Growing up in Norfolk, Fred Enriquez by no means imagined the numerous hours spent together with his mom and aunt within the kitchen of the household restaurant would encourage him to open a Philippine meals joint of his personal sooner or later. The indisputable fact that Fred’s childhood greatest buddy, Zack Brenner, is now certainly one of his enterprise companions in Richmond’s newest Philippine meals endeavor is one other testomony to the culinary prowess of the household’s matriarch and the restaurant’s namesake: Auntie Ning.
“My inspiration has always been the women of my family – my grandma, mother and aunties,” Enriquez says. “I’ve always been around amazing cooks all my life. Almost all the recipes are my own interpretations of what I remember my family’s cooking to be.”
Auntie Ning’s third proprietor, Justin Shaw, met Enriquez because of his then housemate, Brenner, whereas on a seaside journey to Hampton Roads. As the three turned quick pals one matter of dialog regularly arose: Why aren’t there any Philippine eating places in Richmond? After bantering in regards to the concept of opening their very own joint, they uttered the well-known final phrases: “How hard could it be?”
Auntie Ning’s started with a rented tent at a farmers market over two years in the past and has shortly grown from there. “We were giving away a lot of lumpia to get people hooked, but we got so much business we were able to scale up our operation from a tent to a food trailer to an all-in-one food truck,” Shaw recollects.
Late final month the trio took the following step on the journey in direction of a full-fledged restaurant with a brick-and-mortar pop-up at Market on Meadow within the Fan. The push for a extra everlasting location was pushed by a need to broaden the menu whereas nonetheless providing the freshest flavors potential.
“There’s a big difference in scalability between cooking all the food you want to sell and bringing it there versus being able to cook on-site for customers,” Shaw says. Decamping from Henrico County to arrange within the metropolis has additionally confirmed a boon to enterprise. “Moving to the Fan drastically increases our reach because customers can just walk in and now we can access local delivery services that only serve the city like Chop Chop and Quickness.”
While the brand new venue at Market on Meadow has expanded its enterprise, that doesn’t imply Auntie Ning’s has given up on its meals truck. From Bryan Park to Carytown to the Veil, the three gents placed on a stunning variety of meals truck pop-ups along with their opening hours on the new Fan location, that are 4-9 p.m. on daily basis however Tuesday. However, juggling the calls for of two areas hasn’t meant any compromises on their meals’s freshness or taste.
Auntie Ning’s constant high vendor is the lechon kawali, a pillar of Philippine meals tradition that includes juicy slices of pork stomach Enriquez slow-cooks for twenty-four hours earlier than flash frying them so each bit comes out extremely crispy. The lechon features a garlic fried rice that packs a punch and, as with all of the entrees on the menu, it comes with two lumpia. Those searching for an additional heft to their meal ought to order the breakfast bowl so as to add two over straightforward eggs to the dish.
Shaw’s present favourite and a brand new providing to the menu is the kalderata, a beef stew left to simmer in a single day with tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes. “It’s a very hearty meal and I’ve never seen it anywhere else in Richmond,” Shaw notes. “Given that there’s next to no Filipino food here, everything we offer is pretty much one of a kind in town.”
While a few of the dishes use the very same recipe handed right down to Enriquez by his mom, Ning, others have supplied him the chance to experiment and stretch the boundaries of conventional Philippine delicacies. “The one thing that is closest to my mom’s and aunt’s recipe is the beef lumpia,” Enriquez says. “The lechon and veggie lumpia are less traditional and more of my own design.”
Where will Auntie Ning’s boundary-pushing head chef take the restaurant’s menu subsequent? It could possibly be in a reasonably un-Philippine course for a land recognized for pork’s close to common presence.
“As far as possible new recipes, I plan on creating more vegan dishes,” Enriquez says. “Veganism is very new to the Philippines, but I think it translates well. I think most Filipino dishes would be delicious if made vegan.”
719 N. Meadow St.