Eating Out Filipino Style
Qatar is a country made up of expatriate residents. Almost 90% of the population comprises people from other countries, from Arab nations to Indian and Asian, American to African, and European to Antipodean. And, as is typical with expatriate communities, their customs and cultures travel with them and become part of the host country's social fabric - you don't have to look much further than the cuisine in Qatar to see what we mean.
Qatar has a vast number of eateries on offer, and the types of food available range from local fare to cuisine from nearly every corner of the world. And no wonder. Over the last 70 to 80 years, expatriates from around the globe have migrated to Qatar for work; many have stayed and made the Arab nation their home, and since we all love home-cooked food, many more have set up cafes and restaurants to serve their compatriots' tastes.
One of the largest expat groups in Qatar hails from the Philippines. In fact, 11% of the population (approximately 250,000) are of Filipino descent. So, it should come as no surprise that Filipino restaurants are some of the most popular and prolific!
Filipino cuisine is wide and varied (from a country of over 7,000 islands, how could it not be!) and heavily influenced by the sea, Chinese and Southeast Asian flavours. However, the keen-eyed will also spot American and Spanish tastes in various dishes - a consequence of colonisation. Some of the most popular Filipino dishes include Adobo (the national dish made with chicken and pork stewed with vinegar and soy sauce), Kare-Kare (oxtail stew), Lechon (roasted suckling pig), Sinigang (sour meat or fish stew), Sisig (a sizzling pork dish made from parts of the pig's face and belly), Kaldereta (beef stew), Bulalo (slow cooked beef soup), Kinilaw (raw fish salad), Lumpia (fried spring rolls) and Pancit (noodles) or Lomi (noodle soup). Street food options include Kwek-Kwek (deep fried quails eggs), Fish Balls (deep fried flaked fish rolled into balls), Isaw (grilled chicken intestines), Adidas (grilled chicken feet) and Empanadas, to name a few.
One of the many bonuses to eating Filipino food, aside from the great variety in dishes and flavours, is that it won't break the bank; you can have a hearty meal of various dishes and taste sensations for relatively little.
So, where can you find Filipino food in Qatar? Check out our top favourite eateries below, and either get a taste of home or try one of the most flavoursome cuisines in the world:
In no particular order, here are our top pick places to sample some of the Philippines’ most iconic dishes:
With its airy interior, brightly painted maritime murals and authentic Filipino cuisine, Boracay is a favourite amongst locals, especially it’s weekend all-you-can-eat buffet and impromptu karaoke nights.
Location: Al Diffaf Street, Al Sadd
Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday, 10 am - 1 pm, Friday, 4 pm - midnight
Contact Details: +974 4412 4111
Loming Barako Qatar - Lambar
Well known for their Lomi dishes - traditional, hearty comfort food of noodles in broth, topped with meat, vegetables and boiled eggs - Loming Barako has two eateries in Doha. You can find their funky little eateries, serving all sorts of Filipino dishes, in Al Muntazah, off the Salwa Road, and in Barwa Village, Al Wakrah.
Location: Al Muntazah: Retaj Building, B Ring Road, Al Muntazah
Al Wakrah: Building 19, Barwa Village
Opening Hours: 24/7
Contact Details: +974 7000 9136
Little Manila Restaurant Doha
Little Manila Restaurant is a tiny eatery offering home-cooked, fresh Filipino food, and it happens to be the first Filipino restaurant opened in Qatar in 1988. Tastes of home, or the exotic for the uninitiated, in bright, clean, simple surroundings, typical of cafeterias from Manila, make this diner a favourite with locals of many nationalities.
Location: Al Jelaiat Street, Al Rumailah West
Opening Hours: 8 am - 10:30 pm daily
Contact Details: +974 4443 3930
Image: Barrio Fiesta
Barrio Fiesta is a chain restaurant from the Philippines that has successfully set up shop in Qatar. Big believers in food for sharing, the eatery offers plenty of platter-type dishes - some for up to twelve people. With many Filipino favourites on the menu, in a brightly decorated, Barrio-style restaurant with communal tables, it’s a great diner for social outings as well as satisfying cravings for home-style fiesta food.
Location: 3rd Floor Food Court, City Centre Mall, West Bay
Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday, 11 am - 2 am; Friday, 12:30 pm - 2 am
Contact Details: +974 4481 8843
Shore Time Kainang Pinoy
First opened in 2009, Shore Time has grown into one of Qatar’s most popular Filipino restaurant chains with five eateries across Doha. The restaurant chain serves a variety of traditional Filipino dishes using fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
Location: - 3rd Floor Food Court, City Centre Mall (+974 4412 4521)
- Filipino Souq (+974 3337 1115)
- Al Matar Qadeem Street, Old Airport (+974 3337 1114)
- Al Jazeera Street, Bin Mahmoud (+974 3337 1116)
- Grand Mall, Asian Town (+974 3343 4090)
Opening Hours: Various from 7:30 am - midnight
Contact Details: +974 4412 4521
Pinoy Fiesta - Home of Taste
Pinoy Fiesta, with its open-air terrace, hung with colourful bunting and fairy lights, buffet-style food and live entertainment, offers great Filipino food and a fantastic atmosphere. Look out for the live cooking stations during buffet evenings for an authentic Filipino party vibe.
Location: Al Mirqab Al Jadeed Street, Al Mirqab
Opening Hours: 24/7
Contact Details: +974 4475 9322
FlaminGo, serving a fusion of traditional Filipino Asian cuisine with a modern edge, is a popular modern restaurant/diner on the Salwa Road. The Asian blend food is a favourite with both Filipino locals and residents from a myriad of nations. Patrons can also get their fix of Bulalo, Sisig, Laing, Taho, and Bumbong at the Flamingo Express outlet at the Place Vendome.
Location: Salwa Road: Al Muthanna Complex, Salwa Road
Place Vendôme: Place Vendôme, Lusail
Opening Hours: Salwa:
Sunday to Wednesday, 10 am - 1 am; Thursday, 10 am – 4 am;
Friday, 7 am - 4 am; Saturday, 7 am - 1 am
Place Vendôme: 9:00 am - 12:00 am
Contact Details: +974 4423 9222
The ever-popular Max's Restaurant first opened in Manila in 1945. Now with 170 restaurants across the Philippines, North America, Canada and the Middle East, it serves, first and foremost, fried chicken, as well as a host of other celebrated Filipino dishes such as Sisig, Kare-Kare, Laing, Pancit and for the sweet tooth, Leche Flan. Diners can find two Max's Restaurants in Doha.
Location: Al Sadd: Next to the Royal Plaza Mall, Al Rabeia Street, Al Saad
B-Ring Road: B-Ring Road, Al Muntazah
Opening Hours: 10 am - 10 pm daily
Contact Details: Al Sadd: +974 4444 6297
B-Ring Road: +974 4412 6297
Main image: Shutterstock/Mariel del Rosario
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