Silog as You’re Here

September 19, 2018
by
1 min read

Every once in a while, you find someone who’s incredibly about their heritage and the food from their childhood. I lucked out recently–a friend introduced me to the specialties of Filipino cuisine well-executed by ladies cooking real, traditional Filipino fare at Fil-Am Eatery & BBQ, just past the intersection of Beach Boulevard and San Pablo Road in the Intracoastal area.

The cuisine of the islands is influenced by dishes of Malay, Spanish, Chinese and American tables, blended with indigenous ingredients and enhanced by the locals’ preferences.

There are some strong flavors here, and I’m hooked. They play with garlic tangy tastes–drool-worthy good. Each dish includes a large rice portion–you need a healthy scoop to get all the gusto.

Order refreshing calamanci juice ($2), made from the essence of calamondin oranges.

A flavorful pork appetizer, Sisig (pronounced SI-sig) ($14.95) was the dish I was most excited to try. I’d heard the late, great Anthony Bourdain often sing its praises. Sisig is a sizzling, crispy, rich masterpiece–you must ask for “sizzling.” It’s presented in a fajita-like skillet, bubbling hot, with a raw egg cracked right in the middle, which doesn’t stay raw for long. Mix it up so the egg coats everything evenly. The combination of tender meat, fresh ginger and spices, egg yolk richness and spicy fresh peppers makes each bite a joy.

Torta Talong ($10.95), a vegetarian item, is a giant omelet with a layer of roasted eggplant tucked in. The eggplant has a smoky, baba ganoush-ish taste; creamy, eggy and satisfying.

The Kare-Kare ($13.95), oxtail stew in peanut sauce, was probably my least favorite, but it was still good. Traditional stew has a thick savory sauce and lots of veggies. I love peanut butter, so I hate to say it was too peanut-y, but it was just quite strong.

The unknown quantity was Dinuguan ($9.95), a spicy, tangy combo spooned over rice. It’s a savory stew of tender, diced pork simmered in a rich, dark gravy of pig blood, garlic, chili and vinegar. Please don’t let my description stop you from ordering it! Its tart, piquant quality brought to mind a fresh, amazing citrus mojo marinade.

It may still be summer, but I’m ready for a new winter buddy: Sinigang Na Baboy ($10.95) (pronounced sin-i-gang) soup. This hearty meat-and-veggie mix was like a comforting Filipino version of chicken noodle soup. Dig out chunks of pork, sliced okra and eggplant, and adorn the rice. The meat was so tender, you could cut it with a spoon. The thin broth has a zesty, tamarind base; it warms you from the inside out.

There are lots of places to dine in our great city, but I have to say I’d choose Fil-Am over many of them. I’ll return for the exotic, aromatic fare again and again.

________________________________

If you have a recommendation or know of a new place, shoot me an email at biteclub@folioweekly.com.

Folio is your guide to entertainment and culture around and near Jacksonville, Florida. We cover events, concerts, restaurants, theatre, sports, art, happenings, and all things about living and visiting Jax. Folio serves more than two million readers across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, The Beaches, and Fernandina.

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