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Archive for the ‘long island’ Category

There’s definitely a lack of a Filipino fooding scene in NYC.  I only know of two restaurants in Manhattan off the top of my head that serve Filipino cuisine and I’ve been to neither.  I’ve been to Dragonfly, but that doesn’t count as it’s a fusion of cuisines where Filipino is just one of the many.  Corinne informs me that there’s a bit of a scene in Queens, but it’s still not as big as I’d expect.  Thus, most of the Filipino food I’ve ever eaten was home-made.  When Corinne told me about Guiradelco, a hole-in-the-wall type place in the middle of nowhere, Long Island- I had to go!  I finally went out there one Saturday to meet Corinne and her bf for lunch and would totally do the journey again. 

 guiradelco outside guiradelco seating 

This family owned restaurant has a little grocery store attached that sells many of its items in frozen form along with other Filipino goodies and sauces.  On the restaurant side, the tables are set up with red and white checkered picnic table clothes, actual silverware and cheap plastic chairs. 

When one walks into the restaurant, one is greeted by a long counter of foods available for the day.  One can either point at the dishes they want or call it out to the woman behind the counter.  I left all the ordering to Corinne, but requested the rice noodles because they looked really good.  I do like to eat with my eyes.  We ended up ordering quite a few dishes for just the three of us.   Not only is there no real menu, there are no prices- but I believe each entree costs around $6 (they’re all the same price), and the smaller dishes and appetizers are a bit less.

guiradelco- picking dishes

Pancit bihonis the name of the rice vermicelli noodles we had; in it were veggies, pork, chicken, and colored with achuete.  Achueteis a spice and a food dye to provide “bright and exotic appearance” for dishes.  This looks very similiar to the $1 rice noodles from the Chinatown cart vendors.  I think the achuete made the biggest difference in this dish to change it from a typical Chinese stir-fry noodle dish to something Filipino.  The spice gave a tangy taste to the noodles, which I’m not crazy about, but the dish would have been flavor-less without it.  I liked all the veggies in it – so I kept eating this instead of the white rice we ordered. 

pancit

Bopis is Corinne’s favorite dish; it’s basically chopped up pig parts: heart, lung, liver, stomach, belly, ear, cheek flavored with achuete and sili, which are chili bird peppers.  I thought the meats were tough and I couldn’t decipher which parts were which, which I guess doesn’t really matter since it all tastes the same anyways.  This dish was easily mixed into rice and eaten together with the accompanying sauce. 

bopis

Kare-kareis oxtail in a peanut sauce served with a shrimp paste accompaniement and greens such as string beans and bok choy on top.  I like the taste of the oxtail, it was cooked until soft and the meat came off the bone easily.  The dish came with about 3 big pieces of oxtail.  The sauce for the kare kare did not taste peanut buttery to me, but the mildness served as a good sauce to mix my rice in.

kare kare

For the boy, we ordered something he would actually recognize- barbeque pork skewerswith a honey glaze.  These can be bought frozen next door, as are many of the other edibles here.  As you can see on the plate, there’s a ton of ooey oils that leak from this yummy treat.  At first, I thought it was the honey that glazes the pork, but I can tell you after dipping my fork into that and into my mouth, it most certainly is not.  The pork was very flavorful and not at all overdone [don’t let that bit of black coloring sway you!], albeit a bit tough to fight off the skewer.   

pork skewers

While we were working on all the aforementioned goodies, they were preparing our lumpia shanghai in the kitchen.  These mini eggrolls are filled with pork and carrots; they are accompanied by a sweet and spicy dipping sauce [my fave!] .  I love the flaky crunchy outside and how it gives way to a meaty goodness center [ok- so this is what a meatlover would say.. me… I love doucing the whole thing in sauce].  They definitely don’t skimp on the amount of meat for such a little roll- one could barely detect the bits of carrots that are intertwined in the molds of pork.

lumpia shanghai

Another variety, which is probably healthier to some extent, is the fresh lumpia.  I was most excited to try this because I was originally told it was a veggie dish.  Buttttt, much to my dismay, this has shrimp in it, which I’m allergic to, so I gave mine to the Corinne’s bf.  The fresh lumpia comes in a soft shelled roll, almost reminiscent of a soft shelled taco, stuffed with various veggies like celery, cabbage and carrots, shrimp, and topped with some minced garlic.  It lies in a bed of “garlic and mild soy sauce” according to the NY Times.   

veggie lumpia

For my drink, Corinne recommended a typical Filipino iced drink that could probably double as a dessert.  Many Asian cultures have similar drinks – the Chinese with the flavored juices and aloe/ jelly/ tapioca pearls at the bottom, the Malaysians with with their coconut creations and the Vietnamese with their varieties.  This one is called the sago’t gulaman and it is a mix of white tapioca with gelatin and the liquid is made of brown sugar base [I read somewhere banana extract is also used but I didn’t taste any].  Overall, this drink was overly sweet because basically, you’re drinking sugar water, but it was oddly addicting.  The gelatin and tapioca just serves as interesting textures with the ice – they really have no unique flavors of their own. 

ice drink - brown sugar

After all this food, we still had room for dessert!  It basically came in the same style as the sago’t gulaman with layers of stuff on the bottle, shaved ice, and juice.  We ordered halo-halo, a mixture of red beans, white tapioca pearls, coconut, jackfruit, sweet yam (ube), leche flan, coconut milk and topped with mango ice cream.  These medley of flavors really do a number on the taste buds; this is definitely one of the most unique blends of food stuffs I’ve seen.  I would never think to put all these things into one place.  The mango ice cream was probably my favorite part [so creamy and soft!], next to the flavorful flan and the rich coconut juice.  

dessert  guiradelco dessert dessert 2 purple yam?

Overall, I had a good experience at Guiradelco even though I had to take a little journey on the LIRR to get there.  Sometimes it’s fun to travel for food… like the journey to French Laundry!!  [I think I’m going in a few months!]  Anyhow, this is a bit out of the way for us crazy Manhattanites who don’t have a license [yes, I don’t drive- period] but they do serve up some authentic Filipino fare for those willing to make the trip. 

Thanks to Corinne for introducing me to this restaurant and helping me with various food descriptions on this post!

Guiradelco
324 Post Avenue
Westbury, LI

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