Dishes for people who want a taste of home

Mood: “Ratatouille” critic thinking back to his fondest childhood memory with food

Food is a good trigger for memory. The feeling is best described by Anton Ego’s childhood flashback in “Ratatouille.” It’s also why people replicate family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. We all want a taste of home—or at least go back to a significant period in our life.

The last few months have made us feel a roller coaster of emotions and nostalgia is one of them, especially if you haven’t seen relatives for a long time. Luckily, there are restaurants that serve dishes reminiscent of the meals you used to have on family days.

Ihaw afternoons

A plate of pork barbecue with rice from Ribshack

Remember the times you would play outside and get a stick of pork barbecue from the nearby ihawan? Or the times your uncle would bust out the grill on Sundays? Yeah, I want to go back (even though it’s so hard to remove the scent of smoke from your hair and clothes).


The Rib Shack

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Anything with gravy

Salisbury steak with two side dishes from Prime Steakhouse

Whether it’s fried chicken, mashed potatoes or Salisbury steak, we grew up pouring gravy on a lot of dishes—even plain white rice. Some of us may have outgrown this habit, but admit it, you miss it.

Prime Steakhouse

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DIY Tacos

A small platter with Taco Bandido’s famous soft and hard shell tacos from Taco Bandido

I know it’s different for every household, but I have fond memories of assembling my own taco during family lunch. Our dining table spread had crispy taco shells, ground beef, veggies, cheese, and salsa. It was messy yet fun.

Taco Bandido

Taco Bandido

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Special occasions at Dampa

Jambalaya rice topped with a variety of seafood and crab fat gravy from Above Sea Level

Whenever someone celebrated their birthday, we would make our way to Dampa and eat all the seafood dishes (and sometimes liempo) we want. All the different ways to cook shrimp and mussels? Yes, please.

Refreshing summer drink

Freshly brewed sweet iced tea that comes in a reusable glass jar from Army Navy

Think back to the summers when you would swim in an inflatable pool in your garage or garden. There was always a pitcher of iced tea on the side in case you and your cousins got thirsty. Sometimes you shared snacks, too

The classic halo-halo

Halo-halo from Teresita’s of San Fernando Halo-Halo & Palabok

Sure, it’s a summer dessert. But I bet everyone eats halo-halo whenever they feel like it—regardless of the weather. There’s just something about this distinctly Filipino treat that will make you feel at home once you get a taste of it.

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