A Taste of the Philippines
Review by Susan Pretty, Photos by Paul Krasauskas
Lasa is a new Filipino homebased food business that recently came on the scene, and it’s no coincidence that its name, “lasa,” translates to “taste.”
“Filipinos love to cook and eat. It’s like our love language. Coming to Thunder Bay we missed our local dishes and we tried to recreate them by using the ingredients available to us,” says owner Cristina Enriquez. “During parties or any special occasions, we would bring some food and people gave us positive compliments. Then the idea of selling came to mind. It started with friends and co-workers and then we eventually decided to open it to the public on October 1, 2022 as a home-based, madeto-order food business.”
Enriquez’s husband also helps out in the kitchen. “Our menu includes a variety of noodle and rice dishes, frozen and cooked meat items, baked breads, desserts, and other Filipino delicacies, which can all be found on our Facebook page.”
Filipino cuisine is not typically hot and spicy, and the Lasa menu is full of fresh vegetables such as cabbage, celery, and bok choy, with plenty of coconut and an abundance of seafood. Their perfectly seasoned stir-fried noodles with chicken and mixed vegetables (called “pancit”) comes in a different array of sizes to feed any number of famished folks. And don’t forget an order of spring
rolls—tightly wrapped and crispy, this little appetizer is filled with ground meat, carrots, onion, and a certain seasoning that is oh so good! Maja blanca, a coconut milk pudding with corn kernels, is a Filipino delicacy, and the leche flan was a smooth operator with a caramel syrup soaked in. But the showstopper here is the ensaymada—perfectly pillowysoft buns with a sweet butter frosting and (here’s the kicker) a salty Filipino cheese grated lovingly on top. This savoury-sweet combo works like an absolute charm, and one simply has to try it to believe it.
This dynamic duo considers cooking their native dishes a literal “stress reliever” from regular life. “We believe that our talent is God’s gift to us and what we do with it is our gift back to God,” she says. “We are also very grateful and overwhelmed with how our dishes reach across cultures and getting some love and appreciation back overwhelms us.”