Chef Ellie Tiglao’s Tanám is putting Filipino food on the map in Boston

Chef Ellie Tiglao’s Tanám is putting Filipino food on the map in Boston

The pop-up restaurant has found a permanent home at Bow Market.

Ellie Tiglao’s foray into pop-up dining was borne out of an innate reaction: If you can’t find it, make it.

After moving from California to Boston for a career in neuroscience, Tiglao wasn’t satisfied with the Filipino food available in Boston, and missed the traditional dishes she relished as a child at her father’s restaurant. In August 2014, she launched Pamangan, a Filipino pop-up restaurant that, four years later, has morphed into her latest project: Tanám, which is scheduled to officially open to the public at Bow Market in February.

“It’s funny how a pop-up works,” Tiglao said. “It’s like exercising. You’re figuring out how much you can do with limited resources.”

The evenings are about more than pancit, fried pork belly, and sticky rice — they’re about a narrative experience, Tiglao explained. A central theme is incorporated into every dinner (a past pop-up topic, for example, centered around grandmothers), and tickets to an event include a zine and a take-home box filled with recipes and objects related to the theme. 

After experimenting with both the numbers of guests and dishes at her pop-ups, Tiglao has settled on an intimate figure of 10 guests at two seated dinners each night at the Bow Market space. Diners will eat together around a communal table, taking in four to six courses during each ticketed event.

“I’m actually very introverted and shy,” Tiglao said. “This format has brought out the best in me, in terms of sharing stories.”

An outdoor bar is set to debut later this spring, serving Filipino bar snacks and cocktails.

The opening of Tanám is a victory for Filipino food in Boston, a cuisine that has taken off in other U.S. cities in the past few years but still hasn’t quite caught traction here. Tiglao said that while there isn’t a big Filipino chef community in Boston, the encouragement is there.

“A lot of people who have grown up here that are trying to bring Filipino food to the main stage are really supportive of each other,” she said. “But I really believe that once someone sees that it’s there, there’s a lot more interest in trying it. I’ve definitely heard someone say that a Halo Halo truck would be good, or a Filipino convenience store.” (Halo Halo is a traditional Filipino dessert made with shaved ice and evaporated milk).

By: Boston Globe

 


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