This market is a hidden gem off of Lee Highway in the Cherrydale area of Arlington. The store has been around for as long as I’ve lived in Arlington. Mr. Chow and I have driven past this place countless times over the years, but for whatever reason, we never stopped in. Each time we’d pass the store, I secretly thought about a conversation I had eight years ago with a little old lady–my Filipino Fairy Godmother (FFG)!
FFG and I lived in the same apartment building and would often run into each other at the grocery store. We’d do the usual awkward smile or wave, but nothing much beyond that. FFG finally mustered up the courage to approach me because she wanted to tell me about a nearby grocery store that sold pre-made Filipino food on the weekends. I’m convinced that as my FGG, she totally knew that adobo is my most favorite food in the whole world!
After eight long, adoboless years, I finally popped into the Phillippine-Oriental store last Sunday at about 4pm. Sadly, there was no adobo smell wafting in the air. In fact, all of the prepared food was sold out. The exceptionally kind owners must have seen the sadness in my eyes because they offered me two free freshly-baked ensamadas to heal my heartache. The ensamadas made me feel instantly better. Deliciously light, fluffy, and sweet—a nice change from the more buttery ensamadas I grew up with in Hawaii.
I quickly learned that the prepared food is available Wed – Sunday, from 12pm – 2pm. I knew I’d be back in a week.
Fast forward to this weekend. Not only did I get the adobo, but also a container of everything else they had. I can’t remember all the names, but I do remember sinigang (meat and vegetables cooked in sour broth), ham hock, pinakbet, and of course, a free ensamada. The large container of each dish runs $5.50. Not bad at all!
I am happy to report that everything I tried was delicious! Mr. Chow loved it too!
The sinigang was flavorful, with a nice variety of eggplant, potatoes, and green beans. And not too oily.
The ham hock had a nice sweet and sour broth that was fabulous mixed with rice. I mostly just ate the sauce, rice, and whatever vegetable was mixed in the sauce, as there wasn’t much meat on the ham hock. If anyone knows how to eat this dish, please let me know!
The pinakbet was full of kabocha (pumpkin), okra, green beans, and other fabulous vegetables. Yum!
And of course, the adobo was tender, with the perfect balance of salty and tangy. My only complaint is that the adobo wasn’t saucy enough. I could live off of adobo sauce and rice!
Here is another unnamed yet colorful and delicious chicken dish:
I will definitely be back to this Arlington gem. I highly recommend you check it out too….just don’t wait eight long years like me. 🙂
3610 Lee Hwy
Arlington, VA 22207
Prepared foods available Wed – Sun, noon – 2pm