When I was back in NY a few months ago, I had a very specific list of requests on what and where I wanted to eat – mainly, I wanted to satisfy a desperate craving for a NYC slice of pizza, some good Chinese American takeout (non-existent in Paris), old favorite restaurants like Lupa and new ones I’d read about while I was away.
Well, one of my old favorites is Filipino-Thai restaurant Kuma Inn in the Lower East Side. Owned by Filipino-Thai chef King Phojanakong, who’s trained under David Bouley and Daniel Boulud, it’s a narrow little no-frills restaurant located on the 2nd floor of what is not the nicest looking storefront. But before you head there, make sure you stop by the corner wine shop to pick up a bottle as this restaurant is BYOB. Then make your way over to the restaurant, go up a set of dark, narrow stairs and you’ll find yourself in a dim little restaurant that’s busting out reasonably-priced Southeastern dishes with a heavy focus on Filipino cuisine. Think garlic fried rice (my favorite), lechon (deep-fried pork belly), Chinese sausage and spicy tofu.
113 Ludlow (near Delancey)
Subway: F to Delancey
And here’s a little restaurant tip. If you’re feeling brave, try Kuma Inn’s sister restaurant Umi Nom in Brooklyn (433 Dekalb Avenue). They serve a traditional Filipino dish that’ll gross most people out, but Rio loves – balut, a fertilized egg.