What exactly is Filipino café food?

It isn’t just about having coffee and choosing how you want your eggs between 10 to 3 anymore

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The café culture in Manila needs an upgrade, and we’re no longer talking about the improvement third-wave coffee shops brought in or the artisanal fare served in hole-in-the-wall restaurants. What seems to be lacking in the city is a setting that lasts more than the brunch hour, a prerequisite for true café culture.

Elevating the café culture in Manila is the newly opened Kafé Batwan that offers more than just a cup—it isn’t just about having coffee and choosing how you want your eggs between 10 to 3 anymore. “It’s more like an all-day dining concept,” says owner Tracie Anglo-Dizon. “This is like our modern take on Filipino café food. There’s breakfast, then there’s sandwiches, and some merienda, and then it all goes to the mains.”

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Other dishes of interest include the Trio of Pinoy Spreads of monggo labuyo, salted egg talong, and tahong ginamos with toasty biscocho pandesal, Crispy Tawilis sprinkled with queso de bola shavings, Inasal Burrito with pumpkin salsa and fresh green chili sauce, and the Twice-cooked Liempo Sandwich with braised-and-then-grilled pork, ginamos gata, kesong puti, some grilled tomatoes, roasted peppers, and a side of cassava fries.

Brunch is booming, but that hasn’t stopped some of the city’s most ambitious restaurateurs and chefs, like the Anglo siblings, from elevating the café culture not only with contemporary food we can enjoy any time of the day but also with something we can call our own.

This story was originally published in Southern Living, August 2015.

TAGS: batchoy cafe coffee filipino jp anglo Kafe Batwan nolisoliph