Ethan and Geri Leung are transferring to Portland for a similar cause numerous New York, San Francisco, and Seattle cooks do: to decelerate. Ethan Leung, presently cooking at Seattle’s buzzy hotel restaurant Ben Paris, lives the lifetime of a chef in a demanding market: 12, 13, 14-hour days, all with the excessive strain of working in a conventional restaurant kitchen. On the aspect, he and Geri Leung have been operating a Filipino pop-up, Baon Kainan, out of Ben Paris, making dishes like smoked salmon sinigang and ube panna cotta.
However after coming down to go to Matta energy couple Richard and Sophia Le, the Leungs realized they needed to do one thing for themselves on their phrases, in a means that allowed them to stay the life they needed. “To see Matta do what they accomplish that very nicely, and nonetheless have a social life, with the ability to spend time with one another, that actually opened my eyes,” Ethan Leung says. “I used to be like, ‘Oh, that is what it’s about.’”
So quickly, Baon Kainan will land in Portland as a meals cart, with gluten-free hen adobo, kare-kare fries, and seasonal dishes like wintertime arroz caldo.
Baon Kainan is an exploration of the meals each Ethan and Geri ate rising up as Filipino People. Whereas Ethan pivoted into skilled cooking after a short-lived profession in engineering, Geri grew up cooking at house for her youthful brother, absorbing what she might from the Meals Community and, in her phrases, a “ratty previous binder of recipes,” together with her mom’s Filipino dishes. After Ethan’s first yr cooking professionally, he felt compelled to try the meals he ate rising up by means of this new lens, and the 2 of them began internet hosting supper golf equipment for his or her family and friends. “Whilst Ethan created menus, I used to be the tester of all of the meals,” Geri says. “I put the homey spin on it; he had this wonderful eating expertise, and I’d reel it again in.”
When the Leungs discuss Baon Kainan — or Filipino cooking on the whole — they usually body their meals as a departure from the home-cooked staples frequent to most Filipino households. The couple makes use of the phrase “Not your tita’s cooking” of their Instagram bio, a recognition that the meals at Baon Kainan just isn’t the textbook model of any given Filipino dish, whereas holding full respect for that conventional interpretation. “What we wish to convey within the meals is that that is our story; that is our upbringing,” Geri Leung says. “Sure we’re Filipinos, however we’re Filipino People. We grew up on quick meals and the buffets and pizza rolls, and so we’re inevitably going to honor the meals that we grew up with, however based mostly on Ethan’s coaching, my household’s meals.”
For instance, the cart’s kare kare fries are a nod to Geri and Ethan’s faculty journeys to Canada, the place they’d devour piles of poutine. The chef sears seasoned brief ribs earlier than braising them with carrots, onions, garlic, ginger, and annatto. After three or 4 hours, Ethan combines the braising liquid with peanut butter, and smothers fries with the meat, greens, and liquid. “We make the peanut stew with the braised beef as historically as we are able to, however to flip it, serving it over fries, that pays homage to our time in faculty,” Ethan says.
The remainder of the menu will embrace gluten-free variations of each hen and mushroom adobo, made with tamari and inventory, and a rotating number of dishes like sinigang. The 2 hope to supply desserts as nicely — the Seattle pop-up has served issues like ube brownies and ensaymadas — however the Leungs don’t wish to chew off greater than they’ll chew.
The couple hopes to open their cart in July, however they’ll transfer right down to Portland on the finish of April; earlier than the cart formally opens, the 2 hope to squeeze in a number of extra pop-ups for good measure. They’re nonetheless searching for a location, however are eyeing a spot in Cully close to their buddies at Matta. Be taught extra about Baon Kainan by following the Leungs’ Instagram.