This Thursday, Mya’s Fried Chicken hosts an encore of its Pinoy Night at the food truck’s regular spot in Clintonville.
Originally a slang term meaning a Filipino person living in the United States, “Pinoy” is now generally applied to any Filipino. Owner Mark Tolentino, who is the first generation of his family to be born in the U.S., makes it his mission to show Columbus the joys of Filipino cooking.
“Filipino food is tailor-made to the American palate,” he says. “It resonates well with Americans because a lot of the food is fried. Filipinos also eat more meat than other Asian cultures. In the Philippines, you eat meat or fish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And there’s a lot of pork.”
Mya’s first Pinoy Night, held in mid-September, was a rousing—and very busy—success. Customers lined up as soon as the truck opened and kept Tolentino and his crew running for hours. Based on the success of the first night, Tolentino is expanding the hours this time around to include lunch and dinner hours.
What can customers expect? “Last time was focused more on street food, and this will be geared more towards the sit-down dinner,” Tolentino explains. One of the featured dishes of the night is the Filipino national dish adobo manok, chicken stewed with plenty of vinegar, soy, black pepper, and bay leaves. Tolentino says the dish originated as a form of preparing chicken so it wouldn’t spoil at room temperature.
As the “adobo” in name hints, there are Spanish influences in the dish, stemming from the Spanish settlement of the Philippines between the 1500s and 1800s. This, Tolentino says, has become one of the signatures of Filipino fare. “Filipino food echoes a lot of other countries’ cooking because of various occupations and spice trading,” he says. “It is the true melting pot of cooking, because the country has been ruled and taken over by so many different cultures. They had no recourse but to adapt these different flavors and techniques. It’s almost like this is the way that we manage, the way we make lemonade out of the lemons.” Malaysian, Thai and Indian influences show up in Filipino food, too. Even bits of American cuisine like Vienna sausages, ketchup, and Spam make appearances, the influence of American GIs stationed in the Philippines during World War II.
Other new dishes for Pinoy Night Part 2 include the lechon kawali, crispy pork belly served with pickled vegetables and (optional) liver sauce, as well as mechado, beef braised with vinegar, tomatoes, and potatoes.
There will be some repeats from the first Pinoy night menu, too, such as the panchit bihon (rice noodles with stir fried vegetables and chicken) and loompia (Filipino spring rolls). Turon, dessert egg rolls with jackfruit and bananas, will also return.
Pinoy Night Part 2 will run noon -8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24. Mya’s Fried Chicken truck is parked at 3166 N. High St., at the northeast corner of Pacemont and High in Clintonville.