This Rockdale grocery shop provides a long-distance connection home to the Philippines via fabulously tasty and cheap meals
Located on the quiet side of Rockdale train station, Kapamilya Grocery and Eatery is a family run business serving up home-cooked meals, Manila-style.
Filipino (or Pinoy) food is influenced by a long history of trade and colonisation, so you’ve got Spanish-inspired dishes like adobo (a saucy stew rich with vinegar and soy) and the tomato-based afritada with chicken and chilli. The Chinese influence comes through in pancit (rice noodles), soy and fish sauce, and then you have those classic island flavours of coconut, peanut and banana.
It’s a lot to take in, so start with a couple of skewers of barbecue pork coated in a tangy vinegar and tomato sauce, then move on to Kare-Kare, a beef and pork combo stew thickened with ground peanuts and given a full on fishy kick with a spoonful of shrimp paste. The menu changes daily but it’s always a bargain – you get a couple of selections on a single plate for under ten dollars, or you can share four or five dishes served up in smaller bowls and a pile of fluffy white rice.
Pork is not just a favourite meat but also a national food obsession, with most dishes featuring at least one part of the animal. Lechon paksiw mixes crisp roast pork pieces into a sweet and savoury pineapple and soy sauce, while sisig is a mix of chopped cheek, crisp skin and egg to give it a creamier sauce base. Dinuguan – cubes of tender stewed pork in a blackish braised sauce – gets its colour from the blood used in the stew, similar to a Thai boat noodle soup, but the flavour is more vinegar than meaty.
If you pick the right day you might also find blue swimmer crab and pumpkin curry on your plate, chicken in coconut cream with biting hot green chillis, or pancit, thin stir fried rice vermicelli. It’s like a Pinoy pot luck on each visit.
Sweet endings are left to halo-halo, a Pinoy style sundae with scoops of ube ice cream made from purple sweet potato, cubes of young coconut flesh, chunks of creamy flan and a pile of shaved ice and coconut cream. Or take home a slice of cassava cake, a sweet flavoured mix of grated coconut, cassava (tapioca) and condensed milk with a touch of cheese, like a hardcore cheesecake.
Afterwards peruse the range of specialty Filipino groceries like coconut vinegar, deeply funky bagoong (a sambal-like shrimp paste condiment that adds a salty, oceanic punch to any dish) and a tub of purple ube and cheese ice cream to give your pantry a Pinoy makeover.
|Venue name:||Kapamilya Grocery and Eatery|
28 Walz St
|Opening hours:||Daily 9am-8pm|