Pancit, tapsilog, lumpia and more: where to find Filipino cuisine in Metro Detroit
Filipino food is not as ubiquitous in Metro Detroit as other cuisines from the region like Vietnamese or Thai.
There have for years been a few restaurants in the suburbs serving pancit, lumpia, garlic rice and other dishes from the Philippines, and recently there's been an uptick in restaurants serving food from the Southeast Asian country.
Many dishes from this region are variations seasoned meat over rice, especially pork and chicken. Pancit is a popular and versatile noodle dish that may be made with rice or egg noodles plus chicken, seafood and other toppings. Pancit palabok, for example, has hard-boiled egg slices and pork rinds.
Filipinos also make a hearty breakfast called silog, which is an egg and rice dish. There are many variations such as longsilog (egg, rice and sausage), tapsilog (egg, rice and beef) and even spamsilog (yes — egg, rice and Spam).
If you've got a Lola — that's "grandma" in Tagalog — around to cook you some homemade lumpia, you're lucky. If not, here's a guide to where to find the flavors of the Philippines in Metro Detroit.
Isla Detroit: Part of the Fort Street Galley food hall, Isla opened in December 2018 and has been one of the sole sources for Filipino food in downtown Detroit since then. Chef JP Garcia and Jacqueline Joy Diño are the longest-standing food stall inside the Galley, serving milkfish croquettes, seafood sinigang (a tamarind soup), batchoy (kind of like Filipino ramen), desserts and weekend brunch dishes like silog and fried chicken and ube waffles. Isla Detroit is looking for a standalone location, and in the meantime can be found at Fort Street Galley. Winter hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tues.-Thurs. and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 160 W. Fort, Detroit. (313) 230-0855 or fortstreetgalley.org.
Little Tree Sushi Bar: This pan-Asian restaurant has been serving Filipino cuisine longer than most. Dine on chicken and pork adobo stew with rice, Filipino-style paella or ginataang, a seafood dish with red curry, coconut milk, eggplant and garlic. Little Tree also has a full sushi bar, plus more Japanese dishes and Thai food. Open 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.-Wed., 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Thurs. and 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 107 S. Main, Royal Oak. (248) 586-0994 or littletreesushibarinc.com.
Edamame: This casual sushi destination has a lot of Filipino offerings, including an entire menu of egg and rice breakfast dishes. They also serve sisig, a seasoned pork dish topped with a fried egg that's described on the menu as "all the good parts from a pig's head, chopped up and fried." They also have a kamayan feast option, with your choice of three items plated on a banana leaf mat. They have beer, wine and sake, too. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Sat. and noon-8 p.m. Sun. 31632 John R, Madison Heights. (248) 597-4500 or edamamesushikitchen.com.
168 Philippine Cuisine: Also on John R, this new spot from the 168 Market family is serving Filipino street food like kwek kwek, boiled and deep-fried quail eggs, barbecue pork skewers and a snack called betamax, which is congealed and grilled chicken blood. (How's that for nose-to-tail cooking?) They also have traditional plates and other Asian favorites. Open 4-10 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 32415 John R, Madison Heights. (248) 841-0808 or 168philippinecuisine.com.
Edo Ramen: This new-ish Royal Oak ramen house is known for stylish interior and a diverse menu of noodle dishes, poke, fried rice and sushi. Their Filipino offerings include two versions of pancit with choice of rice or egg noodles, vegetables and a variety of protein options. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Fri., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat. and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun. 4313 W. 13 Mile, Royal Oak. (248) 556-5775.
Sarap: This popular Filipino pop-up from chefs Dorothy Hernandez and Jake Williams was created to fill a void of such cuisine in the area, aside from a few family restaurants. Sarap doesn't have a location, only special events at different restaurants and kitchens here and there. The next party is Feb. 18 at Frame, inside Joebar in Hazel Park. Hernandez and Williams will present a cooking workshop that teaches guests how to make a kamayan-style feast where everyone eats together on banana leaves, traditionally with their hands. Learn how to roll lumpia and prepare chicken adobo, fried pork belly and pickled green papaya, and then sit down and enjoy the bounty. 6:30 p.m. Feb. 18 and April 7. $65. 23839 John R, #2, Hazel Park. Buy tickets at framehazelpark.com. Learn more at sarapdetroit.com.
Red Ribbon Cake & Coffee Shop: This Filipino bakery serves beautiful purple ube cake, a sponge cake made purple by using mashed yams. The strip mall business also has cassava cake and other desserts, plus hot food. Open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Wed.-Mon. 36889 Ryan, Sterling Heights. (586) 978-1580.
Filipinas Oriental Foods: Breakfast is served as early as 7 a.m. at this grocery store and carry-out restaurant. 3866 E. 13 Mile, Warren. (586) 558-8550
Rice 'n Roll: This small Filipino-fusion restaurant is largely carry out and catering, but does have a small dining area. They serve pancit, fried rice and skewers of barbecued pork. Order items a la carte or get a combo. They serve colorful bubble tea, but no alcohol. Open 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Tues.-Sat. 27751 Harper, St. Clair Shores. (586) 217-5947.
Tropical Hut: Just across the Canadian border, find an array of chicken, beef, pork and fish dishes, noodle entrees and breakfast plates all day, including spamsilog with fried Spam, garlic rice and egg. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tues.-Sat. and noon-8 p.m. Sun. 618 Goyeau, #3, Windsor. (519) 915-9602.
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