When you happen to be in the Philippines, you’ll definitely hear the word “kuya” a lot. It means big brother, but it is also used to call an older person, like a street vendor, a jeepney driver, or a man you meet on the road, as a form of respect or endearment. So when the international reality TV show Big Brother hit the Philippines, the participants call Big Brother as Kuya.
Our reserved table at Kuya J Restaurant during its opening.
So imagine if a big brother or a Kuya cooks for you. That’s the concept behind Kuya J Restaurant, the casual dining restaurant that offers great Filipino gastronomic delights using quality and unique tasting dishes in a homey dining experience that relaxes you…enveloping you with the warmth and care of a brother.
Recently, Kuya J made its service available in Bacolod City, the City of Smiles, making it their 1st store outside of metropolitan Manila and Cebu. And that’s just one of the many stores (100, they say) that Kuya J is planning to open in 2015!
We can always count on Kuya J to adapt local cuisine and add a different spin to each dish. So when the Grilled Scallops landed on our table, the first to be served, we knew we were in for some fun dining experience. Then, lo and behold, the Chorizo Dinamitas followed. It was arranged like a log, looking like some fried spring rolls, only that a single protruding stem appeared on one end. It turned out that inside the roll was a large jalapeño (no seeds to burn your tongue) with chorizo or ground pork inside and cheddar cheese, plus a garlic dip.
That’s not a pearl on the middle of the shell. It’s the lip-smacking scallop.
Ready for some Chorizo Dinamitas?
See what’s inside those dynamites.
Next for us to feast on was the Kuya J’s Bulalo Soup or the bone marrow soup. Since those I share the table with were avoiding this very “sinful” food, I took the opportunity to enjoy the bone marrow, which I terribly like. We were surprised that instead of the usual plain rice served in most restaurants, we were treated to a very delectable Humba Binagoongan Rice, topped with green mangoes, bell peppers, red onions and chopped binagoongang pork.
There’s the bone marrow smiling up at me.
The Binagoongan Rice is enough for my lunch meal.
What followed really satisfied our palate – Kare-Kare, Pinakbet, Bam-i, Crispy Pata, and Crispy Catfish. And we thought the Grilled Scallops and the Bulalo were enough. So, we had to add another round of Binagoongan Rice to go with our new servings. The Crispy Catfish was my favorite, with its deliciously seasoned catfish.
And to cap our lunch, we finished it with a bang through the delicious Mango Pandan and the Fried Halo-Halo with Vanilla Ice Cream. Add to these the Cantaloupe Shake that I downed in the middle of my lunch.
Mango Pandan with that attractive caramelized sugar strands.
Kuya J Restaurant, located at the ground floor of SM City Bacolod, is spacious and ideal for family and group dining. Food are affordable as you get real value for your money. They also have a special room for those who prefer a private area in the restaurant. But despite its large space, Kuya J was packed that day. People were even waiting outside the restaurant, wanting to try its great food but also get an opportunity to be with football stars, Phil and James Younghusband.
The whole menu.
James (leftmost) and Phil (rightmost) Younghusband with Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentebella (2nd from left), Winglip K. Chang (3rd from left), and Julia Estrella-Javellana (4th from left).
Yes, we had lunch with them and I even had an opportunity to ask them of their favorites in this restaurant. “Oh, I like what I’m eating,” Phil said, referring to the Mango Pandan he was finishing. “And the balat (skin) of the Crispy Pata,” he added. James liked the Grilled Scallops, which was also one of my picks.
It was truly a great meal, enjoying Filipino food with a unique twist. It’s something to look forward to when one visits Bacolod.
Me (the one in red) with Maricar Dabao and the Younghusbands.