by Cindy So
EMPACHO – A folk illness that originated from Latin culture which is used to describe when someone is a little too bloated from eating too much. We, Filipinos are no stranger to this word, we often hear our elders say “O, baka ma-empacho ka,” whenever we gorge ourselves on mom’s version of adobo or lola’s special kare-kare.
Despite the pessimistic mood attached to this word, one restaurant in Tomas Morato in Quezon City embraced the word EMPACHO on a whole new light. Serving modern Filipino fusion cuisine, Empacho prides itself on amazingly good food that guarantees to leave you hankering for more. A place with an upscale vibe with its wooden tables and chairs, high ceiling and urbane brown accents; their interior alone promises diners a good time.
The Foodie Station crew was invited for a weekday lunch and we’re lucky enough to sample their bestselling dishes; as well as some of their newest offerings. Empacho warning ahead!
Crispy chicken skin, salt and pepper chicharong bulaklak and isol inasal with three (3) special sauces. This platter is a a popular putok-batok choice amongst the Tomas Morato crowd. We couldn’t stop munching on the crispy chicken skin either!
Gourmet-style balut, anyone? Tempura battered balut with micro arugula salad and salted egg aioli. It might have been established in the last few years that anything with salted egg is pretty bomb. Empacho’s Balut Tempura is a prime example; the salted egg aioli gave it a really interesting taste. Oh, and in case you were wondering, each Balut Tempura is complete with the sisiw!
12-inch cut fries topped with bagnet sisig, cheese sauce and salted egg aioli. Our personal favorite from their newest dishes! It’s a super addicting bar chow or a nice starter before a heavy lunch.
CRISPY TOKWA’T BABOY
Deep fried and carefully cut chicharon bagnet on top of fried tofu with Empacho’s special salty-sweet sauce. It’s a heady combination, and beautifully served. Not your usual tossed tokwa’t baboy.
SPICY TAMARIND WINGS
Chicken wings in spicy tamarind sauce with fried chili. Say goodbye to your diets! This one has a tangy and citrusy taste which is unique from other chicken wings we’ve tried. There’s also a hint of spiciness in it but we loved that it wasn’t too strong and they focused on its tamarind infusion instead.
EMPACHO’S LECHON BELLY
Crispy oven-roasted and marinated pork belly, stuffed with herbs and spiced served with special sauce. Deadly – That’s the one perfect word to describe this dish. The pork belly has a nice layer of crispy skin, juicy and tender pork meat and glistening fat. One bite and it will have you feeling all kinds of guilt, but it’s still worth it.
CRISPY PORK KARE-KARE
A huge block of deep fried salted pork belly with Empacho’s annatto peanut sauce and bagoong. More like a deconstructed kare-kare, this particular dish is so good it reminded us of home.
What is an empacho-induced lunch without dessert, right?
SALTED EGG LAVA CAKE & BIBINGKA CASSAVA CAKE
Dulce lava cake with salted egg custard filling, this one may look simple and unassuming but open it and see the custard ooze out, scoop a bite and voila! It’s modern Filipino dessert at its best. And while you’re at it, don’t forget their Bibingka Cassava Cake, a classic and filling choice. A must-eat after an intense heavy lunch.
Dining at Empacho is one delightful experience; all you can do is just groan while rubbing your belly afterwards from being so full. They offer Filipino food which is somewhat simple but with a grand gesture. Not many restaurants in the metro can execute the “modern Filipino fusion cuisine” really well but Empacho does just that. They’re simply one of the restaurants you’d go back to time and time again. #ComeHometoEmpacho today!
Empacho is located at Unit 201, 2/F, 170 Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City.