Bad Saint Is the Most Popular Filipino Restaurant in America — Halo Halo

Bad Saint Is the Most Popular Filipino Restaurant in America — Halo Halo


– Okay, here we have adobo sugpo. Whole prawns covered in black garlic. – [Francesca] Okay, thank you. – [McGraw] Oh my god. – Yo! Bad Saint first opened
in DC’s Columbia Heights neighborhood in 2015. The restaurant’s namesake
was inspired by the first Filipino settlement in the United States, Saint Malo, Louisiana. And that inspiration speaks to their food. It reflects the owners’
experiences as Americans, and allows them to honor
their Filipino roots by highlighting lesser
known regional dishes. Bad Saint doesn’t take reservations, so each night, hopeful
diners begin lining up as early as 2:30 in the afternoon, and wait until the restaurant
begins service at 5:30p.m. I’m with my new friend Don. He’s the first person in line today. How does that feel? – Oh man, it feels great. We got here around 2:30p.m., 2:45p.m. – You seem prepared, have
you done this before? – At least about 100 times. Most of the time I do it for friends, and sometimes I do it for myself. I have people come from
London, Yugoslavia, the Middle East. How familiar are you with Filipino food? Before eating at Bad Saint. – Oh not at all. I had the noodles with mushrooms. It was a spicy dish. I’m not really a noodles guy, and I don’t like mushrooms. The way that they sauteed the mushrooms almost tasted like it was meat. I think that was a vegetarian meal. It was really awesome. – Cool, thank you so
much for talking to me. – No problem. I mean, we’ll keep talking
’cause we’re in this line. I mean, for me, I think Bad
Saint was the first time I heard people lining
up for Filipino food, and I thought that was a really big deal and I was like, “What, that’s crazy.” How did the concept of
Bad Saint come to be? – What you experience
as Bad Saint is really sort of an amalgam of
chef’s vision and love for Filipino food and his interest
in really highlighting regional cuisine, but
also highlighting his own personal experiences with Filipino food. – It’s very intimate, and that’s one of the
first things you notice. How many seats do you have here? – [Genevieve] 24. – 24? – Even though it’s so
tiny, and even though a restaurant of this size
might not have appeal to somebody else, but I
think what we took away from it when we first saw it
was that it felt really homey. We wanted to convey that
sense of that special Filipino brand of hospitality. – Yeah, I really relate to
going to someone’s house, and you have to clarify,
“Wait, are we related or not?” ‘Cause you’re not sure
and it feels like home. – We really thought very
carefully about, like, how do you translate the
warmth and the generosity of being hosted in someone’s
home to a restaurant setting? On any given evening, at
least half the dining room has literally never had
a bite of Filipino food in their lives. To be feeding people, some
people, their first bites of Filipino food, I feel
like it’s such an honor and a privilege. So we try to make it as demystifying and
approachable as possible. (people chattering) Right now it looks like I
won’t have anything for two until about 8:45, 9:15p.m. – Genevieve just started seating people and it’s already pretty packed, and there’s still people lining up and people waiting to hear the times that they’re gonna sit down. (upbeat string instruments) – [Genevieve] Right here. 31 open. (pan scraping) – Okay, so next up. This is the piniritong alimasag. So these are soft shell crabs. They’re Chesapeake Bay blue crabs. The sauce that they’re in
is a spicy crab fat sauce with lime and cilantro. In different dishes you see
traces of chef’s history. This is definitely a
dish from a Maryland kid, but not just crabs, like soft shell crabs. Half the city goes insane when
it’s soft shell crab season. – The crab fat for me was a breakthrough. When I went to the Philippines last year, I had no idea that it was a delicacy from my dad’s hometown. – Yeah, I didn’t know that either. So you had it in the Philippines and then did you automatically
know that you wanted to start using soft shell crab? How did you come up with this? ‘Cause I think it’s a
really good representation of you. – Well, you know, soft shell
crabs are seasonal around this time, and being from Maryland, I love crabs. I eat it every year, so I wanted to do something
besides crab cakes, which everyone does in the city, I think. I told myself I need to
find a way to make this back at home. I want to show the whole
