“We, Filipinos love to eat, we do our bonding over the dining table. Dito tayo nag uusap at nagsasaya.”
ABU DHABI: Another “Filipino-centric” restaurant as opened in Abu Dhabi – Hapag Kainan, which recently had its ribbon cutting event attended by Vice Consul Von Ryan Pangwi.
The Filipino Times spoke to Hapag Kainan restaurant owner Florante Vasquez III who explained his vision of managing a Filipino restaurant in the heart of Abu Dhabi. “We’re living with our tag line: ‘Home-Cooked Goodness. Right Here.’ We want to bring the best of home-cooked goodness from the Philippines to the UAE. We position the brand to be something for every Juan (everyone) – It’s affordable and at the same time, it brings nostalgia from the Philippines to the UAE.
“We’re not only bringing the food, we’re also bringing the experience. Pag umorder sila ng Tapsilog, natitikman nila yung Tapsilog na paborito nila dun sa kanto ng bahay nila.”
Vasquez said part of the UAE market is driven by Filipinos. In a study, it is predicted that in two years, Filipinos will comprise of at least 25% of the total spending in the UAE. “That means we’re tapping into one of the largest populations here in the country. Why restaurant? Because we love to eat and Filipinos do their bonding over the dining table. Dito tayo nag uusap at nagsasaya.” said Vasquez.
Without further ado, here’s our initial impressions of the restaurant.
Ambiance: Hapag Kainan has a very cozy family feel to it which will remind you of your traditional carinderia back in the Philippines. All members of the staff are very courteous, treating their customers with a welcoming smile while explaining specialties and best sellers.
The food: We started off with their Calamares as appetizer – each bite was an amazing mix of crunch and tenderness as the squid was cooked just right, coupled with their signature sauce.
We were served with one of their many specialties: Chicken Sisig. And wow – I’ve got to say that this was one of the best Sisigs I have tasted in a while. The meat was tender and juicy, coupled with vegetables which were cooked just at the right temperature that gives it that fresh crispy bite. I wouldn’t even have believed that this was priced at AED 16 since there’s a huge amount of serving that’s good enough for 2-3 people if shared. An absolute must-try and I’ll definitely go back for this one again.
They also served three kinds of rice – plain, Beef Fried Rice, and their Adobo Rice which all went very well with the Chicken Sisig that we had. The mixture of Filipino spices and ingredients infused in each rice bowl improved the taste of their main dish.
On the side, we also had their Pancit Canton and Chopsuey which just added a healthy kick on to the tasty mixture of flavors we were served with. For dessert, we were served Kutsinta and Leche Flan which both tasted just right to end off the course.
The verdict: I’m looking forward to tasting their Silogs as Vasquez mentioned that these are also their specialty, together with their signature Lomi. The Chicken Sisig coupled with the flavored fried rice really stood out and we recommend for those coming there for the first time to try that meal! Hapag Kainan is on Hamdan Street.