The street food of the Philippines consists of small eateries called “turo turo”, which has an exact literal translation of “point point”. They’re appropriately called this because all you have to do is point out the food that you want from the wide selection in front of you. I should also add that it’s not only street food, but also popular while shopping, for the Philippines’ gigantic shopping malls and food courts are also littered with countless turo turo eateries.
Seattle’s Pike Place Market has our very own turo turo eatery in the form of the Oriental Mart and Kitchenette. Across from the big clock in the corner market building, you’ll meet the Apostol family who has been running the Oriental Mart and Kitchenette for almost 40 years.
Shop owner and founder, Mila Apastol sat and chatted with us about her shop. In 1974, Mila and her late husband, Manny started the Oriental Mart and has been catering to tourists, locals, and Pike Place Market shopkeepers and employees. Leila Rosas, one of Mila’s daughters, opened the kitchenette portion of the Oriental Shop where she serves her famous Filipino cuisine.
Everyday options include pancit (noodles), chicken or pork adobo (meat stewed in soy sauce, garlic and vinegar), and fish sinigang (sour soup with salmon). There are also several daily specials. One dish that you shouldn’t miss is the longaniza, a sweet red sausage that my mom’s native province of Pampanga is known for. In true Filipino turo turo fashion, the available meals are layed out right in front of you. While sitting on one of many stools surrounding the kitchen, point out what you want to Leila and she’ll scoop it right up for you. Every meal comes generously over a side of rice and pancit.
If you fall in love with Leila’s chicken or pork adobo, the recipe is posted on the wall and on post cards that Leila will gladly hand out. Fortunately, the front of the shop is a small grocery store and market, and Joy Mori, another daughter of Mila’s, can help find all the ingredients you need.
80+ years and still going strong, Mila along with daughters Joy and Leila will greet you with the friendly hospitality that Filipinos are known for. If you’re looking for adventurous yet approachable cuisine, you gotta hop over to the Oriental Market and give Filipino food a try.