Filipino food in Dubai

February 25th is People Power Day in the Philippines. For the thousands of expats here in Dubai it is an opportunity to get a taste of home

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Thousands of Filipino expats in Dubai will be thinking of home this week as their country celebrates People Power Day.

While at home it is a celebration of the ousting, 22 years ago, of the Marcos dictatorship it will be seen by Pinoys in Dubai as a chance to celebrate together and remember home.

Feel the atmosphere and join in the celebrations with one of Dubai’s most vibrant communities by trying some Filipino food. Time Out selects 7 restaurants where you can enjoy delicacies from the islands.

Smiling Bar-B-Q & Shabu Shabu Dubai’s ‘Smiling’ restaurants offer something all the Michelin stars in the world cannot. Charm. They have it in abundance and, although not quite as eccentric as its Jumeirah sibling ( The Smiling BBK ) this is still a favourite. Not exclusively Filipino but expect to see Pinoys tucking into the tasty okoy (deep-fried bean sprouts and prawns).

Bulwagan Bulwagan is a homely little spot, ideal for homesick Filipinos hungry for a taste of home cooking. Intrepid gastronomes should try the gulaman sago – the Philippines’ version of the sickly-sweet iced Far East drink featuring miniature spheres of jelly.

Delmon At large in Karama and hankering for some bargain-priced Filipino fare? Head over to, Delmon near Karachi Darbar. Check out the cassava, a sweet confection that mixes coconut milk, egg and butter into a blancmange-like consistency, topped off with a sprinkling of cheese.

Far East Restaurant This restaurant’s signature halo halo drink appears, on first sight, to contain every ingredient known to man. The brave explorer will discover, with each dig of the spoon, yet more strange and wonderful ingredients – red beans, coconut meat, crème caramel, sweetened plantain, yam, dried rice, jackfruit, soy beans and lots of milk.

Goto King The Goto King is a tiny Filipino restaurant, concealed among the cluttered watch stalls and chaotic tat kiosks of Karama’s Al Attar Mall, serves up a variety of Filipino staples, all well cooked and very cheaply priced.

Pinoy Grill At Pinoy Grill those inexperienced in the joys of Filipino food can sample a veritable madhouse of unusual delicacies without driving their bank managers bonkers in the process. Try the lumpiang sariwa, sweetly wrapped rolls of fresh carrot, mange tout, spring onion, prawns and lettuce with crushed garlic and peanut sauce; or the bulalo, the house speciality, which offers a huge hacking of fatty beef that spills squishy marrow from the bone into a watery, cabbage-strewn stock.

Tagpuan A cosily snug little Filipino café, Tagpuan always seems to be bustling with a cheerful racket of munching regulars. It’s a perfect place to throw caution to the wind and get adventurous with delicacies such as palabok, beef mami, pitchi-pitchi or arrozcaldo.

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