Discovering the sub-culture
Noodlies, Sydney food blog takes a peak at an under the radar food
Educated and with high levels of English proficiency, the Filipino community in Australia has adapted particularly successfully. In fact, Filipino is Australia’s eighth most spoken language but what do we really know about their food?
In 2012 I discovered Filipino food by accident while in Hong Kong thanks to a late night eatery called FoodTrip Bedana’s Filipino. Since that time I’ve developed a minor fascination, especially since I discovered a local eatery, Mykababaya in Fairfield.
Despite the attempt to bling the place with exposed brick-look walls and function centre chair covers, Sizzling Filo immediately pulls you in with its homeliness; staff and customers are relaxed, service is warm and informal. Tonight, everybody seem to know everybody else. At the far wall is a small raised platform for Saturday karaoke. It’s a disarmingly charming place.
One thing noodlies has noticed is the community’s love of pork – just about any part of the pork. Hey, the place is called Sizzling Fillo, so we had to order sisig (above), it’s pork head, but don’t be alarmed it’s cut into small square pieces and fried with onion, then topped with a cracked egg. It comes to the table sizzling, ready for you to complete the stir fry at the table. The result is one juicy, gooey hot and delicious mess that’s best eaten with garlic rice.
Continuing the pork theme, we gnaw on crispy pata (pork trotters or knuckles), relax, it’s also chopped in into large chunky bits and is largely unrecognisable. Meat cooked on the bone can be rewarding, I imagine it’s sweeter and tastier because the bone infuses additional flavour. There’s also something satisfying about having permission to grab meat and gnaw it with your hands to be rewarded with crispy skin and oh-so tender well-cooked meat.
Kare kare is recommended by the staff to wash down the fried dishes. It’s beef and oxtail stewed in vegetables and peanut sauce – no wonder I love this cuisine, fat, oil and every bit of an animal, what’s not to like? It’s a sweet, rich stew that you can inject more oomph by adding side shrimp paste.
If you catch the train, Sizzling Fillo can be seen from the station. The place is typical of the Filipino community I know – warm, hospitable souls who love to have a good time. I’m kinda sad we’re not here on a Saturday night to catch the karaoke.
I guess we’ll have to come back. Maybe you should come too and tell me what you think?
36 Railway St, Lidcombe
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