The crispy pieces of pork belly were still sizzling when they arrived on our table at Tito Rads. The golden brown chunks were like a heart attack on a plate, but who cares about blood pressure when you’re chompin’ on a juicy piece of deep fried fat? Not the diners at the modest Woodside restaurant, most of whom hail from the southeast Asian islands themselves. The menu at Tito Rads was like nothing I had ever tasted before eating there. Despite the minor Spanish influences, the cuisine remained a culinary mystery to me. We began our meal with dessert, an avocado shake. The light green drink consisted of milk, sugar, ice and the buttery green fruit. Blend those together and you’ve got a smooth and nutty sihn to bo hearty enough for a meal in itself. Next on the table, sinigang na bangus- a soup made with milkfish and vegetables in a tamarind broth. Although there were no eyeballs or heads swimming around in our bowl, this soup was not for the faint of heart. Sour enough to make our lips pucker, the tangy flavor of the stew was contrasted by the meaty flesh of the milkfish, bones and all. Although the taste was satisfactory, my dining partner and I found it challenging to navigate our way around the tiny fish bones. After we finally finished the pungent pottage, we moved onto the main course, ginataang langka, jackfruit and shrimp sauteed in coconut milk. The meaty wedges of jackfruit that swam in a pool of creamy coconut sauce were what made this dish so interesting. The tiny shrimp however, fell short in taste as their flavor was overwhelmed by the dish’s other exotic ingredients. Tito Rads calls for another visit. Although I wasn’t blown away by our meals of choice, I was however left in awe by the unique concoctions that Filipino food has to offer. I am eager to try more of the many unusual selections on the menu.
Tito Rads Woodside/Sunnyside New York 49-12 Queens Blvd 718-205-7299