When you walk into Nanay’s, you might as well have walked straight into a Filipino home. Since opening at the beginning of the year, this family-run joint serves traditional Filipino fare with a genuine desire to make customers happy. The employees had us sample every single dish in their cafeteria-style hot bar before choosing our meal, and after a half-hour sampling session, we finally managed to make it to our seats with heaping plates of Filipino food in tow.
There were plenty of meat-based dishes to choose from, but we decided to give the kare kare a go. This classic Filipino dish had large chunks of beef stewed in a thick peanut sauce. The dish certainly wasn't a looker, but the flavor more than made up for it. The stewing made the meat deliciously tender, and the sauce gave it a savory taste with a hint of peanut flavor. A side of bagoong, a vibrant pink fermented shrimp paste, accompanied the dish. Having a bit with each bite provided a nice briny saltiness.
Next up was nilagang baka, a beef soup with large chunks of meat and potato floating inside a rich and oily broth. While all the dishes on the table could safely be called comfort foods, this dish seemed particularly fit for the title. For those who'd rather steer clear of soup for fear of being left unsatisfied, this is a soup to change your perceptions. The slowly stewed beef let all the fat melt into the broth, giving flavor to the potato and greens in the dish.
Turning off our carnivorous tendencies, we turned to the pinakbet, a primarily veggie-focused stew with a few pork bits thrown in. The selection of veggies — bitter melon, eggplant, squash, string beans, and tomato — were worth deviating from the meat dishes. The broth offered a new flavor experience created by pork broth infused with shrimp paste. It was slightly tangy and similar to a seafood-based broth, only stronger.
The most popular dish at Nanay’s, and one of the few that's cooked to order, is the skewered barbecue pork. Thin slices of pork get loaded onto a skewer and then slowly grilled while being constantly basted with a sweet and savory marinade. The extra labor makes for undeniably delicious results. The sauce was subtly sweet and there was a nice smokiness from a mild char.
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Nanay's Filipino Restaurant
2390 N Alma School Rd, Chandler