world that this is what regional Filipino food is. – I mean, if you don’t
like soft shell crabs, can we be friends? No, no. Do you go to the
Philippines a lot as a kid? – No, I did not. Last year was my first time going. Yeah, it was a mind-blowing experience. – That’s crazy. – I’ve never been on a 20 hour flight. As soon as you get off that plane, there’s Filipinos everywhere. I remember just going to a roadside area and just eating food, eating
lechon, or eating tilapia, with calamansi, the fact
that you’re learning their way of life. I was born in Olongapo City. I’ve never been to Bacolod, never been to Cebu,
never been to Pampanga. I’ve always wanted to
know what kind of food they were cooking, and my mom was my chef, so she trained me in the Filipino palate. That’s my go-to when I’m
looking for new recipes. – Alright, here we have adobo sugpo, whole prawns covered in black garlic. – Um, I’m sharing this meal with my crew because I like to keep them fed. This is McGraw and Scotty,
which you already saw. Since you guys had to watch me eat, you get to watch McGraw eat. You have those for breakfast? – Oh my god. That’s amazing. Can I feed you? – [Scotty] No. – [Francesca] Oh, please. – Do not. – [Francesca] Yeah. You guys, this restaurant
is all about family. – That was good though. – The shell’s good. I don’t mind eating the shell at all. – [Francesca] Oh yeah, you
could also eat the shell. – This is braised chicken
with coconut, turmeric, ginger, and chilis. – [Francesca] What is the
most important ingredient to this dish? – I think it’s the palapa. The palapa is this native
condiment that they use in Maranao cooking. It’s just toasted coconuts
with a lot of chilis. The Mindanao palapa has sakurab, which is their native garlic, and here we have spring garlic which is in season right now, actually. So we use that. I think the palapa is what
makes it very Maranao, and also using a lot of
turmeric, lemongrass, which you will find a lot in the south. It’s so close to Malaysia and Indonesia. – [Francesca] And the chilis too. I think spicy food isn’t as common. – [Tom] The Thai chiles that we get here is our version of the labuyo chiles you find back at home. (gentle pulsing) (soft piano) – This is the piaparan na manok. Manok in Tagalog means chicken. This is kinda like a curry. So I’m gonna get a lot of sauce. And this is really spicy actually. Did you always know that you
wanted to cook Filipino food? – I did not know that. – Did it just kinda happen? – I kinda gave up on culinary school. I was learning more
working at restaurants. That’s pretty much how I got my start. It was my mom that actually
introduced me to this food four years ago. She just wrote some recipes for me and was like, “Hey, I have a
recipe for kare kare dinuguan “and I’m passing it down to you.” So for me it just was like wow. It’s a big deal, ’cause my mom is the
head cook of our family. – Hearing that, what
challenges do you meet continuing to push
yourself with these dishes? – Well, most challenging myself, and Genevieve also helps
me challenge myself. She’s always pushing me
to make a vegetarian dish that’s Filipino, and
it’s got to be Filipino. It’s gotta have ingredients,
it’s gotta be somewhere regional, it’s gotta have a Filipino name. The radish dish, the labanos, with burnt coconut crema, pistachio. I was watching videos on the internet, watching people from
Maranao burning coconuts on the streets. They would just blend it, and then they would use it as a marinade for the chicken, lamb, and it would just give off this really dark, soup
looking nilaga, beef nilaga. And I thought that was pretty awesome, ’cause I’ve never seen
anything like that before. So we tried it here, and it’s amazing. The color is of the burnt coconut with the cream, and then pistachios, the texture is sweet,
sort of earth, chocolatey. It’s vegetarian. It’s awesome. (gentle harp and flute) – Holy (beep). One thing I notice about Bad Saint’s food is that there’s a flavor
there that is very familiar, even though the dish
doesn’t look like something I remember or something that I know. When you hear that people are
lining up for Filipino food, how does that make you feel? (Tom laughs) – It makes me feel… I’m sure my mom would be proud of me. It’s all because of her. She passed away four years ago
before the restaurant opened, and if she would have seen this today, she’d be so, so proud of me. I want Filipino food to
always be the best version of itself. We’ve only scratched the surface here.

