Chibugan–Del City, OK

Chibugan Filipino Cuisine
4728 S.E. 29th St.
Oklahoma City, OK

Status: Open as of Apr. 23, 2016

Chibugan--Del City, OK

Chibugan–Del City, OK


Mar. 23, 2016:  Chibugan Restaurant in Del City, OK (near Tinker Air Force Base in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area) will be open soon, and as far as I know will be the only Filipino restaurant in the metro.

Chibugan's interior

Chibugan’s interior

It looks as if it is almost ready to go, but they have not yet announced an opening date.  Those in the area, though, may want to keep a lookout for it.

Filipino decorations on the wall

Filipino decorations on the wall

Thanks very much to Arlene Clifton for providing the photos and for giving us a heads up that Filipino food will soon be available in the Oklahoma City area.

Update Apr. 23, 2016: Chibugan is now open for business


Filipino Food in Oklahoma City

The Chowhound web site (chowhound.com) has been the source of much of my knowledge about food and restaurants, especially since it was one of the earliest restaurant related sites to come on line.  I think one of the classic discussions of all time was a topic on the Seattle Board in 2002 entitled “Is Filipino food embarassing?” (sic).  The original poster stated that the Filipino community was the number one ethnic minority in Seattle, yet there were very few Filipino restaurants (6 to be exact, three of which had the same owner).  The theory was not that people did not like Filipino food, but simply that it was not a priority for Filipino people to open this kind of restaurant (instead they were more likely to operate a Jewish deli or a burger stand).

A similar situation seems to exist in Oklahoma City and in other cities (I think the originator of the discussion on Chowhound believed that this was something that occurred nationwide).  There was an Italian restaurant in Oklahoma City (which is now closed) run by Filipino people that I thought did a good job with the Italian food, but of course it was one of many Italian restaurants in the city.  I support anyone operating any type of restaurant they wish, but I am a little perplexed as to why there are not more Filipino restaurants around the country.

Bhing’s Cafe on N. Meridian Ave. in Oklahoma City seemed to demonstrate that customers were willing to patronize a Filipino restaurant (although I honestly do not know how many customers they had and whether this had anything to do with the restaurant closing).  Evelyn’s Asian Table took over the spot of providing the only Filipino food in the city, but it is now closed as well.  All indications are that the lack of Filipino restaurants at present is not because of a lack of interest in this type of food, but I just do not have any information about whether these restaurants were profitable or not.

A number of Filipino cooking classes have been given over the past few years at the Rockwell Campus of the Francis Tuttle Technology Center, and this shows an interest in the cuisine as well.  I do not think that any type of cooking class would help me very much, but I am including this information for the benefit of readers who have better cooking skills.

There happens to be a Filipino dinner that will be served this weekend in Midwest City, called the “Spring Taste of Philippines,” sponsored by the Philippine-American Civic Organization.  Details are in the Oklahoma Gazette, Mar. 2, 2016 issue (and I think also on their web site).  The summary is:

Filipino dinner from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, Sat. Mar. 12
Location: Nick Harroz Community Center, 200 N. Midwest Blvd., Midwest City, OK
Menu: Chicken afritada, pancit noodles, cassava cake

There will also be a bake sale and arts and crafts from 1-5 pm.

Except for these items I think a better title for the article would be “The Lack of Filipino Food in Oklahoma City.”  I hope this will not always be the case, though.

Update Apr. 23, 2016: There is good news to report.  Chibugan Filipino Restaurant at 4728 S.E. 29th St. in Del City is slated to open today, giving people a new place to try Filipino food.   This restaurant has been eagerly anticipated by many people who have missed this type of cuisine in Oklahoma City for several years since the closing of Bhing’s and Evelyn’s.

Also a note about the “Taste of the Philippines” dinners–for the past few years these have been scheduled twice a year (in the spring and fall), and have been at various locations throughout the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

La Hacienda–El Paso, TX

La Hacienda (Closed)
1720 W. Paisano Dr.
El Paso, TX
La Hacienda

La Hacienda


La Hacienda was one of the most well known and popular restaurants in El Paso until it closed in 1996, and was known for literally being on the border, with the banks of the Rio Grande located just past the edge of the parking lot.

