The Filipino culinary festival Food Trip also has robust restaurant that rocks out countless Pinoy dishes, all courtesy of several distinct food vendors.
Food Trip was originally started in May 2017 as a street festival/market by organizer Lourdes Federis, in part to showcase the many Filipino food vendors and catering companies who don’t have a restaurant to call their own.
Food Trip has since run every May and September long weekend, growing from primarily being a showcase of Filipino cuisine to including food trucks and vendors representing different countries and genres across Winnipeg in what Federis calls, “a celebration of the diversity of the city.”
The pre-COVID-19 plan included eight Food Trip markets taking place throughout 2020 in different areas of the city. But by March, when that no longer seemed possible, Federis said she had to pivot like so many other Winnipeg businesses.
In May, Federis instead opened Foodtrip Kitchen in St. James, a restaurant where all the hot dishes currently come from three vendors – Fishball King, Kabalen Restaurant and Catering Service, and Lovers in Pares (which has to be the best-braised beef pun we’ve ever heard).
“This is the first central kitchen restaurant in Winnipeg,” said Federis, who was inspired by the concept after visiting GrabKitchen in Singapore.
“Dishes which you’ll expect to find here at Foodtrip Kitchen are very diverse. Each merchant has their own specialty: Fishball King specializes in street food, Kabalen specializes in authentic Filipino dishes, and Lovers in Pares specializes in Filipino fusion, doing twists on our traditional food.”
You can also find baked goods, bread, cakes and more from Baker’s Bowl Bakeshop at Foodtrip Kitchen too.
In the above video, you’ll see chef Dexter Manalo of Lovers in Pares, alongside chef Edmond Madriaga of Fishball King, making an updated version of pares with bone marrow. While you can’t catch the aroma at home, we assure you that kitchen was full of the smells of anise, soy sauce and ginger from the braised beef broth.
Other dynamite dishes we tried were Kabelen’s pork inasal (skewered barbecue pork is super caramelized from the grill with all that soy, sugar and vinegar from the marinade combined to cover the salty-sweet-umami spectrum), a heaping pile of sisig and pork lumpia from Lovers in Pares, the Street Food Platter featuring all things battered and fried from Fishball King, and ukoy – a fried prawn and vegetable fritter – from Kabelen.
The dining room at Foodtrip Kitchen would normally seat 200 people, and the plan is to do large events once the pandemic has subsided. For the time being, there is still plenty of socially distanced space to eat in (capacity is currently set at 70, and the tables are way more than six feet apart), while you can also order delivery via multiple apps and takeout from the Foodtrip Kitchen.
Foodtrip Kitchen is located at 1045 St James St Unit A-B and is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday, Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For takeout call 204.880.6352