When you think of food snags in the incomparably iconic city of New York, you'd think of cheesecake, pizza, hotdogs– and, of course, bagels, to dunk in a takeaway latte. Maybe even lobster, which we've seen time and time again on TV. Still, no free-associative conversation about NYC food would involve kwek-kwek or Pinoy-style barbecue. Bituka ng baboy strung on a stick would be the farthest thing from your mind.
But then again, the world is full of surprises. Pop up vendor So Sarap NYC has officially brought Pinoy street food to the streets of the Big Apple.
They've got nearly everything you'd expect from your local Sunday market snack troupe: fishball, kwek-kwek, isaw, balut penoy chicharon, taho, ice candy, binatog, green mangoes and bagoong, sorbetes, and inihaw na barbecue.
Founded by fine dining chef VJ Navarro and his high school friend-turned business partner Sebastien Shan, So Sarap NYC's goal is simple: "Our mission is to remind you of your childhood memories and give you a taste of what Filipino street food is about."
According to an interview, Sebastien said he got the idea for the mobile food business from VJ's father, Manong Ilio, who was a street food vendor in the Philippines. The latter now serves as the head chef in their 9-person team.
Since its launch in SoHo on August 9, 2020, the pop-up business has enjoyed considerable success. Filipinos in the area would queue for hours just to get a taste of home. For us Filipinos, it really is true that no other cuisine can hold a candle to the nostalgia and heart of Filipino flavors!
Due to the pandemic, So Sarap NYC's operations are limited. Starting May 11, they will be offering Filipino-infused tacos on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 3 P.M. to 8 P.M. at Kabisera Kape Kalye, 151 Allen Street, New York, 10002.
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