Crain’s Tribune | Grace Wong | October 4, 2019
Whether it’s rolling up your sleeves and digging into crispy soft shell crab at Sunda’s Kamayan Feast or dining at one of the many Filipino restaurants in the Chicago area for the very first Filipino Restaurant Week, you can celebrate Filipino American History Month with delicious bites beyond the lumpia and pancit you already love.
Filipino Restaurant Week (Oct. 6 to Oct. 21) is a collaboration between The International Society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting and the Philippine
Consulate General of Chicago. The event features special prix fixe menus from Filipino restaurants in the city and ’burbs, and diners will receive a stamp for each order off the special menu, which will enter them into a raffle to win prizes. SX Sky Bar will host the launch party and MORA Asian Kitchen in Bolingbrook will host a block party and raffle drawing.
Ravenswood’s Bayan Ko is also hosting a Kamayan dinner on Oct. 28 with two seatings, one at 6 p.m. and one at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 per person and guests should email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations.
Even if you miss Filipino Restaurant Week, there are other ways to celebrate through food. Free Rein’s chef Kristine Subido will serve up The Filipino Breakfast, with tocino (Filipino bacon), garlic fried rice, sunny side up eggs, and a vine-ripened tomato salad, every weekend in October for 20% off. Subido was born in Manila and ran Pecking Order, a Filipino-inspired restaurant in Uptown that she owned with her mother before it closed a few years ago.
Sunda will host a number of special events, including two dates for its Kamayan Feast and a charity benefit for owner Billy Dec’s documentary project “Food. Roots.” for PBS. The restaurant will also offer new menu items inspired by different Filipino regions.
The special menu includes empanadas made with longanisa (sausage), papaya, egg and garlic vinaigrette from Vigan; kare-kare, a Filipino stew with braised oxtail, bok choy, green beans, eggplant, peanut gravy, bagoong, crispy tripe and chiles from the Island of Luzon; ginataang mussels with coconut milk, lemongrass, turmeric, watercress, bagoong and chiles from the Bicol region; and lechon kawali, crispy pork belly and garlic vinaigrette from the Bulacan region.
Sunda’s charity event will include exclusive viewings of clips from the documentary that shows Dec learning family recipes, plus a tasting of the dishes inspired by these experiences. The benefit costs $100 and all funds raised will go toward production work, additional filming, marketing and community outreach. For tickets, email Stacey Efstathiou at email@example.com.
And finally, the Kamayan Feast will be held Oct. 19 and Oct. 29, featuring the traditional family style meal that is eaten with your hands. The 30-foot spread will include Cebu-style lechon, crispy soft shell crab, Pinoy-style barbecue chicken, whole fish, longanisa, dragon fruit, Manila mangos dusted with ichimi, steamed Chinese broccoli, roasted rainbow cauliflower with miso and more served on banana leaves. Tickets are $55 and can be purchased at sundanewasian.com.
“Food and culture across the Philippines is incredibly varied — there are 7641 islands that make up the country,” wrote Louie Yu, Philippines-born chef at Sunda, in an email. “Dishes and culture evolve from region to region, with influences from Spain, China & so many other amazing areas around the world, making Filipino food a constantly changing, dynamic and intriguing genre to explore.”
Filipino Restaurant Week participating restaurants:
Bacolod Chicken Haus, 6320 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
Brew Lounge, 1062 Lee St., Des Plaines
Chicken Ati-Atihan, 9054 W. Golf Road, Niles
Finley Dunne’s Tavern, 3458 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
Grand Cafe, 2205 E. Oakland Ave., Bloomington
Isla Pilipina, 2501 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago
Jennivee’s Bakery, 3301 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago
Kusina De Manila, 632 W. Algonquin Road, Des Plaines
Lola Tining’s Cuisine, 1141 Garfield St., Oak Park
Meat on the Street, 125 N. 9th St., Milwaukee
Mesa Manila, 2764 Aurora Ave., Naperville
Mora Asian Fusion, 24108 Lockport St., Plainfield
Mora Asian Kitchen, 201 Harrison St., Oak Park, and 627 E. Boughton Road, Bolingbrook
Pampanga’s Cuisine, 6407 N. Caldwell Ave., Chicago
Pinoy Grill Filipino Street Foods, 2324 E. Rand Road, Arlington Heights
Sky Bar at Hotel SX, 808 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
Sunda, 110 W. Illinois St., Chicago
Uni-Mart One Stop Shopping, 2475 W. 75th St., Woodridge
Yelo Geneva, 17 N. 4th St, Geneva