I have a couple of great coworkers from the Philippines – I asked them a while back for a recommendation on where to get some really good Filipino food in Vancouver and they recommended Pinpin! It’s a bit surprising that we never tried it since Q and I both live pretty close to the restaurant. We knew we needed more people to try more things though, so we enlisted Beck to join us! (Q: this is the place that is on both of our to try list so why not!)
Pinpin is really spacious inside. It looks like it used to be much smaller, but then they took over the store next to them and expanded. One side of the restaurant can be used for private functions.
Their menu is pretty huge, but I love how they have great photos of some of their popular dishes! The desserts caught out eye pretty early (Q: I always flipped to the dessert section first!). We really wanted to try the grand halo halo, but we didn’t have enough people for it.
We started off with some rice, as a couple of the dishes we ordered would have been tough to eat in its own. Garlic rice sounded really good, so we got a large one to share (Q: I read that it is the best thing ever! It is one of the dishes on my must try list. BOY IS IT GOOD! I love the strong garlic taste!).
Our first order up the was Inihaw Na Tadyang Ng Baka, which was grilled beef shortribs with a special sauce.
It was a pretty assorted plate, with plenty of vegetables, beef, and prawns. The sauce was meaty, which went quite well with the rice. (Q: wasn’t a big fan of the dish. The sauce is almost too slimy? I just don’t think all the flavor profiles gelled together…)
Next up was my favourite dish, the Crispy Pata!! (Q: how can we go to a philippino restaurant without ordering pata?!)
Crispy pata is essentially deep fried pork hocks. The crispiness was out of this world! If you love fried stuff, you will absolutely salivate at the thought of this dish (Q: this reminds me of chinese bbq pork but this is much better in sense that everything was crispy and you don’t have tons of fatty meat underneath the thin, crispy skin.). There wasn’t a lot of meat (pork hocks are more bony), but this also went really well with the garlic rice! The crispy pata is typically served with a soy-vinegar dip, which adds a really nice salty-acidity to it. (Q: I think the vinegar cuts the fattiness/oily feeling of the pata alone. I don’t thik I could’ve eat as much of it if there wasn’t the vinegar dip)
Our final dish was the Pocherong Baboy. We got this one to go with the rice! It’s very ‘saucy’ dish that had sauteed pork belly with bananas and sweet potatoes.
It was very light and creamy. Reminiscent of a coconut curry, the pocherong baboy was a favourite to mix with the garlic rice. I really liked the squash! (Q: I think the coconut milk used was too much. After all the pata, I couldn’t really aet much of this dish. Too rich for me!)
All our food arrived really quickly, so we managed to get a photo of all the food before we dug in!
I liked the crispy pata so much I had to take another picture!
Q and I wish we had larger stomachs to try more of the different foods, but strangely enough I ended up going back to Pinpin with my coworkers just a few days later! We ordered a lot of the same stuff, but a few more dishes and the epic grand halo halo!
One of the dishes we ordered with the bigger group was the Inihaw Na Pusit.
It’s a really simple grilled squid, but man if you like grilled squid you have to order this. It is one of the best grilled squids I’ve ever had. Just the right level of tenderness and perfect grill. Simply delicious!
Another dish that I didn’t try when I went with Q was the Sisig (Q: Beck wanted this dish but we decided not to since we already have so much food). I would never have though to order this, but I’m glad my Filipino coworkers did!
On the menu the Sisig is described as chopped pork with onion & lemon, but it’s actually fried pork face. I know, it sounds really weird – that being said, trust me and order this with some plain rice. You will love it! The crispiness of the pork is amazing (almost as amazing as the crispy pata), and the seasoning is really good. You need some rice to balance out the flavour, but I can eat this stuff on rice all day.
Finally, we also ordered the most ridiculous dessert ever – the Grand Halo Halo.
When Q, Beck, and I went to Pinpin, the staff mentioned that the Grande Halo Halo was for 12 people. We had 9 with us the second time I went and we just barely managed to finish it. Make sure you bring a big party when you order this beast.
The Grande Halo Halo has 6 scoops of icecream – three purple yam (the purple yam icecream is super good!! Q: it is called ube) and three vanilla. From there, we move down into layaers of jello, shaved ice, coconut/condensed milk, and red/green/yellow beans. This is one of the best shaved ice desserts I’ve ever had!
Overall, I loved the food, atmosphere, and service at Pinpin! Fantastic place to bring parties of any size. I know I’ll be back for the Grande Halo Halo again!!