More than a year here in Dubai and after asking for recommendations from fellow kababayans, we still have not found a Filipino restaurant that truly showcases Pinoy food. And I find it weird too because there are A LOT of Filipinos here in the UAE. I’m sure I’m not the only craving for Pinoy dishes that truly captures Filipino cuisine right??
So upon learning that Chef JP Anglo put up a Filipino eatery here in Dubai, we immediately made sure to try it out even if they’re still on soft opening. Everyone, meet Kooya.
Fun fact: Kuya, literally means big brother, is one of the common Filipino words (more said than Mabuhay imo) & is also a term loosely used to call a man (he) as a sign of respect even if you’re not related by blood.
Kooya, is the first venture of Chef JP Anglo outside the Philippines where he is from and where his restaurant named Sarsa (literally means sauce) is. According to Chef JP, Sarsa is the inspiration behind opening a restaurant overseas & Kooya is the global representation of it. To simply put, it’s to bring Filipino food for—not just for Pinoys to enjoy but also—the rest of the world to try.
To showcase them on social media is one thing but to actually be able to taste it is a whole different story. I wish I can share with you all the aroma each dish gives while I savor each bite ?. Maybe on my next visit I can vlog about it (mukhbang style) though I don’t think I’m made for eating in front of the camera. Haha.
Here’s a look at Kooya’s set menu that we were able to try.
*sorry for the bad lightning & photo angle. Didn’t really plan on blogging about this because I was super excited to eat*
Fried baby anchovies with pineapple glaze.
Grilled tofu in lemongrass & annatto.
Chicken BBQ skewers with spiced vinegar.
Minced chicken, shrimps & vegetable spring roll with spiced vinegar.
Banana smoothie infused with Chocnut & chocolate syrup.
Chicken wonton soup topped with crispy garlic.
Beef belly, tripe with smoked peanut gravy & house shrimp paste.
Grilled chicken marinated in coconut vinegar, lemongrass & annatto.
Charred eggplant omelette with salted egg paste & crispy shallot.
Palm sugar flat bread.
My husband & I really enjoyed everything on the set menu. The Banana Choknut Smoothie was something that surprised me as it taste unique yet brought me back to my childhood memories (since I used to snack on Chocnut). Our daughter Gabbie enjoyed the Pancit Molo because she loves a good wonton while our son who is a Lumpiang Shangai monster almost had the entire serving to himself. My husband naman loved the Tortang Talong, he can literally eat it everyday if he can.
If you ask me, Kare-Kare simply tops as our favorite. The dish truly reminded us of home. I had
second third serving of garlic rice because the peanut gravy is too good not to. We haven’t had this in years and so the explosion of flavors was indeed a party in our mouth.
And let’s not forget the desert—Piaya ni Kooya. Just your humble palm sugar wrapped in flat bread. Dessert is my weakness talaga and to be honest I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Piaya up until I tried this one from Kooya. Freshly made light, and flakey, crispy bread has now moved up the ranks in my top Pinoy dessert. I will never eat another Piaya if it’s not the same as this. Ang sarap!
Frozen cookie layered with buttercream & cashew-meringue wafers. It’s not on the menu but my goodness this delectable complimentary dessert is something my husband & I kinda had to fight over how many each one gets to eat but since he knows I love my sweets, he let me eat most of it. Hahaha.
Bringing Filipino food forward.—Chef JP Anglo
The way Kooya prepare each dish (slow cooked & grilled to perfection) has no short cut which makes the flavors really come out. Despite the challenge of finding the ingredients they need here in Dubai, it has not stopped them for reinventing & recreating some of the well-known and most-loved Filipino dishes. After all, Kooya is here to serve great tasting Pinoy dishes to our fellow Kabayans & the rest of the world. It’s about time we (in Dubai) get to have Filipino food that we all truly deserve.
Congratulations again Chef JP & Cam! We look forward to dinning again once you guys officially open & fully operate. If you’re missing Pinoy food or have been meaning to try, visit Kooya for authentic Filipino dishes.