Scallion noodles + roasted pork buns punctuate Po's punk-rock philosophy
They're not your usual food-delivery service.
(SPOT.ph) The idea behind Po is deceptively simple: “It’s essentially food that we eat and that we like to eat,” says Bong Sta. Maria, who owns the Asian food delivery service with her business and real-life partner, Jake Caruncho.
But with the duo taking inspiration from almost everything—from David Chang of Momofuku and Eddie Huang of BAOHAUS to local holes-in-the-wall across Asia, and even art and music—the food they dish out is playful and imbued with their colorful personalities. As Bong puts it, “Our philosophy is and always will be punk-rock.”
And what can be more punk-rock than two people operating a home-based delivery service while whipping up novel and playful Asian-inspired dishes? Bong and Jake are hands-on when it comes to their business, from buying ingredients the night before to prepping, cooking, and delivering. It’s the personal touch that sets them apart.
Right now, the menu is concise but there are plans to add more as the two travel and explore more flavors and cuisines. “We are still happily traversing an experimental phase,” shares Bong, “and we'll always be open to new ideas.” What they do have on offer are excellent, and a showcase of how well Jake and Bong are able to recreate their favorite dishes and make them their own.
Taiwanese Pork Bun
The Taiwanese Pork Bun (P140/two pieces) is inspired by Eddie Huang’s version at BAOHAUS. The crunch from the sugared peanuts is the first thing you will notice as you bite into the bun because of the way it contrasts with the melt-in-your-mouth braised pork belly, which is cut satisfyingly thick. Pickled mustard leaves give the strong, sweet-salty flavor of the pork a peppery kick.
Roasted Pork Bun
The Roasted Pork Bun (P140/two pieces) is a variation of the Taiwanese Pork Bun. The same thick-cut pork belly is roasted until golden then topped with hoisin sauce, pickled cucumber, and lettuce to break the rich fatty flavor. The result is less overpowering to the palate than the Taiwanese Pork Bun, but is no less delicious.
Fried Chicken Bun
The thigh fillet of the Fried Chicken Bun (P140/two pieces) is breaded using crushed uncooked noodles—if you’re familiar with childhood favorite NoodaCrunch, you know you will get a satisfying crunch from this chicken. This bun is no-frills as the perfectly seasoned fried chicken fillet needs no outside help (having been brined for hours), with only lettuce and Japanese mayonnaise to add a bit of oomph.
The Scallion Noodles (P120) is an homage to Momofuku’s Scallion Noodles (which is in turn inspired by the ginger scallion noodles at Great NY Noodletown in New York’s Chinatown). The herby sweetness of scallion blended with the sharp heat of ginger is a classic Asian flavor you can’t go wrong with, and Po takes it to the next level by adding bacon bits for a salty crunch. Pro-tip: This dish surprisingly tastes even better cold.
Dan Dan Noodles
Po also plays around with the Chinese classic, Dan Dan Noodles (P120). Based more on the Asian-American version than the original from Sichuan, China, this noodle dish is dry, with Po trading the usual peanut butter for chopped peanuts to give the dish texture. Po is generous with the chili oil so if you love bombarding your food with spiciness, this one’s for you.
Kimchi Mac and Cheese
Most intriguing of the bunch is the Kimchi Mac and Cheese (P150). The distinct slightly tart spiciness of the kimchi is just what the mac and cheese (made with mozzarella, parmesan, and cheddar) needs to liven things up and keep the dish from crossing over to umay territory.
Bong and Jake have plans of opening a brick-and-mortar Po in the future (“Hopefully in Poblacion,” says Bong), and considering their punk-rock and artistic sensibilities, we can’t wait to see how the store will turn out. For now, the extra effort of ordering a day before is worth it, if it means getting your hands on that gooey mac and cheese.
For orders, contact Po at 0917-575-8971. Orders must be placed a day in advance, with a minimum order of P500. For more information, log on to Po's Facebook page.
Photos by Majoy Siason
this strange new world.