It’s hard to find Filipino food, let alone good Filipino food. Maharlika means “Royalty” in Tagalog, and this cozy little spot in the East Village is homey and modern at once, far nicer than any Filipino restaurant I’ve ever been to. I am greeted with the sound of Jimi Hendrix and the womb-like feelings of Tita’s kitchen. I dig this place.
- Start with the humble yet widely-feared delicacy, balut ($5). This fertilized duck egg tastes like hard-boiled egg and babies. Beautifully presented with salt to taste, it is slurpable, protein-packed and just a little unnerving.
- Pampangan-style sisig ($16) is like a low-country hash that only Asian ingredients can make better. Sibuya onions, garlic, lemon and bird chilies…you will find a thin line of saliva quietly running down your face before the dish hits the table. A sizzling cast-iron pan is filled with meaty pork belly, cheeks and ears, boiled, grilled and sautéed until chewy like jerky at times, lush, smoky and satisfying. Mix it with the soft egg and garlic rice.
- Another must-try is the chicken ‘n’ ube waffle ($17). Ube is a purple fruit often used in ice cream and cakes, and its subtle sweetness complements the impossibly crisp and juicy flourless, fried chicken. Anchovy chive butter lends a further contrast to the sweet coconut syrup you’ll feel compelled to drown your waffle (and your face) in.
Bring cash. Credit cards not accepted.
111 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003
Mary was born and raised in New York City where her family owned restaurants. Instead of eating dirt on the playground, she ate duck blood, beef tripe and pork belly. She cut her teeth at The Mandarin Oriental and The Ritz-Carlton hotels, working with Barbra Streisand, Vanessa Williams, Michael Stipe, LeVar Burton, Jane Krakowski and others. Mary founded Girl Meets Food in 2009 as a cover for her debilitating addiction to fried chicken and was named Washington Post’s “Favorite Local Foodie.” After 13 years in hospitality, she started freelance writing for USA Today, The Washington Post, Eater, Washington City Paper, and more. Today, she provides digital marketing for hospitality clients as a content creator who’s contently creating content.