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.