Photo of a Styrofoam container filled with pancit, rice, and stir-fried veggies.

Grab a ‘Bite of Pinoy’ — Filipino Food and Culture in the South End This Saturday

by Ronnie Estoque

On Saturday, Aug. 21, “Bite of Pinoy” (BoP) will be occurring at Rainier Playfield (3700 South Alaska Street) from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event will feature food vendors such as Filipino Styled Peanuts, Mekenie Pampangga’s Special, and Hungry for Grace. 

The main organizers behind BoP include Tootsie Borromeo and Jon Madamba both of Jack N Poy Productions and VXVIII Events. Other organizers who have helped this event become a reality for the community include Bel Borromeo, Rein Angeles, Aileen Angeles, Francis Halili, and Rowena Halili.

Tootsie and Madamba had sought an opportunity to bring the Filipino community together due to the annual Pista sa Nayon festival being hosted on a virtual platform this year. They initially struggled to find a venue for the event, but when the City of Seattle reached out to find food vendors for their annual Big Day of Play event, the “Bite of Pinoy” was born as a collaborative effort.

“It is so important to have events such as this not only to expose and exchange cultural ideas among different cultures but also to bridge the gap between generations amongst the Filipino community,” Tootsie said.

Both Tootsie and Madamba hope that BoP can become a platform for future events that will allow them to continue to share Filipino culture with the local community.

“It is important that younger generations get connected with each other through food, through our culture, through our music, through art, and many more that makes up the Filipino culture,” Madamba said. “We have such a beautiful and colorful culture that ‘Bite of Pinoy’ is such a perfectly amazing message and platform to bring different generations together as well as bringing the community together.”

One of the food vendors for BoP is Fely Alflen, who is the owner of Filipino Styled Peanuts in Tacoma. She sees the event as an opportunity to get more connected with the local community and other Filipino business owners. She has been running her business for seven years now and heard from both Tootsie and Madamba about the opportunity to be a vendor for BoP.

“We snacked on peanuts as we weaved bamboo baskets growing up,” Alflen said. “My mom ran a small bamboo craft business, and all eight children worked together as a family.”

Alfen says that fried peanuts are a very popular snack in the Philippines with a variety of ways of making them. She says that her original flavor of fried peanuts represents Filipino culture and that the taste “really brings you back home.” 

Tootsie and Madamba also focus on organizing concerts and other events for various artists and musicians at local venues in the community. Tonight they are hosting The Jets at the Four Points by Sheraton in Des Moines at 8 p.m. The team has experience creating events that leave lasting impressions on their attendees and are optimistic about how BoP can make a positive impact on the South Seattle community.

“If we are able to give the attendees an experience that helps them better appreciate our Filipino heritage and our great city we live in, then it would have been all worth it,” Tootsie said.

Ronnie Estoque is a South Seattle-based freelance photographer and videographer. You can keep up with his work by checking out his website.

📸 Featured Image: Pancit is a popular Filipino noodle dish that is typically served alongside other food. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)

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