Crispy Pata In Vegas!

There are  two types of Filipino restaurants — sit-down, and the more common turo-turo , or fast-food buffet. The Fiesta Filipina Restaurant in Henderson, Las Vegas is both. You can choose  your combo meal from their fixed, pre-cooked selection, or from their made-to-order menu board. Crispy pata is a popular dish that is made of pork hocks or knuckles that comes crispy on the outside and scrumptious succulent on the inside. It is dipped into a special sauce of soy or vinegar — or both.  Because of its method of preparation, crispa pata is usually not part of fast-food menus, so it was a delight to see it on the restaurant’s menu board.

My friend Besi (whom I have not seen for 25 years since we both left the Philippines), and who now lives in Las Vegas, took me to Fiesta Filipina, assuring me that they had the best crispy pata in town.  They sure did, and it compares well to the crispy pata served at top restaurants in the Philippines. Along with this pork dish, I ordered sauteed monggo (mung bean) and lumpiang shanghai, the tiny Filipino eggrolls many are familiar with.  The monggo was great and tasty, and was topped with my favorite chicharon (pork rinds). The  lumpia was not as crispy as I would like it to be, although that wasn’t a surprise since it was part of their pre-cooked fast-food menu.  Like most eggrolls, lumpiang shanghai is best consumed straight out of the fryer.

Fiesta Filipina is the third restaurant I’ve been to in my week in Las Vegas and I would say  it would receive the most number of stars as far as the quality and variety of their food offering, considerably enhanced by their made-to-order  selection. They also sell a good selection of Filipino snacks, delicacies and baked products. Sitting at a table in their dining area creates the atmosphere of a rural Philippine setting because of their interior decor, although the blasting sound of the Filipino television variety show coming from their big-screen monitors was a little distracting.  For my next visit, I will most likely try their lechon manok, or roasted chicken, often sold by sidewalk vendors in the Philippines.

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