The fridge comes stocked with several aloe juice drinks, while the TV relays programming from The Filipino Channel. Sure, the surroundings might give away the cafe’s roots, but the title leaves no doubt.
The Filipino Cafe and Bakery, owned by Nonah Garcia, sits in a corner of the Piggly Wiggly shopping center off Rivers Avenue in North Charleston. It’s a small place, with just enough room for three or four tables, most joined together in a communal fashion.
Various sundries are available, red bean cakes, for instance, but the cafe and bakery tends to the obvious: Filipino delicacies and breads.
Here, you can try something traditional such as fried, salted spot and rice or pusit, the chewy squid dish marinated in soy sauce, vinegar and seasonings prior to grilling.
And naturally, adobo, one of the Philippines’ national dishes, receives star billing.
At the cafe, the pork adobo is cooked bone-in and braised in soy sauce and vinegar and the dish presented in a small bowl containing the marinade. Each entree additionally comes with a generous portion of rice in a Styrofoam container.
Breads range from pan de coco, a sweet, tasty treat with a coconut filling, to ensaymada, a buttery pastry shaped into a pinwheel and typically topped with cream, sugar and grated cheese.
For dessert, the Filipino Cafe and Bakery also makes a yummy halo-halo, a milky, mixed fruit dish with sago pearls. Its consistency is similar to ambrosia salad, only it’s sweeter.
And here’s a bonus: The bill was easy on the wallet. My meal — pork adobo, grilled pusit and rice, plus the sour pork soup and pan de coco — cost about $7. Now, that might turn some heads.