Friday, July 12, 2019

Bayan Ko

-Grubbing in Chicago
New to the 'Scene'

One of 2018's hottest restaurant openings was this Cuban and Filipino spot on Irving Park. We tried to make Bayan Ko our last meal of 2018 but couldn't secure a seat. That's bc it sits maybe 20 people max. It's been packed most weekend nights since then too which is a testament to it's popularity in the city. It's the co-creation of a couple each showcasing the cuisines of their families ancestries.

Newly Opened in Irving Park

Though they feature both Filipino and Cuban food most of the dishes don't intersect. There's maybe ten items total and about half are Cuban and the other half are Filipino. Two foods closely associated with both are the Cuban sandwich and Lumpia (egg rolls). Both are worth your time. The Cuban was a tad bit too stuffed which some would say is a stupid complaint but I'm a big proponent of balancing a Cuban sandwich just right and it starts with not adding too much of anything and everything. Props for the well melted cheese. The lumpia had mostly meat which is different than most others I've had. 

Cuban Sandwich and Lumpia at Bayan Ko

Both the Cubans and the Filipinos are really good with pork belly. The Bayan Lechon was one dish that did have a little bit of both Cuban and Filipino flavors. Crispy pieces of pork belly are cooked to perfection in the Filipino style and served with a small bowl of mojo and mang tomas sauce.

 Crispy Pork Belly (Bayan Lechon) at Bayan Ko

Perhaps the most popular dish is Luglug noodles. Everyone who eats here seems to get these. Described on the menu as noodles with scallops, uni, chicharron, egg yolk, saffron. It's a really interesting dish with a flavor I couldn't quite pinpoint other than the fact I knew I enjoyed it. They were briny from the seafood, partly crispy from the chicharron, and rich from the egg yolk. Delicious.

Luglug Noodles

Maybe you've heard about Ube ice cream lately? As it's now available at Trader Joe's. People are going crazy for the purple yam treat. It's been hot for a while and Bayan Ko makes great use of it in their Ube Sundae. Made with luscious ube ice cream, flan, young shredded coconut, and red beans. I love me some Asian desserts. Bayan Ko is BYOB for a $5 corkage fee. You can reserve online. 

Ube Sundae at Bayan Ko

Bayan Ko
1810 W Montrose Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 698-6373

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