At Lazza you’ll be served an enormous bamboo platter stacked with crisp-skinned pork, charred fish, salted egg, grilled eggplant, egg noodles and a hefty mound of rice. You will not be given any cutlery, but you will get a banana leaf to use as a plate. For $35 per person it is a preposterous and exciting amount of food.
This style of eating – called a bilao feast – is a Filipino go-to for birthdays, christenings or engagements. What you get on your platter depends on you. There are 23 dish options and you choose seven from the regular menu, with rice, fruit, salted egg, tomato and shrimp paste automatically included. Lazza’s big hitters are kare-kare (a peanut-and-oxtail stew), sisig (a sizzling plate of chopped meat dressed with citrus) and crisp pata (deep-fried pork knuckle).
For a bilao feast you need to call two days in advance. Forget and you’ll miss one of most theatrical and fun meals of your calendar year. That said, the sheer size of it probably rules it out for most people for, say, a Wednesday night meal.
But Lazza has other Filipino traditions. You’ll find bulalo (rich beef shanks stewed with bone marrow), ginisang ampalaya (bitter melon fried with egg and shrimp paste), regional specialties such as Bicol Express (a stew made with coconut, shrimp paste, pork and chilli) and various weekly specials.
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