These Filipinos Are Going Viral for Selling Filipino Street Food in New York

Kwek-kwek, taho, and ice candy at the Big Apple? Yes, please.

When you think of food snags in the incomparably iconic city of New York, you'd think of cheesecake, pizza, hotdogs– and, of course, bagels, to dunk in a takeaway latte. Maybe even lobster, which we've seen time and time again on TV. Still, no free-associative conversation about NYC food would involve kwek-kwek or Filipino-style barbecue. Bituka ng baboy strung on a stick would be the farthest thing from your mind.  But then again, the world is full of surprises.

Pop-up vendor So Sarap NYC has officially brought Filipino street food to the streets of the Big Apple.

Photo by SO SARAP NYC.

They've got nearly everything you'd expect from your local Sunday market snack troupe.

Photo by SO SARAP NYC.

From fishball, kwek-kwekisaw, balut penoy chicharon, taho, ice candy, binatog, green mangoes and bagoong, sorbetes, and inihaw na barbecue.

So Sarap NYC was founded by chef VJ Navarro and his high school friend-turned-business partner Sebastien Shan.

Photo by SO SARAP NYC.

"Our mission is to remind you of your childhood memories and give you a taste of what Filipino street food is about."

Photo by SO SARAP NYC.
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According to an interview, Sebastien said he got the idea for the mobile food business from VJ's father, Manong Ilio.

Photo by SO SARAP NYC.

Manong Ilio, who was a street food vendor in the Philippines, now serves as the head chef in their 9-person team.


Photo by SO SARAP NYC.

Since its launch in SoHo on August 9, 2020, the pop-up business has enjoyed considerable success.

Photo by SO SARAP NYC.

Filipinos in the area would queue for hours just to get a taste of home. For us Filipinos, it really is true that no other cuisine can hold a candle to the nostalgia and heart of Filipino flavors.

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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