Alamat is a Filipino word that could be translated different ways: legend, folklore, or tradition. But it all boils down to one main thing: story. Tucked in the heart of Poblacion in Makati City is a place where the story of the Filipino culture starts at the tip of your taste buds and comes to life in the palates: welcome to Alamat Filipino Pub and Deli.
A brainchild of acclaimed Chef Niño Laus and wife Cassie, Alamat is one of the few, if not the only restaurant in Poblacion that features authentic Filipino food. “The location came before the concept,” shares Cassie. “Poblacion is becoming a hub for travelers and foreigners because of the hostels around and we thought it would be the perfect place for us to introduce our culture through authentic Filipino food.” But even some locals are not that familiar with food coming from different regions of the country and Alamat serves this purpose well. The crowd is a good mix of both local and foreign.
From the star-shaped lights made out of Capiz shells that glisten in a lattice above your head, detailed cement blocks as walls, and murals of folklore creatures, Alamat transports you to anywhere but the bustling metro. For locals who originally came from the provinces or have relatives outside the Manila, it’s like visiting your grandmother’s ancestral house. For the foreigners, it gives you a glimpse of what to expect in the Philippines once you step out of the capital and head to the different islands.
Let’s get down to business. What better way to start the night than a glass of cold beer. Alamat has a wide selection of craft beers locally sourced around the Philippines, from the northern regions of Baguio down to the islands of Cebu. Summer Passion and Message in a Bottle (strong at 7.6%) are a must-try.
A big bowl of chips to start comes to the table. Instead of thin potato slices, Indi Chips is made out of homegrown rootcrops like taro, sweet potato, cassava, and purple yam and comes with a hearty dip made out of micro-shrimps that can only be found in a lake in Laguna. And that’s just the start!
Then there’s Bacon Bagnet, a basket of sweeter-than-usual bacon inspired by the deep-fried crispy pork belly dish from Ilocos.
Skewers and sausages take centerstage in Alamat. Their take on Sinuglaw is a grilled pork skewer with tangy tuna ceviche. Instead of using normal beef, Alamat’s Bistek is grilled Wagyu beef skewer on a bed of laing, a Bicolano favorite made out of taro leaves and coconut milk.
Then there’s the artisanal sausage made out of Chicken Inasal, Bacolod’s pride. Aside from this, their sausages come in Sisig, Dinuguan, and Adobo.
And the main star of the night would have to be their version of Papaitan, a 200-year old dish from Ilocos. It’s a hot, bitter stew dish made out of beef innards. Originally bittered by using the gallbladder, Alamat instead grates a bar of Davao on to the soup right before your very eyes. The Filipino fiesta spirit truly comes alive.
For now, World Music and indigenous Filipino beats from the likes of Pinikpikan and Bayang Barrios accompany the diners. But on the works are live performances on special nights. As the food scene in Manila goes global in flavors and style, it is admirable that some restaurateurs still want to showcase authentic Filipino cuisine. Alamat is a story of the Philippines — one that needs to be tasted, told, and shared.
Alamat Filipino Pub is located at 2F, Mekanor Building, 5666 Don Pedro Street (next to Z Hostel), Poblacion Makati.
All Photos by Claudia Aotriz