The 5 Best Filipino Restaurants in Singapore
Eat & Drink | March 29, 2016
A lot of people recognize Filipino cuisine through the country’s famous lechon – a whole roasted pork dish. But this diversified cuisine is much more than just lechon. With a beautiful mix of its Austronesian origins and the influences from Spanish, American, Chinese and Malay cuisine, Filipino food is an epic world to explore.
For the first start right in Singapore, you can use our list of five best Filipino restaurants as a guideline to embark on your new culinary journey.
- First and only Spanish inspired Filipino restaurant in Singapore: If you are craving for some authentic yet affordable Filipino food with a Spanish twist, Cafe Calle Real is the real deal.
- Lechón de leche: Roasted baby suckling pig, stuffed with lemongrass and herbs, is the most popular dish at this restaurant. The meat has a perfect crisp on the outside and interiors are so juicy.
- Wide variety of foods so that there is something for everyone: Besides Spanish style Filipino food (such as Tapas, Paella and Baby Suckling Pig), you can take your pick from a fusion of Chinese, Singaporean and even Western flavours. With Café Calle Real’s large, diversified menu, nobody will leave hungry.
- Great choice for intimate, cosy dinner: Café Calle Real is a really charming place dominated by vibrant yellows and deep reds, giving it a nice colourful Spanish touch. The place is decorated with paintings all over showing The Philippines' Spanish heritage. It is a perfect place to enjoy good and inexpensive Filipino dishes in a cosy, intimate ambience.
- Warm hospitality with friendly staff: Reasonably priced, authentic Filipino food and a great service. It is a combination rare to find. A smile on your face is always guaranteed.
- Best setting to hold parties and special events: This Filipino restaurant is gaining immense popularity as a place to host dinner parties, small weddings, birthday celebrations, and even office parties and product launches.
- Very small menu but it works really well: The menu of Mang Kiko's features only three dishes – Roasted Chicken, Roasted Pork Belly and Pork Barbeque. Available in both set meal and a la carte, these three delicious viands are good enough to knock roasted meat lovers out.
- One of the best Roasted Pork Belly (leimpo) and Roasted Chicken (lechon manok) in Singapore at S$6: The set meal (S$6), covering complementary rice, free flowing Sinigang soup and a generous portion of Roasted Pork Belly or Roasted Chicken is the bestseller at any Mang Kiko's outlet. Such crispy skin and fat with meaty flavour just melts in your mouth.
- Filipino Spit-style rotisserie grill for that real taste: The juicy chunks of pork belly or chicken are spun and roasted over a charcoal flame right at the store. Turning brown, crisp and perfectly charred.
- The best place in Singapore to have lechon: Through Iskina Cebu, lechon (chargrilled pork) is introduced to Singaporeans and the home-sick Filipinos. As they say “take bite or take that flight” because without this Filipino eatery, people will have to fly to Cebu, Philippines in order to feast on an authentic crispy lechon. To have the dish at its best, lechon lovers should arrive in the place at 12:30 on weekends or 17:30 on weekdays when the roasted pig is just ready after 5 hours spun over the charcoal fire.
- Watch the grillers as they roast a pig: Definitely this is not something vegetarians would want to see. But if you are a fan of pork-based dishes, seeing how the pigs are being grilled over a hot charcoal pit could be found fascinating. You can just imagine the juiciness in the meat as the flavourful marinade is being brushed all over the pig’s body for 5 hours of roasting!
- Crunchy pork skin and tender meat: The best thing about Cebu roasted pork is the crunchiness and juiciness you can get from every bite. The marinade stays intact in the meat so don’t be surprised why the meat tastes heavenly. But some may not like the saltiness of the lechon so be sure to dip it into a sauce made of garlic, vinegar, spices, and herbs and pair your meal with a can of soda.
- Lechon de Cebu set at S$10: Diners may choose to go with a la carte order (S$40 per kilogram) or set meal (S$10). Served with a bowl of white rice, the lechon set meal is generous enough to make its fans satisfied.
- Grilled dishes marinated in traditional Filipino spices: Even back in the Philippines, Gerry’s Grill is widely known for its grilled pork and seafood. You wouldn’t probably leave the restaurant without having a taste on their Pork BBQ which is dressed in thick sweet and spicy sauce. Grilled Squid is soft and chewy to the mouth, you won’t have a hard time eating it the same with the Pork Liempo. Typical Filipino condiments are available so make sure to mix your own toyo-mansi (Soy sauce and Philippine lemon) sauce.
- Superb a la carte menu: If you crave Filipino viand more than noodles and vegetables, Gerry’s Grill has Sisig, Grilled Chicken, Pork BBQ, Kare-Kareng Baka (Beef Stew with Peanut Butter), and the Chicken & Pork Adobo on ala carte. But a Filipino food dining experience wouldn’t be complete without rice, so a variety of rice (steamed, adobo, or garlic) is also available for less than S$2.
- Pinaputok na Cream Dory: Price starts at S$11.95, this unique Filipino dish is a sure winner for Singaporeans and the Pinoys. The dory fish is wrapped and steamed in fresh banana leaves so it tastes scrumptious and looks healthy; a must for the health-conscious. To add flavour, fish is also topped with onion, leeks, and tomatoes.
- Esplanade branch is open ‘til 2AM: Late diners may grab a quick dinner at Gerry’s Grill Esplanade. It is also perfect for those who might want to cap off their day with a few drinks.
- Turo-turo (Self-service) restaurant: Head straight to the counter and point out which dishes you’d like to order. Sounds familiar, right? While this type of service isn’t truly unique, this is how most Filipinos roll in food courts and eateries so there is some sense of homey ambiance in the restaurant.
- Dishes have strong flavour: Kabayan has experienced chefs at the helm in order to guarantee consistent Filipino taste in their dishes. Neither balanced nor smooth, the dishes have an intense flavour (garlicky, sour, sweet) and apparent texture which may not favour the palate or lifestyle of everyone. This is why it is advisable to pair your meal with a cup of rice, dessert, or vegetable side dishes.
- Filipino breakfast favourites: Missing the fried rice, sunny side up egg, and meat combination for breakfast? Kabayan has got them all covered. Order TapSiLog (Tapa, Siningang, Itlog), one of the restaurant’s best-sellers. It is also served with slices of tomato and cucumber and pickled papaya salad.
- Cheaper prices: As the name itself implies, Kabayan (fellow countryman) is a restaurant for the “masses”, with price ranges anywhere between S$5 and S$10 for a meal set. Both on-the-budget foodies and the thrifty ones will find this restaurant a great choice for lunch or dinner.
- Convenient location: You can find Kabayan Filipino Restaurant in the Orchard Garden, Lucky Plaza.
- Offers catering service: A competitive catering service for your special occasions, Kabayan is more than ready to make any Filipino dish you’d ask for. Service includes dining ware and delivery/pick-up at restaurant.
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