Pig and Khao: Where Filipino dishes get a dash of Thai flavor

Been raring to check out Pig and Khao, a Fil-Thai fusion restaurant, since it was featured in the tasting table newsletter a few weeks ago. it’s the restaurant of leah cohen, a half-filipina chef who gained national attention as a contestant on bravo’s “top chef” cooking competition. fortunately, my dear friend E was game to try it, so a couple of weeks ago, after catching a matinee of the broadway play “Peter &Β the Starcatcher,” she and I trekked to the lower east side.

the restaurant, on clinton street, was a little hard to find; the name on the glass front was difficult to read at night. i have to admit i was a little concerned when i saw no filipino faces when i walked in. see, i subscribe to the idea that you can tell right away if a restaurant is good if “locals” patronize it. but soon after we arrived,Β  a couple other groups came in with filipinos. don’t know if they were regulars or first-timers like us but they looked excited enough to be there πŸ˜‰

chicharon appetizer

our server started us off with a couple bottles of san miguel beer and chicharon (fried pork rinds) sprinkled with five spice. points for serving chicharon with vinegar and fish sauce. E liked the combination of flavors. i, on the other hand, was disappointed because the chicharon was “bula” β€” the puffy kind that seems be made of air. growing up, we considered “bula” as cheap, second-rate. it’s the chicharon most often associated with the vendors who board the buses heading to and from manila. (chicharon connoisseurs know the best pork rinds have three layers: a thick layer of crunchy skin, a thick layer of creamy fat and a thin layer of meat.) the five spice put me off as well. just give me plain salt with my pork rind any day.


i really got excited when i saw sisig on the menu and promptly placed an order. i didn’t really “tout” it to E because i wasn’t sure what we were gonna get. i was pleasantly surprised. they got the part of the pig right: pork head, and it was spicy enough to make me reach for my san mig (that’s a good thing!). they also added a spice β€” i’m not sure what exactly … tasted like anise to me β€” that added a hint of sweetness. i really, really liked the sisig. and it went well with the delicious coconut rice (E called the rice “almost dessert”).

i also enjoyed the grilled sirloin, which as you can see was cooked medium rare and served with issan dipping sauce (kinda like a sweet and sour chili sauce). those brown things on top were garlic chips.

grilled sirloin

my favorite dish of the night, however, was the grilled pork jowl salad with watermelon, lime-chili sauce, herbs, chicharon (different from the puffy ones) and herbs. the flavor was reminiscent of the watermelon pickle and crispy pork belly i had at fatty crab. the pork was so tender.

i hope to go back and check out the other items on the menu, such as the crispy pata with pickled green mango and grilled curry lamb ribs. i might even bump into yankees captain derek jeter, who according to published reports, enjoyed the sisig recently πŸ˜‰


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Betis Boy says:

    ha.ha. i remember the bula chicharon we ordered in the bus that disintegrated when the vendor put vinegar on it πŸ˜€ i kept on buying though. he.he. our friend J is addicted to chicharon guagua (who isn't?). and coconut milk, don't get me started on that. there's a fastfood joint here that sells that along with 3 pcs of dimsum that goes for just 40 bucks. it's actually a meal instead of a snack. will post about it soon.


  2. Guagua Girl says:

    coconut milk? you mean the coconut rice, right? i still have to figure out how they made their coconut rice because it's really good. i wonder if they used coconut juice instead of coconut milk …


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