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If you needed a sign to order from a popular food pop-up today, this is it.
Toronto's latest collaborative pop-up launches today and features Asukal and Bunso, two home businesses by local chefs who are coming together to produce a Filipino-inspired menu that is sure to captivate your palate.
After selling out their first few pop-up dates this week, it's not too late to still get a last minute order in for pick-up for Friday or Saturday at Pokito––where the pop-up is operating out of––located downtown at 420 Queen St West.
Wanting to create a menu that allows both groups to showcase their love and connection towards Filipino cuisine, these chefs are combining their skills to produce a menu that reflects some of their favourite foods, with a twist.
Asukal is the passion project of Caroline Marquez, who is a pastry chef at George Restaurant in Toronto. Between working long hours in the kitchen, Marquez puts her love for sweets into Asukal, which means 'sugar' in Tagalog.
First focusing on macarons and buttertarts, Asukal has since expanded through Marquez's want to dive deeper into her Filipino roots that largely inspire her savoury offerings.
"Too many times when I ask someone if they’ve had Filipino food, they have no idea what it is, so it’s time for that to change," said Marquez. "Our food is not just strictly traditional Filipino food. We also like to incorporate our Canadian side with our food too, meaning that we like to use Filipino flavours and make it into something unique."
Hiram Sales, the chef behind Bunso, creates classic Filipino food in his own style for pop-ups and events across the city. Balancing his own business while working full time, Sales is motivated to bring his passion for Filipino food to life.
The term 'bunso' translates to 'youngest' in Tagalog, and is named after Sales, who was the youngest sibling in his household growing up.
Featured on the collaborative menu are familiar Pinoy favourites, like pancit and arroz caldo, accompanied by new creations inspired by Filipino flavours, like the ube louis––two layers of soft ube cake topped with puffed rice and a layer of ube frosting. This of course being an elevated take on the famous 'Jos Louis' snack.
For Sales, the 'arroz caldo' dish is a staple for his pop-ups, and is rooted in his memories of travelling to the Philippines as a kid.
"I went to Philippines the first time when I was 8 or 9 years old and my aunt actually sold it to the locals... it’s when I really fell in love with it," said Sales. "My arroz caldo has made an appearance in every pop up I’ve had. [It was] one of my favourite dishes growing up."
You can also order their kare kare, made peanut-free to accommodate allergies, consisting of crispy lechon kawali, accompanied by a sunflower butter stew.
Definitely don't skip out on their sio-bao, which is a take on the traditional siopao. This variation comes with BBQ pork asado, pickled atsara slaw, crispy garlic and a splash of spicy calamansi aioli, sandwiched between fluffy steamed buns. This item comes with three in an order because once you've had one, it's tough to resist reaching for another.
With so many options to choose from, you can also save yourself the trouble in deciding what to order by tasting the whole menu for only $75.
This limited-time menu is available this week only. Pre-ordering for this menu closes on April 29 for a last minute pick-up on May 1, as the team needs 48 hours of notice.
Be sure to visit their website here to place your order. If you can't get your hands on this exclusive menu, stay up to date with Bunso and Asukal on Instagram to see when their next collaboration will be and also support their latest product drops.