Brunch as a New York institution almost always consists of booze, pancakes and eggs benedict. But that breakfast-meets-lunch phenomenon has been re-invented by Top Chef contestant Leah Cohen at her South East Asian influenced restaurant, Pig and Khao, in the Lower East Side. Although the menu also includes Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, I opted to go for the chef’s bold take on classic Filipino fare.
Corned Beef Hash
Filipinos like their corned beef chunky, a little soupy with semi-soft potatoes, sauteed in garlic and onions, and piled on top of rice. Pig and Khao’s version of cubed corned beef and diced potatoes is served on a sizzling platter with scallions and cilantro topped with just-cracked egg. This perfect one-plate wonder covers all your brunch basics: salty meat, runny egg and crispy potatoes. What’s not to love?
Sisig is invented in Pampanga, the Philippines’ culinary capital. It is eaten as pulutan which is a dish eaten while drinking beer. Traditionally made with pig’s face and ear mixed with onion, raw egg and a squeeze of calamansi, Leah Cohen’s interpretation did not really deviate from the norm. What she has done, however, is that she has made this daring dish a brunch staple for adventurous New Yorkers.
A fusion of sweet and savory tastes is essential to every brunch menu. This chocolate and bacon rice pudding is a delectable combination of sticky rice, coconut milk, chocolate and bacon bits. Typically paired with dried fish, this Filipino comfort food is best eaten when the weather gets chilly and the skies turn gray. Perfect for a snowy, winter day in the city.
With this off-beat brunch spot, do I have to give you another reason to get out of bed on a gloomy Sunday? Oh, last but not least, you can wash down all this mouth-watering goodness with unlimited mimosas. Cheers!
Written by Faith Azul-Evia. Faith is an avid flashpacker (a slightly older version of a backpacker with a bigger budget but still wants to avoid a packaged version of a destination) and believes that her travels start as soon as she steps out of her NY apartment building. She is in constant search of new places to explore, eat, drink, sleep, spa, run, hike and yoga. She has been to more than 40 countries on 6 continents and dreams of going to Antarctica someday. Follow her @faithflashpacks on Instagram.