Among the culinary adventures in Katy Asia Town, this small space offers a unique twist on traditional dishes of the Philippines to adoring fans (case in point, a full house of families and couples on a Tuesday night). First, we asked about the name. “Patis” is fish sauce, and “toyo” is soy sauce, two essential condiments in every Filipino kitchen. A bowl of puffy shrimp chips arrived almost as soon as we sat down, and though we loved their snap-crackle-pop texture, we longed for some peanut dipping sauce. For an appetizer we ordered the one item we recognized: Lumpiang Shanghai—egg rolls, super fried to crackling crisp, rolled like cigars, and stuffed with savory pork filling, with sweet chile sauce for dipping. From the rest of the meal, we deferred entirely to waiter’s suggestions, and we weren’t disappointed. Kare-Kare features tender beef chunks stewed in creamy peanut sauce, a rich saffron color, topped with sautéed baby bok choy, eggplant slices, and green beans. A spoonful of shrimp paste adds an umami punch. Bicol Express is a spicy pork stew with thick slices of pork in rich coconut milk with shrimp-paste gravy and topped with sliced chiles. The dish is more warm than spicy, and the included fatty trimmings were a bit off-putting to novices like us. A side of sticky garlic rice proved a nice base for both stews, the very definition of comfort food. We experienced order envy as we eyed neighboring tables with platters of BBQ chicken skewers, stir-fried noodle dishes, and an impressive crispy-skinned chicharron pork shank. A next time for us is guaranteed.
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Patis & Toyo
This popular spot is a great place to try Kare-Kare beef and other traditional Filipino dishes.