It was my aunt’s birthday and we celebrated at Pandan Asian Cuisine in Bloomfield. It was my first time and I was looking forward to some good Filipino food. In addition to Filipino cuisine and desserts, they also serve Thai and Chinese dishes.
The menu was set and the food started coming out. We started off with a tasty green mango salad with roasted duck. It was fresh, slightly sweet, and delicious! This was one of my favorite dishes.
A plate of breaded and deep-fried chicken strips were served with a red curry sauce. A dish meant for the kids, but everybody enjoyed them.
Bonus points for the cirspy garlic bits sprinkled over the white rice!
Another classic dish I haven’t had in a while was the fresh lumpia. Mixed vegetables and chicken are rolled in a soft wrapper and topped with a peanut sauce. The wrapper is similar to a crepe and not fried like other lumpia versions.
You can’t have a Filipino meal without Pancit Bihon! The stir-fried noodles are mixed with vegetables, chicken, scallions, and roasted garlic. A squeeze of lemon over the top and you’re all set. I really enjoyed their classic version.
One of the house specialties was the Ginataang Pusit – squid and okra cooked in a creamy coconut milk and other spices. It was flavorful and slightly spicy.
Another favorite was the Lechon Kawali. Crispy deep-fried pork belly? What’s not to like! It was served with lechon sauce which is a vinegar-based sauce made with liver and other spices. Trust me, it’s a perfect pairing for the crispy and salty pork chunks.
I though another dish of fried chicken came out, but it was actually crispy tilapia fingers. A sweet and sour sauce was served on the side.
Another classic Filipino noodle dish is Pancit Malabon. This noodle dish that originated from Malabon City is similar to Palabok. It’s made with thicker rice noodles, ground pork rind, hard-boiled egg, shrimp, and garnished with scallions, roasted garlic and lemon. It was excellent.
I have to say that the service here was very warm and friendly. It was like going to an aunt’s house to enjoy a nice home-cooked meal with the family. It was almost time for dessert and we had to sing Happy Birthday to my aunt of course. They gave her a hefty slice of chocolate cake.
We were given a small dessert menu where each person chose what they desired. There was a yummy leche flan with caramel drizzle.
The most popular choice was the Halo-Halo, which means “mix-mix”. The Filipino dessert consists of shaved ice topped, evaporated milk, ube ice cream, sweet beans, guluman (sweet jelly), leche flan, coconut, and other various ingredients. Every place makes it slightly different. I loved that their version had a small slice of leche flan.
So the plan of almost every family get-together is for everybody to order something different so we can all try it. The sticky rice with mango ice cream was great.
It was a lovely birthday lunch with solid Filipino and Thai dishes. Nothing fancy here, just simple versions of a few of our favorites. The friendly service and warm hospitality made it even better. It’s nice to have another option for Filipino cuisine besides our usual spots in Bergenfield and Elmwood Park. I would definitely come back. If you’ve never had Filipino food before, this is a great place to try it!
Pandan Asian Cuisine
406 Broad Street
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
– Closed Mondays