Introducing Lutong Bahay, a new restaurant bringing Filipino ‘home cooking’ to metro Phoenix – AZCentral

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Lutong Bahay, a cafeteria-style restaurant in Glendale, introduces a new place to get Filipino food in metro Phoenix.

“Lutong bahay” means “home cooking” in Tagalog, explained co-owner Grace De Ausen-Go. It reflects the homey, Filipino hospitality she wants each guest to experience, she said.

While she handles the promotional side of the business, her husband Ramon Go helms the kitchen. De Ausen-Go said they want to make the food they grew up with more mainstream and accessible to everyone, including new generations of Filipinos who may not be familiar with some dishes.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the restaurant is currently open for take-away and limited dine-in capacity.

What to expect on the Lutong Bahay menu

Ausen-Go said the Lutong Bahay menu changes daily, but guests can expect traditional Kapapangan food as well as other Filipino and Asian fare.

Kapapangan cuisine refers to dishes from Pampanga, a province known for having some of the best food in the country, Ausen-Go said. Many dishes have influences from colonial Spain, which ruled the country for 333 years.

Some of the foods diners might find at Lutong Bahay include:

  • Callos, a tripe stew with Chorizo de Bilbao.
  • Escabeche, a sweet and sour crispy snapper cooked in vinegar and loaded with herbs and spices.
  • Sisig, a sizzling plate of hash made from pork cheeks, ears and snout plus chicken liver.
  • Okoy, deep-fried fritters with battered mung bean sprouts, shredded vegetables and shrimp.
  • Buko pie, house-made coconut pie. Sometimes the restaurant makes this with ube, or purple yam, too.

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Why you must try the Cebu-style lechon

The biggest hit comes out on the weekend, though, when Lutong Bahay brings out Cebu-style lechon — a full pig stuffed with garlic, lemongrass and green onions, then roasted in the oven. The pig is normally roasted on a fire, but they use an oven for safety reasons at the restaurant, De Ausen-Go said.

Lutong Bahay serves lechon chopped up at the restaurant, but also sells whole, fully-cooked pigs for takeout. Each pig offers 40 or more pounds of cooked weight. Customers can contact the restaurant to order lechon ahead of time.

In the Philippines, lechon is popular to have during a town’s fiesta to celebrate its patron saint, she said.

“We have lechon mostly at family parties, not just in the Philippines, but here in Arizona too,” De Ausen-Go said. “Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, when Manny Pacquiao has a boxing match.”

When the body of the pig is done, the head can be shoved back in the oven until the skin is extra crispy, then chopped up to make a savory beer snack. Legs and leftover scraps can also be cooked in a stew called paksiw na lechon.

“You don’t throw out anything,” she said. “The whole pig has a use for all its parts.”

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Family restaurant started with dad

Many of the dishes that Lutong Bahay serve originated at her family’s past catering business and father’s restaurant, also call Lutong Bahay, De Ausen-Go said.

In 2007, Henry De Ausen and her uncle Edmund opened a hole-in-the-wall shop with a few tables inside Lam’s Supermarket near 67th Avenue and Indian School Road. It operated mostly as a to-go restaurant, then closed in 2013 after her father died, De Ausen-Go said.

Now that her daughter’s older, she and her husband feel like they have more time and decided to bring back Lutong Bahay.

“I’ve had the experience of seeing the town fiesta, all those celebrations, that’s why I remember all these dishes,” De Ausen-Go said. “And I wanted to remember my dad, what he used to cook back then. I wanted to share it with everyone.”

Details: Lutong Bahay, 9250 N. 43rd Ave., #14. 602-703-0590, lutongbahayaz.com.

Know of a new restaurant opening up? Reach the reporter at Priscilla.Totiya@azcentral.com. Follow @priscillatotiya on Twitter and Instagram.

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