An article from the UTEP Encyclopedia outlines the history of La Hacienda, and how it was located in one of the oldest homes in El Paso.  In 1940 it was turned into La Hacienda Restaurant, and was operated by the original owner until he passed away in 1981.  The restaurant continued with the same food and the same employees until 1993 (1993-1996 was the first of several subsequent periods in which the food was changed).

The restaurant reopened after 1996, and had several reincarnations with different owners.  I visited La Hacienda in 2004, but the food bore little resemblance to what I had remembered.  I heard that the restaurant closed for good in 2007.

Amigos dinner salad

The dinner salad at Amigos is a larger version of the salad that came with La Hacienda’s lunch specials

I never wrote a formal review of the original La Hacienda restaurant, but it was known for its lunch specials.  I believe there were daily specials (as there are at Amigos today) as well as combination and specialty plates that were always served.  Freshly baked bread and a small but tasty soup and salad were served as appetizers.  The portions of food were not huge but they were just right for lunch.  The waiters had worked at the restaurant for their entire careers, and they knew the customers as well as knowing how to give the “old style” service that was the traditional Mexican style.  I usually tried to go about 11:00 am because the restaurant filled up fast.  The last tables at the end of the dining room had a view of Paisano Drive instead of the more tranquil view of the “Peace Grove” in front of the restaurant, but the service was good anywhere you sat.

La Hacienda from the Peace Grove

View of La Hacienda from the Peace Grove in 2006

I did not know until I talked to the people at Amigos that the recipes for the red enchiladas came from New Mexico, and this is why they were spicier than most others in El Paso.  Many dishes served on the daily specials seemed to come directly from Mexico, while other items such as the chile relleno, taco, rice, beans, and salsa were what I would call the iconic El Paso style.

Amigos Restaurant Combination Plate

The combination plate from Amigos continues the tradition of La Hacienda’s food

My review of La Hacienda from 2004 does not give a picture of the original restaurant, but it is part of La Hacienda’s history.


Review from my visit in 2004

I ate at the “old” Hacienda dozens of times before it changed management and the whole staff left to start Amigos Restaurant. The restaurant closed and then reopened in its current incarnation. I had heard many bad reviews that frankly scared me away, but I finally decided it give it a try.

My assessment is that it is neither as good as the people who like it a lot say, nor is it nearly as bad as the bad reviews would lead you to believe. In fact, the Chile Relleno is actually quite good. I say “chile” (singular) because one will just about fill you up. Although I don’t like the El Paso style of pouring ranchero sauce on top of it, this one actually has very good sauce (and cheese). Moreover, the egg batter was so good that it dominated the sauce, causing a really good balance of flavors. It was refreshing to have food that was hot enough to use the chips to cool it down a bit.

The Enchiladas were dark red, and although not the best in El Paso, were satisfying.

Probably the best part of going here is being in the historic building; it is almost like being in Santa Fe (actually you are a couple of hundred feet from Mexico).

The waitress I had was reviving something that is almost dead in El Paso–providing good service.

Normally I don’t care much for mariachi music but the band here is actually very good (and enjoyable).

Although I didn’t try the more expensive items on the menu, I suspect they are a lot better than the standard fare of tacos, enchiladas, etc.


Amigos Restaurant
2000 Montana Ave.
El Paso, TX
(915) 533-0155

Amigos started with almost the entire staff from the original La Hacienda, but on my last visit there were only two that were still there (and one of them only worked at lunch).  The food carries on the La Hacienda tradition, though, particularly on the lunch specials.  Amigos has added several authentic Mexican dishes, but some are served only occasionally as specials.

I think if you want to try the old food from La Hacienda it is best to ask the staff at Amigos what to order.  I don’t know if the rolls are still the same at lunch since the original source (La Ideal Bakery) is now closed, but I am sure they are staying as close to tradition as is practical and as customers still want to order.