Review: A modern Barrio Fiesta

A very modern Barrio Fiesta greeted me a couple of weeks ago when Spanky Enriquez invited this author and other food bloggers there. Gone were the Filipiniana decors, gone were the minstrels, gone were the kitsch. The new Barrio Fiesta is toned down and will be appreciated by Filipino food gourmets.

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main dining area

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modern Filipiniana

Nostalgia makes me miss the old Barrio Fiesta but I still welcome the new look.

Design Rating: ★★★★☆

I will not rate the service because we were guests and the Ongpaucos were very hospitable to us.

A lot of the family was there to greet us bloggers. Tita Corazon Ongpauco Tamayo and her sons told us how Barrio Fiesta started back in 1958 in their Caloocan home. Her mother, Sixta Evangelista Ongpauco (fondly called Tita Chit), loved cooking and her relatives and friends urged her to open Barrio Fiesta. Barrio Fiesta became popular for their Kare Kare but it was in the late 80’s when they invented Krispy Pata which is now offered in all Filipino restaurants.

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a portrait of Tita Chit

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Tita Corazon and me

Here’s a trivia. Did you know that Barrio Fiesta doesn’t pressure cook the pork knuckles used in their Krispy Pata and it takes 5 hours to cook them? Now you know.

Barrio Fiesta food then and now hits the spot. My favorite is the deadly but oh-so-yummy Krispy Pata. The lean meat is tender and moist. The skin is thin and crisp. Then dunk them in the special vinegar sauce. Ang saraaaap! Barrio Fiesta serves it in 4 variants: original which is the biggest (P477), taas (P205), gitna (P180), and  kuko (P140).

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Krispy Pata

Barrio Fiesta is famous for their Kare Kare. They offer 2 versions: the original (P330 family, P220 half) and seafood (P398 famiy, P241 half). The Original Kare Kare uses chunks of beef, ox tail, tripes, vegetables and their own peanut butter. The Seafood Kare Kare uses crabs, fish, shelfish, squids, vegetables and peanut butter. Personally, I prefer Kare Kare to be sweet which Barrio Fiesta’s isn’t so this isn’t one of my favorites although it is still very good.

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Kare Kare

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Seafood Kare Kare

Another dish I loved that night is the Hipon Sa Aligue (P380), another deadly dish composed of shrimp sizzling in a sea of crab fat.

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Hipon Sa Aligue

The Sizzling Sisig w/ Aligue (P275) was to die for as well (pun intended).

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Sizzling Sisig with Aligue

Other dishes we feasted on that night.

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Kuhol Sa Gata (P208 family, P140 half)

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Bouillabaisse (P385)

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Sinalab (P604 family, P347 half)

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Laing Na Gata (P252 family, P163 half)

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Bicol Express (P289)

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Pinakbet (P318 family, P168 half)

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various desserts

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Halo-Halo Special (P76)

I think it’s obvious by now that I ate a lot and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Food Rating: ★★★★½

For the budget conscious, Barrio Fiesta has come up with affordable combo meals. The combo meals wouldn’t cost more than P200.

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Combo Meal

Like the old Barrio Fiesta, the modern Barrio Fiesta is perfect for family get-togethers. The food is a far cry from its neighbors who offer cheap buffet reheated food. Barrio Fiesta meals are freshly prepared and cooked, even the Krispy Pata (the final stage of it’s preparation is done when the customer orders it). The meals may not be for the dieters and those with heart ailments but if you can afford to indulge on high cholesterol food once in a while, Barrio Fiesta is a great option.

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Barrio Fiesta
EDSA corner Rochester Street
Mandaluyong City
5719842 and 7267836
www.fiestainternationalcatering.com

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