'So Sarap': Filipino Street Food Favorites Invade New York City

Craving for balut in NYC?
Photo/s: Courtesy of So Sarap

Food carts filled with Filipino street food favorites popped up in New York City in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, bringing a taste of home to locked down Pinoys in the concrete jungle where dreams are made of.

So Sarap NYC begs to differ itself from past attempts of neighborhood restaurants by actually serving sorbetes, taho, balut, and binatog, among others, by how it's really done: freshly served atop karitons that roam around the city. 

Each serving is nostalgic at best, especially for migrant Filipinos longing for a homecoming.

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"We wanted to bring the whole experience so we built the kariton, the sorbetero cart, and we brought the taho container from the Philippines. My dad and lolo used to be street vendors so we grew up around the culture in the Philippines. Naisip namin, why not bring it over to the U.S.?," So Sarap's Kuya Dexter said.

The team said they don't wanna "Americanize" the food, their intention is to make the experience as authentic as possible not just for Filipinos, but also for people of other nationalities that have yet to try and discover Pinoy street food culture. 

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"There's so many other non-Filipinos that have not experienced [something like this]..Because in NYC with hundreds of different nationalities and ethnicity, people are more curious to try different tastes," Sebastian Shan, the only co-owner who is not of Filipino descent said. 

So Sarap partnered with Manhattan-based coffee shop Kabisera, famed for serving Filipino delicacies in the neighborhood, for their dirty ice cream.

"I knew there was Filipino presence in New York. We just needed to get them to come out. A lot of people try to recreate everything but I feel like the one thing we wanted to do was bring the actual authenticity,  'cause that will remind you more of home. I think that's what people miss," said Shan.

Watch this #SummitOriginals video for the full feature: 

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