Mabuhay! Here’s a place that serves excellent home cooked Filipino food in Singapore that is not in Lucky Plaza.
Turo-turo, roughly translates from Tagalog to “point-point”, is a cafeteria style Filipino economic rice or fondly known locally as chap chai peng, but with Filipino offerings including rice and noodle dishes, slow-cooked stews and whole fried fish. Raymond and Sandra opened Kuya’s Kusinang Pinoy in Nov 2020 re-living the Filipino “turo-turo” tradition to lessen the feeling of “homesickness” for all OFWs in Singapore. Besides turo-turo, they also serve several ala carte classics cooked upon order.
Crispy pata is similar to the German deep fried pork knuckle but with Portuguese roots. Sounded simple, but the process to get the perfect crispiness is rather time consuming. First, the meat is stewed until tender with bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic, onion, and salt; then it is drained and chilled before being deep-fried. This process ensures that the meat is cooked through and the skin becomes as crispy as possible. This dish can be eaten as a main dish along with rice or as a “pulutan“ (small plates similar to tapas to accompany your drinks). Typically served with atcharang (pickled green papaya) and a dipping sauce made of soy sauce and vinegar with chilli for some heat.
Their crispy pata stayed crispy even though it was served 30 mins while we waited from another guest to arrive, a tell-tale sign that the pata was left freezer dried to achieve that level of crunch. The sauce was a little weak in the vinegar department in my opinion, but overall a really good eat.
Sizzling Pork Sisig
Another classic Filipino putulan, a dish that displayed the thriftiness of Pinoy mothers in not wasting anything. Sisig is a Filipino dish made from parts of a pig’s face and belly, and chicken liver which is usually seasoned with calamansi, onions, and chili peppers. Sisig is a Kapampangan term which means “to snack on something sour“, so it’s not that the dish has turned back. In fact the calamansi helps to reduce the greasiness of these meats.
Their sisig was served on a hotplate and it hit the spot for my craving for sisig in terms of flavours and fattiness. The fats came from chunks of pork belly used in the mix. Chicken liver was kept to minimal as modern city dwellers are no longer that into offals, and also you can’t get really fresh chicken livers in Singapore as we do not have an abattoir.
Sisig Puso ng Saging
Sisig na Puso or Pilawang Puso ng Saging is a vegetable dish made of banana heart cooked in vinegar with pork, garlic, and spices. Kilawin is a traditional cooking method that was used by Filipinos dating back from the pre-colonial period to help preserve meat and seafood. The difficulty is to make sure the banana heart is washed properly to remove all the bitter sap in the fruit/blossom.
This was a great dish to have with the rice. I scooped liberal amounts of the Puso ng Saging onto the rice, and it became an alternative to curry rice, a light and healthy alternative. Then you have the cholesterol inducing pork belly fats mixed into the vegetable, so the world is back in balance again.
Adobong Pusit is a tasty squid dish cooked using the popular Filipino adobo method. Squid is first boiled in soy sauce and vinegar then later sautéed in garlic, onions and tomatoes. This brings in an awesome array of flavours from the wide variety of condiments and umami that can only come from seafood.
I love these little squids and especially when the squid ink sacs are incorporated into the sauce. They were cooked al dente thankfully so we were chewing into “rubber bands”. And the sauce was another rice killer.
It’s a well known fact that Filipinos love stew and soup dishes. From the sour sinigang (vegetable soup which is only available on certain days) to the sweet tinola (chicken or fish stew with wedges of papaya, and leaves of the siling labuyo chili pepper ), there’s guaranteed to be a soup dish for every palate. But one of the most popular and arguably most delicious soups out there is the classic Bulalo or beef shank stew.
This was one of the best beef soup I have tasted in Singapore so far. Very clear and rich with beef taste, it was wonderful for the cold, wet day we were in that day. If you choose the special version, you will get the bone marrow as well. So you know where all those richness in the soup came from.
Chinese-Filipino cuisine has been a part of the culture for decades. Since pre-colonial times when traders used to dock on Philippines’ shores, the Chinese (mainly Hokkien from Fujian Province) have shared with the locals not only their barter and bargaining practices, but also their cooking. Dishes like pancit, lumpia and mami are some examples of traditional Chinese dishes that have been given a Filipino spin. Pata Humba or braised ham hock with salted black beans is one of the culinary influence where pork knuckles or trotters are braised in pineapple juice and soy sauce until they becomes tender. Fermented black beans (also known as tausi 豆豉) and dried banana blossoms are added during the cooking process. Humba has its roots 红烧肉 ang sio ba as per the Hokkien pronunciation.
It tasted like adobo (don’t they all taste like adobo), but the Chinese influence was very pronounced. A familiar taste of home, but distinctly Filipino twist of vinegar and sweetness together with the savoury black beans. The pork hock was braised to fork tender consistency, and the skin simply melted in the mouth.
Unahon ang bugas … the rice comes first: a Filipino saying that underscores the significance of rice in the Pinoy daily life. Here’s a joke once told to me by a Filipino friend about the large heap of rice I was served. “There’s no more rice on the plate. It’s just rice.” Get it?
An excellent eatery that is inexpensive and definitely authentic. We were the only non-Filipino queueing to get in just before their opening hour at 12pm daily. You can find out what’s cooking that day by following their Facebook (link below), which the owners diligently update for their daily specials. Difficult to find parking around the place except in the National Library directly opposite or Bras Basah Complex. No reservation.
Kuya’s Kusinang Pinoy
420 North Bridge Road #01-06 North Bridge Centre, Singapore 188727
Visited in Aug 2022