(New York) – I love almost all kinds of cuisines and you bet that Filipino food is on top of my list. Everywhere I go, I plan to visit a Pinoy restaurant if some place exists. Well in New York, you got abundant options to choose from. So, I researched and found 2 seemingly good places. But my New Yorker friend, Rey, suggested a different one called Ihawan. He knows NY better so I agreed. He only has good things to say about this place. Now, it’s for me to find out.

Just arrived in New York past 1PM and I was up for a late light lunch. I planned for a really nice dinner so I didn’t want to ruin it with a heavy lunch. But how could you have a light lunch in a Filipino eatery. The words “light” and “Filipino food” very rarely go together in one sentence. I thought to myself, let me just get “palabok” or “lugaw”, sort of my usual afternoon snack when I was kid in Manila. But call me hyprocrite or what, it never happened. Look at what we ordered.

Free “Nilagang Manok” Soup. It’s tasty. I wouldn’t mind paying for this.

Red Horse and “Sago’t Gulaman” (sweet drink mixed with tapioca pearls and jelly). The bottle of originally-Pinoy malt beer Red Horse looks slimmer than I remember. But nonetheless the horse can still throw some strong kick that every Pinoy enjoys.

Chop Suey (Chinese style mixed vegetables with shrimp). Yum! The sauce is a little thick and that’s the way I like it. However, it’s missing some quail eggs which are my favorite.

Pancit Palabok (Rice noodles topped with shrimp, eggs and shrimp sauce). Ayayay! This is really good and flavorful. I love it.

Sisig (Grilled pork ears and snout with chili pepper, onion and lemon). This is a no brainer. As soon as I saw this on the menu, I totally forgot my light lunch plans and eagerly ordered it. It looks exactly as how it is served in Manila, on a sizzling plate. I love it more!

Crispy Pata (Chopped fried pork knuckle with vinegar soy sauce on the side). Well-seasoned, ridiculously crunchy on the outside but moist on the inside. More rice please!

Turon (fried yellow plantain and jackfruit springrolls with a scoop of ice cream). Cruchy and sweet turon with mango ice cream? How could it not be good?! Tell me! Lol.

My lunch didn’t go as I envisioned it while in the plane. But it became better. Besides the good food, the place is neat and cozy. Without the signage, I would have thought that it was a Japanese restaurant or something.  The name of the place (Ihawan) might not be too creative or catchy to a Filipino ear or might not be understandable to non-Filipinos. But who cares; they serve spot-on Filipino dishes and treat their patrons with Pinoy hospitality- with warmth that makes you feel at home. I hope they stay strong for many more years. Wonderful job, Jackie Bacani.

10-07 50th Street,
Long Island City, NY
(718) 937-7373