100 Replies to “Bad Saint Is the Most Popular Filipino Restaurant in America — Halo Halo”

  1. You're doing really really great 🙂 then the nails of the chicken paa shows up it killed me T_T
    mete tamu ken jo 🙁 pagtisti daka reng Kapampangan, mga dipaningalti ka kung makanyan ing lutu mu keni.

  2. I'm curious what's behind this chicken feet nails. I want to know the story of it. Filipinos eat chicken feet but no nails! We trimmed it undoubtedly before cooking it. I hope i get an explanation why they did not trimmed it!

  3. Filipino cuisines were underrated. Adobo, Crispy Pata, Bulalo, Sinigang, Laing, Ginataang Alimango, Tinolang Manok, Kare-kare, Lechon.. etc. Sarap!

  4. Most popular in the US?? NOT! 44 years born and raised in Cali full blooded Pinoy and never heard of this restaurant.

  5. I dined at Bad Saint and expected a long line and surely there was a long line and wait. We went early too so we were able to get it with the first group. Boy, probably some of the best food I had and everytime I go, it never fails. Hope they can move to a bigger space to solve the wait time but I dont mind the wait becasue the food is an unforgettable experience.

  6. vegetarian food… pinakbet using tofu… stir fried stribg beans with tofu… law-oy green leafy veggie soup…monggo soup with green leaves squash with minced pork or beef can be substituted with fried tofu…

  7. I’m in the Philippines but would go back to d.c. one day, hopefully soon….just for this…… can u bring this to the Philippines.?

  8. I’m so sad I was gonna come here for my birthday!!! I miss filipino food so much moving here 5 years ago was tough. But it was snowing so hard outside and we had to cancel! 😪

  9. I wish we have these kinds of resto out here in l.a., almost all of pinoy food places here only serve traditional filipino foods which I can make myself.

  10. It made me so hungry even though it's 4:30am here in New Zealand. I am going to the Philippines in May. I go to America every year for work, but when I go to Washington, DC Bad Saint is a must. Also PARK'S Finest Filipino Barbeque in Los Angeles.Cheers for the Video.

  11. Wow this is one of the most down to earth hosts you have. Reminds me a lot of Jessica Sanchez from that Zagat food show

  12. And where is the Rice, oh I forgot Filipinos dont eat rice. So this is so authentic. Except for the stir fry wok, that has CHINA all over it. The CHICKEN FEET was so digusting, NO FILIPINO would actually eat that. and they are eating on bowls. How sad. The Philippines does have a culture may not be as iconic as Mexico or Thai. but with proper RESEARCH some Filipino food can be great. But all these basturdized version, ruin the chance of fILIPINo food to be known.

  13. I love the exposure, respect, and artistry Chef Cunanan gives to the cuisines of different regions of the Philippines.

    I think most Americans who’ve had some exposure to Filipino food don’t realize how varied the food, techniques and even some ingredients can be. It seems the majority of the Filipino restaurants out here in the San Francisco Bay Area serve the same, typical dishes. It’s sad that the more indigenous dishes don’t get a lot of exposure.

  14. Filipino food is so underrated. I will eat sinigang, sisig, adobo and pinakbet and a whole lot more over fast food ^_^ I guess it helps that even the poor have very good access to raw produce since Market is everywhere even illegally squatting on the streets. I guess I just really happy people are starting to appreciate our food Hahahah

  15. Awesome representation of Filipino Food. Push mo yan teh. 😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😆😆😆😀😀😀😀😀😁😁😀😀😀😆😆😆😆😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗Love love love

  16. To all filam is really important to learns ur culture and language. Its sad to see a lot filam don’t even know their native language no more. I get it the old generation Filipino are hardcore white wash🤷‍♂️

  17. OMG… the nails on that chicken foot were not removed. That's a big no no even for Filipino home cooking. And that's a mortal sin when committed in a restaurant.

  18. I really really love watching your channel and i love the way of your hosting! Its so natural and wacky at times 🙂 Keep it up! 🇵🇭

  19. The chicken foot still has the kuko (nails)! (7:50) My family used to cut the tip of the "toes?" (or are they fingers?) Thanks for the video!

  20. I was watching the other episode in LA and I realize why an older Filipina lady didn't like Bad Saint. She probably wanted unadulterated traditional Filipino food.

  21. Yeah this is my first time seeing a filipino chef with a different accent (aussie or british) cooking mindanao cuisine. Maybe his mom was from mindanao maybe.?

  22. Food might be good but there is no such thing as bad saint as a restaurant name. You give saint a bad name. Sounds like that bon jovi song. Just an opininon. No haters please , love filipino food.

  23. 2:45 omg, I swear my lola and lolo have a picture that looks exactly like that black and white one on there.

  24. That shredded coconut sauteed with some chillies and garlic is a Maranao dish from Mindanao. I tried it and tastes so good. It is like a condiment. if you add it to any type of dish, you will be blown away.

  25. That’s very cool, and not to take away from them, but they’re having a long line because they only have seats for 22

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