History made as first ever authentic Derry Filipino restaurant Bahay Kusina opens in Craft Village

History was made when Derry’s first authentic Filipino restaurant was blessed at the weekend, realising the long-time dream of local couple Joseph and Ralyn Petingco.

‘Bahay Kusina’ was launched in some style on Saturday with the proprietors roasting a whole pig in the traditional Filipino manner for the special occasion.

Joseph, who works as a nurse, told the ‘Journal’ the new eatery has very much been a labour of love for him and, particularly his wife Ralyn.

“‘Bahay’ means ‘house’ and ‘kusina’ means a ‘kitchen’ so it is a ‘house kitchen’,” he says, translating the restaurant’s name from Tagalog to English.

“It is a long time dream of my wife. Cooking is her passion. She works in the health care sector as well and she always had a dream to have a restaurant. Back home we have a restaurant. We own one.

“For a long time she has had the dream and I have no choice I have to support!” joked Joseph.

The new restaurant at 13-15 The Craft Village certainly lives up to the ‘house kitchen’ moniker with a homely atmosphere and a mouth-watering menu featuring a range of Filipino specialities.

"Sweet and sour food is famous back home. We have pork adobo [pork braised in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic in the Filipino-style], pork barbecue and then we pancit which is a traditional noodle dish.

"We have our own version of chicken curry. It is more creamy. My target client is not only Filipinos but eventually people in Derry. It's more diverse,” says Joseph.

He explains that the fare on offer often combines East Asian and Spanish cooking-styles due to the colonial history of the archipelago. “The food is influenced by Spain,” he observes.

Ralyn and Joseph are originally from Mindanao, the southern-most island of the Philipines but have been living in the North West for more than 20 years.

“I've been in Limavady since I came in 2001 and my daughter was born here in Derry,” he says.

The couple originally applied for the premises some time ago and they are very pleased to be off the ground at last.

"It's an ideal location. We applied for this last February. We are delighted. It has been a long time in the planning.”

Prior to the opening of Bahay Kusina the couple were involved in a shared partnership in Belfast with Ralyn’s cousin. That business is still up and running but the commute from Limavady to Belfast was not ideal.

“This is sole ownership with myself and my wife so we start from there hopefully and the people of Derry will support us.”

The new kitchen will be open 9am to 5pm daily with the proprietors likely to close on Sundays and Mondays although that may be subject to change. Joseph and Ralyn will be employing two people full-time but will also be very much hands on with the business themselves.

Joseph hopes the new offering will be to the taste of the great Derry public and he has been encouraged by the feedback of some of his health care worker friends.

"I work with Irish and British and they have tried out our own food and they like it. We have spring roll, chicken curry, fried rice, they loved it,” he says.

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