Our Filipino Quest Continues at Bahay Kubo Natin


Ever since the Manila Machine food truck closed back in April I’ve been on a hunt for decent Filipino food between Downtown and Santa Monica, and who better to help me on my quest than Nastassia- the brains behind the whole Manila Machine operation.  For our first stop back in June we hit up Aristocrat, a newish steam table place in K-Town where we found a decent kare kare, among other tasty dishes.  Better than average, but nothing that was going to halt our search. But where to go next?

Enter Lunch’er Remil to save the day (aka Pinoy Panda).  Shortly after our trip to Aristocrat he was a profiled L.A. luncher and gave us two quality recs off of Alvarado, just to the NE of Downtown L.A.: Salakot Sizzle and Grill (a sit down restaurant, and his personal favorite in the area), and Bahay Kubo Natin (a steam table place for a quick lunch.)  Always going for the quick and the cheap, we decided to hit up Bahay Kubo first…


Since the name literally means “our home/shack”, those who speak Filipino won’t be surprised by its shack like appearance or the friendly, family-like atmosphere of the people behind the counter. Instantly you realize it’s going to be better than average, not just because of the massive number of options laid out in front of you but because of how fresh everything looks. They day we were there, they had a number of chicken dishes that would appeal to even the pickiest eaters (like teriyaki chicken), but we were there for the “real” stuff. For $6.50 you get two options, plus white rice, and if you like the fried stuff there is plenty of it.


As much as I love lechon kawali (fried chunks of pork, with the fat and skin still on), it’s not the best choice for a steam table. Despite sitting out for a bit, it was still pretty moist which would be a good thing if the skin had managed to stay crispy (it didn’t). If I ever see this coming out fresh from the back while I’m in line, it will be an easy pick. If you are into Filipino salted fish they have a number of different options including jeprox, a super dry and crispy flat fish that is only recommended for those who love that stinky fish paste smell and taste that is in a lot of authentic Filipino cooking.


If two options isn’t enough, you can add any third item as a side dish for just $3. Like their beef mechado, or their kare kare which was surprisingly not sweet at all. I’m not sure if kare kare is supposed to be sweet, or if most places just make it sweet because that’s what people want, but this version is definitely recommended for those who like their oxtails and peanut sauce more on the savory end of the things. Those who like it sweet, would be better off going with the longanisa (Filipino sausage) which are not only sweet themselves, but also seemed to be covered in a glaze for extra sweetness. (Available as one of your picks, or for only 75 cents each… making it an essential add on to any lunch.)


Also super sweet? Their tocino, which is recommended only if you like your pork sweet, bright red, super sticky, and the consistency of jerky. (Yes please.)


The fried chicken was as good as Remil promised, despite not being made to order. It was well seasoned (my biggest pet peeve with fried chicken) and it’s crazy how crunchy they managed to get the outer layer. If your KFC order is always “extra crispy”, I’d recommended trying this bad boy. And the pancit (pan fried noodles) that we got with it was one of the best versions I’ve ever had from a Filipino steam table. That’s not saying much, I know, but if you’re expecting the tasteless mound of mush you normally get from places like this, the pancit will be a huge surprise. You can order it as one of your two options, or pay an extra $1 to get it in place of your rice.


If you prefer your Filipino food a little more on the wild side, Bahay Kubo has their fair share of dishes that push the boundaries of what most angelenos will and won’t eat (especially from a Filipino shack near Echo Park.) The stuffed squid in adobo (adobong pusit) was not something I’d order again, but it wasn’t terrible. The other dish on the plate, however, was better than not terrible. It was great. A mix of bits and pieces in a tangy sauce (“Filipino menudo” perhaps?) was actually unbelievably flavorful. Despite the bits of ear (?), intestines, liver, etc, it may have been the best tasting dish of the day. If they served popular meats covered in this sauce it would sell out every day.

All in all I was pretty excited about Bahay Kubo. Steam tables are way easier to navigate for those of us who are not Filipino, but they seem to do enough business during lunch to keep the items fresh and plentiful. And the best part is I could go back at least another 10 times and still feel like I’ve haven’t tried everything. I can’t believe this was Lunch’er Remil’s second choice!? Salakot Sizzle & Grill must be amazing. (Only one way to find out, of course!)

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say about it)

  • So many options!  I’d never get tired of this place
  • So refreshing to find a kare kare that isn’t super sweet
  • I love being able to see what I’m ordering before I order it
  • I love sweet meat, and their longanisa and tocino are mad sweet!
  • Their pancit is excellent and you can sub it in for rice in any combo for just $1

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say about it)

  • No lumpia shanghai unless you order them in bulk for catering?  WTF!
  • I like my kare kare sweet
  • OMG, those fried fish are way too fishy for me
  • Don’t you just have some chicken adobo?  Some of this stuff is too weird
  • The lechon kawali doesn’t stand up well to the steam table
  • Filipino food is much better when it is made to order

Bahay Kubo Natin, 2330 W Temple St, 213-413-4804


1 Comment

  • Down the street from my house!

    For some reason I prefer the Filipino Food trucks more. (Sisig Fries from Discussion Truck!)

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