by Clay Williams
In search of authentic Filipino food? Bed-Stuy probably isn’t where you’d expect to find it, but Umi Nom, which opened three years ago on Dekalb Avenue, delivers just that. Just down the block from Pratt Institute and across the street from the Lafayette Gardens houses, Umi Nom serves creative but authentic Filipino fare in a laid-back setting. Its affable chef, King Phojanakong, a native New Yorker of Filipino and Thai parentage, sets the tone with his quiet, friendly demeanor and his own delicious take on family recipes. Earlier this year, chef King was gracious enough to allow me in his kitchen to photograph his team at work.
King uses the skills he learned a the Culinary Institute of America to recreate the foods he ate as a child during summers with his mother's family in the Philippines.
Pepe works the wok and saute stations.
One of Umi Nom's best known dishes is the stir fried manila clams.
Another favorite on the menu is the pork belly adobo, which takes hours of prep time before it makes it to the table.
Adobo is a traditional preservation method using soy sauce and vinegar, along with aromatics for flavor.
Slabs of pork belly, straight from King's provider in Chinatown.
The pork is briefly simmered before going in the oven.
The pork braises through most of the evening's service.
Chinese sausage with sticky rice and chili garlic sauce.
For the evening's orders, slices of cooked pork belly from a previous batch are grilled to get a crisp exterior.
Once off the grill, Lupe slices and plates the pork before it heads to the table.