Believe it or not, there is finally a Filipino restaurant in the Low Countries! In my more than five years here, never was there a time when a restaurant serving honest-to-goodness Pinoy food existed in one form or another. There were rumors a while back that one was open in some never-heard-of town somewhere but many attempts of google-checking came up with nothing. It almost seemed like a mystical fairy tale that occasionally came up in conversation. Having stopped looking years ago, lo and behold, Teko suddenly invited me to one that opened just a few months ago in The Hague! They didn’t have a web site but thankfully had a facebook page which showed a fairly decent-looking restaurant in a nice part of the city. It looked promising. We finally made it there last weekend to satisfy my curiosity — and my taste buds.
Glancing around there were of course the usual Filipino restaurant staples – karaoke paraphernalia, live band stage, and some capiz lamps here and there. What stood out though were the jeepney replica/bar area and the all-Caucasian waitstaff, quite literally, as they towered over the naturally-short Filipino clientele. The heavy cutlery and the relatively decent furniture were nice touches that gave the place a bit of mid-market appeal. It definitely wasn’t a carinderia-class affair.
After a quick look at the simple menu, I decided to get the tocino rice plate – or more colloquially, the all-time favorite tocilog. I guess I lowered my expectations well enough that when it came, I was surprised how generous it looked. Even better, it hit the spot and tasted just as I expected it to. The garlic rice was just a perfect complement to the cured pork that I wolfed it all down though I ended up not touching the veggies at all. I wanted to suggest they make some pickled sides instead but I decided to save it for next time. Teko, meanwhile, got the chicken afritada and loved it. Was that a relief! And since we still had a bit of space left for dessert, it was turon and some world-famous halo-halo. Both were okay, though for sheer nostalgia value the halo-halo won out hands down.
It was only a shade busy the Saturday night we were there so I’m crossing my fingers the place stays in business a while. Nothing beats it for nostalgic comfort food, but sad to say the last time I was in The Hague was way before I even got through my first year of living in Holland so the chances of me being back in those parts will likely take just as long. I sure do hope they’re still around when I do.