Cal and I were finally had our first culinary set back at Pinoy Fast Food the other night. Pinoy serves Filipino food and is one of the few places in town that does so. It is hard to infer anything about Filipino food from our visit. It may have been extremely authentic, I wouldn’t know. It could’ve been a really bad representation. I may never know, because I’m actually about to throw up just thinking about what I ate. To tell you the truth, throwing up is too polite a term for what I feel like doing. I’m going to say I feel like “garfing.” That term may have come from my friend, and known consumer of food that might make her do so, Sarah Marshall but I’m not sure I may have just coined that shit.
When Cal and I arrived it looked like the place was packed but when we went inside we were the only patrons. “Who eats dinner at six o’clock anyway?” I told myself. There was only one guy working the front counter (I assume there was someone else in the back because I did here some banging and grunting coming from the kitchen), Pinoy lets their food hang out in warming trays and you select from whichever options they have on hand. Perhaps it’s not the best method for serving food, but I don’t know how they do it in the Philippines.
I read a review in the Tucson Weekly that said that the best dishes at Pinoy are the most authentically Filipino. I took this into account as I tried to select my entres. Cal went blazingly ahead and selected the barbecue ribs and pork in shrimp paste. He also got a Coke in a glass bottle. Anytime you can get a pop in a glass bottle take the opportunity, I just wish anyone ever had a diet pop in a bottle. I heeded the Tucson Weekly’s advice and ordered the fried pork belly (garf!) and the pork and tripe blood soup (double garf!)
which was singled out for special recommendation by the reviewer which I think was Jimmy Boegle. (Boegle’s my favorite because his last name sounds like some sort of dutch sex act.)
Cal’s pork in shrimp paste was curious to say the least. For starters it was pink, not too big a deal just a little unappetizing. Here’s the really weird thing about it. I tasted it and thought it had the uncanny texture and flavor of plain canned tuna. Cal ate a pretty good portion of it thinking it tasted a lot like carne asada. What? How could we be this far apart on it? I also have questions about the ribs. Cal said they tasted okay but didn’t have hardly any meat on them. I started to wonder what animal they came from. I really couldn’t tell. I assume they eat a lot of goat in the Philippines but these looked too big. I also wondered if they were actually ribs. Perhaps in the Philippines, “rib” just means “hunk of bone.”
Cal was really disappointed with his food as you can imagine. Especially since he thought he was playing it safe with his choices. I wouldn’t say that I was disappointed with what I ordered since I got the fried pork belly and pork and blood tripe soup and knew that I probably wasn’t going to really love it. I just had to try them for adventure’s sake. However, my stomach doesn’t really care about my intentions, just my actions. It’s sort of a reverse existential relationship. The fried pork belly was….something. It was pretty much like eating the fried grizzle you push to the side of your plate when eating a pork chop. There is a fried slip of skin that is crunchy, then a middle portion that constitutes most of the dish that is all fat, and finally a little wisp of actual pork. On the first bite I tried, the fried skin stuck to my molars, the little bit of pork stuck in my throat and the pork fat coated the inside of my mouth like waterproofing.
The soup was something to behold. It didn’t really taste that bad each time I put some in my mouth but there was this uncontrollable gag reflex every time I did so. It was kind of like eating some soup that you would have liked….if it hadn’t been sitting out on your porch all week. The actual pork and tripe could be picked out of the “broth” but they tasted exactly the same. I’m not sure which offended my stomach the most, it could have been the blood they put in the broth but I can’t say for sure.
You might ask yourself why I kept eating. We were the only people in the restaurant the whole time we were there. We were even whispering because there was no music playing. If there was ever a time to expose the city of Tucson to Filipino music you’d think it would be in one of it’s only Filipino restaurants but no. I kept thinking the guy was going to come over and ask us if the food was good. Especially since I asked him what was good before I ordered and he said, “Everything.” I actually hid some of my food under my noodles.
So my score for Pinoy is deathly low, I’m giving it one fried gelatinous piece of pork belly and one weird shaped bone for a score of 2. Two as in you’d get sick too if you ate there.