Filipino Food Goes Vegan at New York's Saramsam
It's New York's first vegan Filipino restaurant.
(SPOT.ph) Let's face it: you don't usually associate veganism with Filipino food—a cuisine which relies heavily on meat, poultry, and fish, as well as associated products like fermented fish sauce. But one restaurant in New York is making the (seemingly) unthinkable happen. Saramsam just opened in the East Village neighborhood of the Big Apple, and their mission is simple: to serve up Filipino eats that are 100% meat-free.
Executive Chef Raj Abat hails from La Union, and was out to establish a restaurant that's "Filipino down to its core—in its warm hospitality, nostalgic ingredients, and informal, communal style of dining." This explains the restaurant's name, saramsam—a.k.a. "casual dining" in Ilocano.
To capture the cuisine's essence while sticking to plant-based ingredients, Abat recreates its signature flavors using fermented beans, stinky tofu, miso, and the like. Their Kamatis Bagoong ($17, approximately P823.57), for example, delivers an umami punch with its combination of heirloom tomatoes, fermented fruit, and funky black beans. Vegetables figure front and center in a number of dishes, as is the case in the Kare Kare ($18, approximately P873.09) with sweet potato, baby eggplant, yardlong bean, and peanut miso.
Where applicable, meats are replaced with other "meaty" ingredients like mushrooms—as is the case in their signature Adobo ($22, approximately P1,067.11) with roasted mushrooms in a garlic-soy glaze—or faux meat, as with their Lumpia ($5/piece, approximately P242.52). Saramsam also offers a tasting menu ($50/person, approximately P2,425.28), which is served on banana leaves and is meant to be enjoyed communal-style and devoured with your hands.
We won't be flying out to New York anytime soon—and admittedly, neither are we vegan—but we do love Filipino food in any and all shapes, forms, and interpretations. Brb, adding this place to our bucketlist!
For more infomation, check out Saramsam's website.