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Polynesian Potluck: Palayok serves tasty Filipino fare

palayok

Photos by Stephanie Tann

Have you noticed the growing number of Polynesian-inspired restaurants in Plano? Over the past year, a variety of locally owned and chain restaurants have popped up on the red-hot Plano food scene. We asked a Filipino friend to join us on our quest to find the best.

Palayok is tucked inside the Legacy Food Court, located in an end-cap space near the Jusgo Supermarket on Legacy and 75.

You might wonder what “Palayok” means. In Tagalog, the Austronesian language spoken in the Philippines, it means “pot,” and is a reference to the round-bottomed, wide-mouthed traditional Filipino cooking pot.

Because everything was unfamiliar to us, our friend did the ordering. Palayok offers a great dine-in special: Two items with rice for $7.95. Between the three of us, we ordered nearly everything.

This approach worked well because, as our friend explained, most Filipino get-togethers are potluck-style meals. Each friend or family member brings a dish to contribute to the overall meal.

Filipino food is heavily influenced by Spain and Asia. While many food items might sound familiar—adobo, egg rolls —they are prepared in a very distinctive manner.

We spread everything across the table, but had a short “how to eat Filipino” lesson before digging in. Rice was the first item on the plate. It serves as the base item for all meals, including breakfast. The sauce from everything else is then used to “dirty the rice,” in essence to add flavor which is why each dish is served with ample sauce, including the roasted meats.

palayok-filipino-plano

Our feast included:

  • Monggo (Mung) Bean–this dish is very similar to southern-style black-eyed peas. It wasn’t a surprise to learn it is a traditional dish served at New Year.
  • Beef Egg Roll–the egg roll is shaped like a flauta. The beef was tender and flakey but didn’t have an overwhelming flavor. It was perfect dipped in any of the sauces.
  • Chicken Adobo–this is a staple dish in the Philippines. Rather than having a spicy sauce, it is made with vinegar and soy sauce. It was slightly tangy, tender and incredibly delicious.
  • Apritada–stew-like, with chicken, chickpeas, potatoes and bits of tomatoes. This was hearty and satisfying. Just what you’d want on a cold day.
  • Sinigang–our friend called this the ultimate Filipino comfort food and we understood why. Pork, slightly soured with tamarind and vinegar, is simmered with eggplant and green beans. The flavor was unique and addictive.
  • Lechon–roasted pork. You haven’t had roasted pork until you’ve had lechon. It’s a must-order.

We finished with a Halo Halo, the classic Filipino dessert. The name is Tagalog for “mix mix” or “mixed together.” It’s the perfect way to describe Halo Halo—honestly. It’s as though the fridge and pantry were cleaned out and mixed together—custard, bean paste, corn, Ube ice cream (a lavender purple color), sweetened condensed milk, mango, white beans, yam and lychee are all tossed together in a dessert cup with smooth shave ice.

It’s not something I would normally order. Both Steve and I thought it was one of the most unusual desserts we’ve ever eaten, both in texture and flavor. But strangely, everything worked together. We encourage you to give it a try. Halo Halo has a cult-like following.

Good to Know

  • Check their Facebook page for changes in operating hours
  • Special pricing for to go meals
  • The menu changes, so call ahead if you want a particular dish
  • Lechon is only available Friday-Sunday, when you can order it to eat in or takeout by the pound

 

Palayok

Hours:

  • Tues.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Sun.: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: Asia World Food Court | 240 Legacy Dr., Ste. 308-J Plano, Texas 75023

More: 972.527.8646 | facebook.com/thePALAYOK

Shannah Haley & Steve Stoler

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