First Filipino restaurant“Filipinské Bistro” opens in Prague
Food is an important topic for everyone, especially Filipinos when they travel abroad. I remember whenever my parents and I would travel abroad or move to another country, one of the first questions would be “May Pinoy store (or restaurant) ba dito?” (“Is there a Filipino store or restaurant here?”) No matter where we are in the world, it’s always a comfort to know that there is a piece of home abroad. When I heard that a Filipino restaurant finally opened in Prague, I was overjoyed. Even though I dabble at being an occasional cook at home, preparing a few Filipino favorites — with the opening of “Filipinské Bistro” I would now be able to enjoy other Filipino dishes that I miss. My passion for food started in my province, when I was hunting birds by ‘tirador’ (Filipino sling shot) in Manila and continued with my experience [working at a] Korean restaurant I had the opportunity to speak to Eden Pohan, who is not only one of the faces behind Filipinské Bistro. An aspiring entrepreneur, Eden is from Gutalac, Zamboanga del Norte in Mindanao. As a child, she was mostly helping with rice planting in the mountains. After her studies, she moved to Manila with a younger sister to work and help support the family. While in Manila, Eden gained experience in the food industry, working at a Korean restaurant, as well in administration. Her sister met her future husband from the Czech Republic, and it was then that Eden’s destiny was tied to the country. She met her husband, Ondřej and the Czech Republic became her new home. In this interview, Eden talks about her background and passions that have contributed to the successful opening of the business. How long have you been living in Prague? I have been living in the Czech Republic for 11 years already. When I came here, I had to start again from scratch, as I had done when I went to Manila from my province. Step by step, I started to develop and learn new skills, and after 11 years here, I can say that I experienced managing businesses, while living a happy life with my husband, Ondřej who has supported and taught me about businesses as well. What are your passions? Have you always been passionate about food? My passion for food started in my province, when I was hunting birds by ‘tirador’ (Filipino sling shot) and continued with my experience [working at a] Korean restaurant in Manila — where I learned to love kimchi and the Korean style of food. But now, I am proud to be one of the faces of the first authentic Pinoy kitchen in Prague. Yes, I was very happy to find out that a Philippine restaurant finally opened here. Nakakamiss ang lutong pinoy! Congratulations! When did “Filipinské bistro” officially open? Walang anuman! The first authentic Filipino bistro was mainly the idea of my husband who loves the Filipino people and culture as well. My husband is actually the one who opened Filipinské Bistro with his business partners in November last year. I am helping and supporting the idea because I can see that we are really missing a Filipino restaurant here. What was your inspiration behind opening “Filipinské Bistro”? The background of this food project [was brought about by a] wider inspiration for promoting Filipino culture in the Czech Republic, because we are sure that locals, as well as Filipinos, can benefit from it. Soon, we would like to organize bigger events under the brand, “Pinoy Club” — to present Filipino culture, food, and talent here. What kind of Filipino specialities can customers expect at the restaurant? The locals have started to love our Adobo immediately. Maybe it even reminds them of their favourite food, such as goulash. Of course, Filipinos are mostly craving dishes like Siopao and Sinigang. I am surely one of them! :) Since the restaurant’s opening, how has the feedback been so far? What are the “best-selling” dishes? Besides Adobo, the bestsellers are Pork Siomai, Siopao Asado and of course other variations of Pancit. These dishes are on our standard menu. Our idea is to present new dishes of authentic Filipino cuisine every week. Thanks to the good work of our Executive Chef, Veronica Macko, also from Mindanao and her team of chefs — Topher, Dario and Alvin. What are your prospects for “Filipinské Bistro” in the future (post-pandemic)? Do you have plans to open a second branch? Of course, post-pandemic will bring more opportunities to develop our gastronomy project. We now have a successful model of one branch with all the necessary manuals and processes. We recently opened another kitchen for the large production of siomai, siopao and other products to distribute via online delivery services all over the Czech Republic. In the near future, we would also like to open a signature Filipino fine dining restaurant and of course other bistros in the Czech Republic. At the same time, we are establishing businesses with the retail of alcohol and food products straight from suppliers in the Philippines. I surely invite ‘kababayans’ and locals to visit Filipinské Bistro, and I applaud Eden and her husband for helping to further promote Filipino culture and food in the Czech Republic. It is truly inspirational to see what an idea, hard work and perseverance can achieve. Mabuhay ang mga Pilipino!