In December, Filipino native Joel Jose began marketing the Filipino baked goods he had been making at his restaurant Joel's Grill & Sushi in Davidson. During the past several years, Jose has added many Filipino dishes to a menu he describes as pan-Asian. As these Filipino dishes became popular, and with the growth of the Filipino expat community, Jose now distributes his Pan de Pinoy line of Filipino baked goods locally to Super G Mart, 7323 E. Independence Blvd., and Zen International Market, 10225 Park Road Extension.
Many Filipino baked goods are similar to those found in other former Spanish colonies (particularly Puerto Rico), since The Philippines was a Spanish colony for 300 years. Among the sweet breads made by Pan de Pinoy (situated in Mooresville; 704-402-3548) is ensaymada, a large individual brioche with grated queso de bola cheese and a dusting of sugar on its cap. Ensaymada is traditionally eaten with hot chocolate but pairs well with Kenyan coffee.
One of the more popular pastries sold at Zen is the box of a dozen hopia ($5). Similar in size to a doughnut hole, these soft dough pastries are pumped with yellow mungo (mung bean) paste. This pastry is a favorite in eastern China and Vietnam.
Pan de sal and yellow pan de sal ($3.50 a dozen) are slightly sweet yeast rolls with flour, eggs, sugar and salt. The yellow rolls have squash mixed with the flour. But the best of these Filipino treats is the pan de coco (6 rolls $5), sweet yeast rolls filled with a dense mixture of grated coconut and brown sugar.
Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the Q.C.? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: [email protected] or 704-522-8334, extension 136.