So Sarap NYC is bringing favorite Filipino street food dishes to the streets of New York. It gives the Filipinos who are far away form home a sense of nostalgia and taste of authentic Filipino street food. If you haven’t yet had street food, it includes treats like fishball, isaw, ice cream, taho, kikiam, kwek kwek, chicharon and the infamous balut. Now, New Yorkers too gets a taste of the Philippines in the Lower East Side.
According to Pop Inquirer, initially So Sarap NYC looked to target non-Filipinos and share the culture through food. Spearheaded by Virgilio “VJ” Navarro Jr. and Sebastian Shan, these high school besties have made it their mission to remind Filipinos in New York some of their best memories of Pinoy street food. Literally it’s a love language for Filipinos.
When Navarro lost his job during the pandemic, it was an opportunity for his long awaited dream to be a reality. There’s four vendors total for So Sarap NYC: Fishball, Isawan, Taho, and Balut Penoy Chicaron. The vendors roll up also in the classic karitons (pushcarts), along with all the street food tools like balancing buckets of taho ingredients on a stick. Plus, they really be selling on the street and subway too!
His knowledge of street food comes from his father and lolo (grandpa). Navarro’s father was also a street food vendor in the Philippines, selling isaw and fishball, as well as from his Lolo who sold suka (vinegar). Vinegar usually accompanies as a dipping sauce for the snacks. However, it’s also the Filipino community in New York that helped pull it all together and make it an authentic experience.
Even Chef Harold Villarosa visits So Sarap NYC to learn all about chicken feet and their place in Filipino cooking.
Cover Photo Credit: So Sarap NYC Facebook