Left photo shows Chori Burger by Jeepney and right photo shows Crispy Pata by Purple Yam
Facebook/Jeepney and Purple Yam-Brooklyn
Two Pinoy restaurants make Timeout's Top 100 NYC joints
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - October 19, 2019 - 5:02pm

MANILA, Philippines — No other culture seems to hold its cuisine as dear to the heart as much as the Philippines does, whose culinary tradition at times feels deeply embedded into its national identity. 

Enter Jeepney and Purple Yam, the former named after the distinctly Filipino mode of public transportation, two places that hit close to home in more ways than one. Among the 100 restaurants outlined in a list produced by Timeout of the best bistros of New York City's five boroughs were these two Pinoy restaurants that prove just that.  

Thursday nights see Jeepney quite literally up in arms for Kamayan Feasts, where guests can sign up to take part in the iconic Filipino tradition as tables are lined with banana leaves and patrons rush to gather their portions sans utensils.

They specialize in family-style eats in the vein of fermented, borderline exotic flavors. Dining here is an immersive, social and sensory experience that's more than just about the taste. It's more fun in the Philippines indeed. 

The restaurant is the brainchild Filipino friends Nicole Ponseca, Enzo Lim, Tomas Delos Reyes and Noel Cruz who wanted to bring the flavors of their childhood to the streets of New York. 

While the two have much in common culturally, what is perhaps most noteworthy about them is their unflinching adherence to Filipino cuisine in an overwhelmingly Western environment. 

Purple Yam was put up by couple Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan, "who for 15 years brought their native cooking to a gentrified corner of Manhattan," Timeout wrote.

Their approach seems to be much more subtle: while they lack the novelty of ideas like Kamayan festivals, what they bring to the table is the familiarity of beloved home-cooked dishes like chicken adobo and lechon kawali, which happen to be their calling card. Just like lola used to make. 

And although the Philippines is widely recognized today as a melting pot of global cuisine, Jeepney's strength lies in that it "refuse[s] to tone down flavors for Western palates while introducing the cuisine’s wide array of dishes," Timeout wrote.

Similarly, Timeout lauded that none of Purple Yam's culinary output "seems to be tempered to win over nonnative palates."

"Could this be the year New Yorkers finally give the cuisine its due? It’s clearly scoring points in Brooklyn," Timeout asked. We certainly hope so. 

NEW YORK CITY
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