Sponsored article | Barkada cooks up Filipino comfort food
Most towns have a restaurant where locals like to congregate and enjoy the breeze while enjoying familiar food – comfort food – that fills their souls as well as their stomachs.
Chef Brian Madayag, who owns and operates Barkada, has worked hard to make his restaurant such a place.
The trap ? It’s Filipino food. Or, more precisely, a fusion of Philippine, Hawaiian and other South Pacific islands, with a touch of the Pacific Northwest.
Barkada, located in Edmonds, has built a steady following since opening its doors in 2017. In an area where a majority may have grown up on a typical meat and potato diet, go out for something. “exotic” once meant Chinese or Mexican food.
Fortunately, with the help of the Food Network and media celebrities like Barefoot Contessa, Emeril Lagasse, Anthony Bourdain and others, diners young and old have started exploring new options in recent years. The American “melting pot” means what is on the stove as much as who cooks it.
For Brian, that’s no exaggeration. Although he grew up in Edmonds, graduating from Meadowdale High School, he is of Filipino descent. So he grew up with one foot in two cultures, part American, part Filipino. His love of cooking began in his youth when he and his mother watched Food Network shows together. And his taste buds have developed a wider palate than the average Joe.
He followed that love in college, graduating from Seattle Culinary Academy at Seattle Central College, and in his career, including several years working at some of Tom Douglas’ restaurants including Dahlia Lounge and Cantina Leña.
When a restaurant in Edmonds opened, Brian was ready to go it alone. The company gave him the opportunity to explore while introducing a new cuisine to his guests.
“For me, it’s a project that pushed me to dig into my roots,” he said. “It’s a restaurant of introspection. It is to find myself as a leader. Every chef does this.
So he relied on his mother, grandmother, aunts and others to learn their recipes – why they chose the spices, meats, produce and other ingredients they used – and then made his own dishes.
“If you go too far you lose the soul of the dish,” Brian explained. “We like to take the old, embrace the new and create something for ourselves. I’m going to make grandma’s adobo my way.
Beginners will recognize various influences, he said, such as various noodle dishes from China, as well as spices and sausages introduced by Spanish explorers. And, from America, Spam, he laughed.
He recommends newcomers who have just soaked their toes for the first time to try Chicken Adobo, the national dish of the Philippines, which features chicken thighs from the farms of Mount Vernon, golden potatoes, garlic and pickles. “It’s our version of teriyaki chicken,” Brian said, “only better. “
Other popular dishes include Pancit, a side dish combining garlic bihon (vermicelli) and township noodles, seasonal vegetables fused with black soybeans and fried garlic, and Lola’s Lumpia, which is composed of pork rolls and vegetables accompanied by the homemade green sweet pepper.
There’s also Kalua Pig & Cabbage (luau pork, shredded cabbage, smoked sea salt, grilled banana leaf, and mac salad), Poke (ahi tuna, tobiko, sesame shoyu, krab salad, cucumber, edamame, seaweed. and ginger) and Musubi (fried spam and rice, nori, tare and pickled ginger) and much more.
While they may seem exotic, Barkada’s menu is actually “very affordable,” Brian said. “We wanted this to be a place where you could eat a few times a week without getting bored. “
The menu is fairly defined, but there are also weekly specials. Currently, it is Filipino spaghetti (yes!).
Likewise, Brian wanted his version of comfort food to be offered in a comfortable place. So instead of a ‘fine dining’ vibe, Barkada has a laid back, Hawaiian / South Islander feel, what Brian calls a ‘quick and easy’ cafe.
You order at the counter, then grab a table, inside or outside. On the ground floor is a games room that can be reserved for birthdays and other private parties.
Brian and his team greet guests like old friends, making new and old feel welcome.
Yes, Barkada serves cocktails, and they’re as fun as the food, including slushies like Barkada Colada (pineapple, coconut, white and dark rum) and Li Hing Mui Margarita (Hawaiian sour plum, lemon juice. fresh green and tequila), and cocktails like the Hibiscus Sling (hibiscus gin, sweet vermouth, lime and bitters) or the Pain Killer (sea rum, pina, orange juice, coconut and nutmeg). Cocktails are served in Hawaiian-style street market bags.
For a full overview of the family menu, visit http://barkadaedmonds.com.
Open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, Barkada also offers take-out at 425-670-2222. Or dine at 622 5th Ave. S, Edmonds, WA 98020.