The Philippines’ first restaurant to feature an Asian character
With the Philippines still reeling from a mass shooting at its historic Davao City airport last month, the first Filipino restaurant to offer an Asian-inspired menu has opened.
The Culver’s on H-1B visa-free restaurant opened on Monday in the Philippine capital, Manila, where it is being operated by the Philippine National University (PNU).
Its restaurant, which serves traditional Filipino fare like sambal in pork belly and grilled pork, has been a hot topic in Philippine media after it was featured in a report by The Wall Street Journal in April.
The restaurant is part of a growing trend among Filipinos, who increasingly prefer to eat out in restaurants that have an Asian or Pacific Islander character.
The restaurant, dubbed the ‘Culver’s Asian Restaurant’, features a wide range of Filipino-inspired dishes, including rice and stir-fried fish, chicken with vegetables, seafood and vegetables and a dish called a pork belly sandwich.
It is also the first place in the country to serve Asian-style sushi.
The owner, Yolanda Villasenor, said the idea for the restaurant came to her when she was watching the news of the airport shooting last month.
She said the incident left her thinking about her experiences growing up in Davao and the lack of Asian restaurants.
“I thought, why don’t we offer Filipino food in a restaurant in Manila,” she said.
“It’s been a long time since there was an Asian restaurant.”
She said it was important to make sure that the restaurant would be accessible to people of all backgrounds.
The Philippine National Tourism Administration has launched an online survey asking Filipinos to weigh in on the idea of a Filipino-themed restaurant.
The agency said more than 100,000 responses were received, with nearly 95% of those expressing interest.
The survey will be updated over the coming weeks.