One restaurant’s quest to popularize Filipino cuisine.
It’s lunchtime at the St. Clair West location of FV Foods, and the strollers are creating a mini–traffic jam near the cash. A television blasts sensational news headlines from across the Philippines in a mixture of English and Tagalog, while pop radio hits compete for volume. Noime Laguer, the location manager, is busy dishing out lunches for the crowd, ladling servings of sweet-and-sour tamarind and braised-pork singong soup into Styrofoam bowls and stacking containers of pancit—rice noodles, vegetables and pork stir-fry cooked in soy sauce—three high on the counter.
Though the women ordering are all Filipino, the children in the strollers are not. This is, after all, the heart of Wychwood Park, and the customers today are largely caregivers and nannies bringing their charges with them for lunch. A stray arm reaches out of one stroller towards a rack of packaged sweets. “Puto! Puto!” the kid begs, pointing to a purple rice cake. The nanny happily buys it and soon the child is gumming on the little puto cake, smiling ear to ear.
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