AUTHENTIC FILIPINO FOOD IN SYDNEY
The Filipino community is Sydney is the largest in all of Australia, which makes the Filipino food scene in Sydney some of the most authentic in the country.
Let me take you on this massive food tour around town, where I try some dishes for the very first time, as well as show you some dishes I recommend.
Here are all the details:
102/9 Railway St, Chatswood NSW 2067
The first thing on this long list is a spicy sisig. Sisig is a traditional dish where pig parts and chicken liver are chopped, boiled, grilled and stir-fried. The pig parts are mostly from the head, so you’ll find pig cheeks, ear and such.
It might not sound the most appetising, but the parts on a pig’s head is actually really rich in flavour. You get gelatinous skin, crunchy ears and fatty rich cheek meat. Yum!
Though the mixture at Pamana only utilises pig cheeks and chicken liver. It is seasoned with a bunch of spices and red onions, served on a hot plate.
I highly recommend this with their garlic rice.
Tip: be careful of the hotplate if you’re clumsy like me.
Next up on Pamana’s menu is pancit luglog. A rice noodle dish slathered in a thick, rich orange shrimpy sauce, with shrimp and egg served on top.
Within the sauce there is pork mince and fried pork crackling as well. I really enjoyed this dish. The flavours were rich and the shrimp flavour gave it a umami kick you typically get from dried seafood.
Another thing I tried from Pamana, was a chicken adobo. I don’t think I could do a Filipino food tour without including adobo.
Chicken Adobo is a salty, vinegary dish. Chicken is slowly cooked and then simmered in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and black peppercorns.
The flavours are strong and works best when eaten with rice.
I finished my visit at Pamana’s with another classic, Halo Halo. A very popular dessert from the Philippines.
Halo halo is similar to many South East Asian desserts, where ice, is mixed with a bunch of different jellies, beans and other treats. The one at Pamana was served with ice-cream ube, and even sweetcorn kernels among the mix.
Sydney Cebu LECHON
Shop 4/80-80A Enmore Rd, Newtown NSW 2042
In many ways, Sydney Cebu Lechon is an establishment within the Filipino community, serving delicious Filipino food for almost 30 years.
Started in 1991 as a catering business, they had opened a store in Newtown in 2019.
Their signature dish, you guessed it, is their lechon. Crispy pork.
Will use’s Australian free range pork marinated for 12 hours in garlic, spring onions, lemongrass, star-anise, sea salt, cracked peppercorns, bay leaves.
Then the pork belly is charcoal roasted for 3 hours. The dish includes soy-vinaigrette dipping sauce, house-made atchara/pickles and all purpose sauce.
There’s a limited supply of it everyday, so you better book or order in advance to save yourself from unnecessary disappointment.
This is a dish you HAVE to try at a restaurant. It’s simply not possible to cook at home, and Sydney Cebu Lechon takes great care at each step to serve you a flavourful, crispy pork dish you won’t regret.
Shop 5/39-45 Rooty Hill Rd N, Rooty Hill NSW 2766
Mama Lor’s menu is. EXTENSIVE.
They offer a whole array of Filipino food, desserts and even baked goods. I was overwhelmed by the options and went for their recommendations.
So to start off, we have a special bulalo. It’s a massive bowl of broth made from beef shank with the bone and marrow still attached.
From what I can tell, this soup is cooked for hours until all the flavour from that bone and marrow is infused into the soup, along with the other veggies.
It’s a stomach warming soup perfect for winters.
Tip, don’t let the bone marrow (bone butter) go to waste. Scoop it out and have it with rice! but also, you’ll probably want to share this with another person, because it is MASSIVE.
Next up, a barbecue pork skewer that wasn’t anything I expected.
The barbecue sauce wasn’t like anything I have tried before. It’s tart with a vinegary tang to its flavour. The pork is fatty and tender, but not overly rich because the tartness cuts through the fat perfectly.
Unlike most Asian cuisine, Filipino food actually has a rich history of baking due to its history.
And at Mama Lor, I got to try 2 classic Filipino cakes, the Sans Rival and an Ube Macapuno cake.
I’m not a big fan of sweets, I like my desserts to be more subtly sweet so the Ube macapuno cake takes my vote. The ube flavour is present, the cake is soft and the cream was really nice.
15 Hill End Rd, Doonside NSW 2767
This was a bit of an impromptu pit stop since I was in the area. I wouldn’t normally drive out so far for a bakery, so I had to take advantage of the fact that I was already close by.
Startlight Bakery is a Filipino bakery that’s been open for over 20 years in the area. I’ve heard so many good things about the Pandesal. I just had to try it.
But since I was there, I had to try a few others good they have.
Pandesal is a type of sweeten bread. It sounds and looks very unassuming, but it was delicious. They sell their pandesal in a dozen and I think I could happily eat the whole dozen in one go.
Slightly sweet, very soft and fluffy. Just a really nice bread roll.
I also tried their long donut, which was, from what I could tell, a donut in a long shape. Fresh, nicely fried and evenly coated with sugar.
A ube cheese pandesal, which wasn’t bad, but I preferred the original a lot more.
And Spanish bread. Spanish bread is another type of bread roll, but has a buttery paste inside. I really enjoyed it, it reminded me of a Hong Kong style cocktail bun.