In the Philippines, a karenderia (or carenderia) is a roadside eatery serving affordable comfort. According to Sydney Cebu Lechon’s Will Mahusay – a champion of Filipino cuisine in Sydney – his Blacktown eatery is the first proper karenderia in Australia.

Just like in the Philippines, there’s no menu here. The day’s offering – which is prepped before service and available until sold out – consists of ulam (main dishes) including chicken adobo (tangy braised chook); and a tomato-based stew with slow-cooked beef called caldereta. Sides include house-made longganisa (sweet pork sausage) and sinigang, a sour tamarind-based soup.

But Mahusay’s lechon is the main attraction, just as it was at the original, now-closed Sydney Cebu Lechon in Enmore. The dish – rolled and roasted pork belly with plenty of crunchy crackling – is served with rice, achara (pickled papaya) and sawsawan, a vinegar and garlic dipping sauce that cuts through the richness of the meat.

Desserts are a pillar of Filipino cuisine, and here you’ll find Halo-halo, an elaborate layered dessert of shaved ice topped with jellies, fruit, sweet beans, leche flan, milk, ice-cream and ube (purple yam).

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Updated: October 6th, 2023

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