, the Philippines is a collection of thousands of islands that constitute a small country in Southeast Asia, known for its unique confluence of Hispanic, Indian, Chinese, urban, and indigenous cultures. Its vice president is Noli De Castro.
…And my favorite dish, after the jump!
The centerpiece of the night was its food, which aimed to bring a sense of national unity to the different cultures that the Philippines has come to embody. To that end, the dishes that Liga Filipina offered were among the most universally enjoyed in the country.
My plate, loaded with some of the most popular Filipino favorites – [counter-clockwise starting from the top] lumpiang shanghai (a fried chicken roll, with several sauces to select from), bistek (a sirloin beef dish, garnished with onions and a citrus-y flavor), pancit bihon (thin noodles, somewhere in between the flavor of pad thai and the Chinese stir-fried noodles my mom makes sometimes), and rice (a popular cereal grain):
The selection would have left few unsatisfied. The pancit bihon (which was offered with both meat and vegetarian) was light enough to enjoy alone, and the lumpiang, with some well-placed bites of rice ate like a snack. Meanwhile, steak-lovers would be happy with bistek, which, while dry at times, balanced nicely with the fresh onions and some lumpiang sauce that I got mixed in accidentally. Other dishes not tried were pancit canton and chicken adobo, which, judging by their names and my dramatic use of italics, were probably pretty good too.
The boss dish, however, was dessert: delicious leche flan, made personally by Liga Filipina prez Monica Qua Hiansen. It was creamy without being too thick, and sweet in a way that still revealed the egg yolks that were carefully scrambled to make it. It was better than Fruit Roll-Ups during 2nd grade snack time. Here was my serving, enjoyed in one of the smallest plastic cups I have ever seen:
By the way, when did Lerner Party Space get so baller? Just sayin’. I mean check out these orange couches: