Pork, Squid, and Milkfish: A Filipino Meal

Kayumangi Filipino meal

The man explained the choices at the steam table, but hesitated at the second pork dish. “And this one is — I don’t know if I should tell you what it is.” He gave a nervous laugh as he stirred the diced pork in a deep brown sauce.

I was convinced now that it was a rare occurrence that a non-Filipino wandered into his little place, a half restaurant, half Filipino grocery store in Wallingford, CT, called Kayumangi. We assured him it was all right.

I ordered the dish he had been afraid to tell me about, pork in a blood sauce, and he was thrilled, saying, “Wow, you are brave!” There were nods of approval from other customers as well.

My husband and I enjoyed our lunch: two pork dishes, a salted and dried milkfish, and tender little squids, served with white rice.

Kayumangi Filipino lunch

As we ate, most of the other customers were watching the Filipino television station above our heads, giving me a friendly smile when they caught my eye.

I’ve done a fair amount of traveling and have often been to restaurants that are quite used to a crush of tourists; it can seem like they are putting on a show. Here, 15 miles from my Connecticut home, I experienced an authentic Filipino meal.

101 things button #64: Try a new cuisine. 101 things in 1001 days. (33 more to go!)

Kayumangi Filipino grocery store

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Update: The next day, I volunteered at the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, so I now have 32 things to go to complete my list.

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.

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4 Responses to Pork, Squid, and Milkfish: A Filipino Meal

  1. I’d eat this in a flash, in fact, I would head there this minute, if I weren’t in California! Nonetheless, I love how you leap into these experiences, all of them so interesting and real and inspiring. And the fact that you illustrate your adventures with photos that make me want to be there sharing these moments with you and your family (all of you are quite delightful). This is why I’m nominating you for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I’m working on the blog announcing this now. It should be up tomorrow, so you can see what you need to do if you’d like to receive the award.

  2. scrollwork says:

    Yay you! I’m Filipino; I’ve been living in California for more than half my life and miss the food so much. I knew instantly that it was “dinuguan” when the guy hesitated to tell you what it was. We have a belief in my culture that when a woman is conceiving, the food she craves will influence her baby’s appearance. My mother was convinced my baby would come out dark-complexioned because I was craving dinuguan. She didn’t, though.

    Found you via SheWrites.

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