Sometime in May, my 11-year old and I spent a long weekend in New York, just the two of us on a rare mother and son trip. The last time he was there was when he was four years old so I promised him some touristy things like a visit to the the Top of the Rock where we enjoyed the amazing new york city view and a walk through Wall street and Battery Park plus a bonus ferry ride to Staten island so he could see the Statue of Liberty. Of course part of the plan was to walk around the city and eat at interesting new places. One of these was Pig and Khao which my good friend Claudine along with her son David took us to – it was a mother and son weekend after all.
Owned by a half Filipina-half American former Top Chef, Leah Cohen, the place is a bustling narrow room on the lower east side with a charming terrace out back. The kitchen is not much larger than the one on a food truck with about three chefs slicing, dicing and frying what is a combination of Thai and Philippine dishes culled from the chef’s time traveling around southeast Asia. The menu is not extensive (three snacks, nine small plates, three large plates) and is mostly pork-centric (hence the pig logo) but there are also a few daily specials and there are so many interesting dishes that we wanted to order most of them, and then some.
In the end, we stuck mostly to the Philippine side and ordered the delicious quail adobo, her take on the classic Philippine dish of chicken and pork cooked in garlic and pepper infused soy sauce and vinegar. We also had the incredible sizzling sisig – typical bar food in the Philippines and quite difficult to master as it’s a rich, hot, spicy, crispy mix of chopped up pork jowls and head mixed in with a fried egg – definitely not low-cholesterol but oh so good! To keep to the pork theme, we also had another Philippine classic – crispy pata, deep fried pig trotters served with pickled green mango and two dipping sauces. From the specials, we also had the Thai fried soft-shell crab in green curry sauce and a side dish of the stir-fried kailan (Chinese greens). Of course I couldn’t resist to have my dinner with young coconut juice. We managed to polish it all off and still had space to share a large halo-halo – another classic Philippine dessert of shave ice, leche flan (milk custard), pinipig (toasted crispy rice) and purple ube (yam) ice cream – a fantastic end to a fantastic meal. Who would have thought that Filipino food could look and taste this good and be so reasonably priced (around $30 per person) in New York? (Check out their 2-star review from the NY Times) I didn’t and I’m already counting the days to my next meal there.
Pig and Khao
68 Clinton St.
Lower East Side
New York, NY 10002
Telephone: +1 212 920 4485
*Open for dinner daily, Brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Reservations recommended.