In a town with multiple options for exotic cuisines like, say, Ethiopian and Indonesian, being one of a kind isn’t easy. But Philippine Jeepney Grill is exactly that: The city’s one-and-only option for the endlessly fascinating Filipino food culture.
Owned by a husband-and-wife team and open only on weekends, Jeepney (named for the psychedelic buses that are the Philippines’ numero-uno form of transport) is a trip for the adventurous, but mostly caters to Filipino folks looking for a taste of home. Over cans of calamansi and coconut juices, the owners explain that customers come in on weekends and stock up with a week’s worth of chicken adobo, kare kare and other home-cooking staples, essentially packing their freezers with the equivalent of Filipino TV dinners.
Originally a pizza parlor, Jeepney does a serious catering business, using their pizza ovens to roast lechons (lovely, lacquered, roasted suckling pigs) for parties and weddings.
The menu at Jeepney is made up of pancit (noodles), sabaw (sour, tamarind- or vegetable-based soups), silog combos (your choice of protein served with rice and an egg) and a variety of snacks, drinks and desserts. If you’re on the fence about what to order, the steam table is the way to go. With eight to 10 choices on any given weekend, the buffet is a chance to really get into it with binagoongang (tender pork cooked in shrimp paste) and dinuguan (a pork-blood stew).
This particular stretch of Bustleton is the perfect place to dive into all things Filipino. After digging out the last bits of sweet beans and jellies from the bottom of your halo-halo (a sort of Filipino sundae with layers of sweet-creamy-crunchy ice cream, shaved ice and evaporated milk), head next door to Asian Imports to stock up on Filipino groceries like ube (purple yam) powder, coconut vinegar and banana sauce. And just a few blocks up on the 8400 block of Bustleton is a vibrant mural by Eliseo Silva, the first of its kind on the East Coast.
Philippine Jeepney Grill | 7927 Bustleton Ave., 215-333-3131. Hours: Sat.-Sun.,10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Combo menu, soups, noodles and snacks: $3.99-$4.99, specials: $5.99, drinks and desserts: 75 cents - $5.95.
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