Category Archives: fried

Favorite Things: Ihawan Indulgences

Ihawan Restaurant (70th & Roosevelt in Woodside, Queens) is the place to go for authentic Filipino food in New York. Known for their pork barbecue skewers, we also frequent this place their other specialties, namely Daing na Bangus (fried milkfish), Crispy Pata (fried pork knuckles), and sisg (sizzling pork facial muscles and ear).

The Daing is perfectly fried and the serving is very generous. Served whole and butterflied and deboned, it is a favorite breakfast treat eaten with rice and dipped in spiced vinegar.

The Crispy Pata is just fried pork personified. The photo is self-explanatory.

And finally, the Sizzling Sisig is an explosion of taste. A famous drinking dish, finely chopped cheek muscles are sauteed in onions and sprinkled with lemon juice before serving. I don’t think you’ll find anything quite like it.
I’ve lived in NY for a decade and have sampled several restaurants in the tri-state area, but nothing comes close to Ihawan in authenticity and value. And I haven’t even mentioned the avocado shake yet! (Say what?!) Notice I didn’t mention anything about decor and ambience. It’s a Filipino restaurant. What do you want? 

Bean Sprout Lumpia (Lumpiang Toge)

Lumpiang Toge (Bean Sprout Spring Roll) is one of the comfort foods I grew up with. Street vendors served them out of baskets of fried food, along with a bottle of spiced vinegar you can use to douse the lumpia to your heart’s content.

Filling: firm tofu, snap peas, mung bean sprouts sauteed in garlic and onion.

I’ve learned to make lumpia using mung bean sprouts and when I can find them, ones simply labeled “crunchy sprouts.” I’m not really sure what beans they originate from, but I sure like the added crunch and coarse texture they give the roll.

The filling is made by sauteing garlic and onions, browning some tofu and adding the sprouts as well as any other vegetables you might want to add (julienned string beans, snap peas, carrots). Stirfry until almost cooked then season with salt, pepper, and if available to you, a drizzle of fish sauce. Drain the vegetables and wrap in spring roll wrapper, then fry until brown. Incidentally, spring rolls are an ingenious way of using leftover vegetable stirfry, as long as the ingredients are chopped well and are dry.

I like serving mine with spiced vinegar, crushed garlic, and soy sauce. Just like home.


(Photos by Kanako Shimura)

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