Brian Webb of Hey Joe! Filipino Street Food on a Filipino Food Trend and Maharlika Filipino Moderno in NYC
This is part two of our interview with the man behind the deep-fried barbecued eats of Hey Joe! Filipino Street Food. Today, chef and owner Brian Webb dishes on what's really inside his new Filipino steamed buns and talks about the potential for Filipino food as a culinary trend. If you missed part one, in which he shared his story from techno-paper pusher to fine dining to food truck, you can read it here.
Lauren Saria Chef Brian Webb in the driver's seat of the Hey Joe! truck
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A lot of Webb's job as chef is re-packaging traditional dishes in a more approachable way. Take the Filipino dish diniguan, for example. The well-loved savory stew of pork and usually a whole lot of offal (lungs, kidneys, intestines, snout, and other good stuff) is simmered slowly in a mixture of pig's blood, garlic, chili, and vinegar.
Call it "Pork Blood Stew" and people might not be so inclined to give it a try. Especially not off a food truck.
But if you serve it with pork belly and chicharones and call the whole thing a "Triple Pork Plate"? Well, now that sounds pretty good.
"I'm not surprised people like the food," Webb says. "It's just getting it in their mouths. People will eat a lot if you present it right."
He's got other tricks up his sleeve, too, including his newest addition to the Hey Joe! menu: steamed buns. Traditionally, kua pao are sweet off-white buns stuffed with chicken or (my personal favorite) sweet barbecued pork. Webb introduced the new dish to his menu a few weeks ago but is doing them up with a little twist.
He's stuffing the Chinese-inspired dumplings with traditional dishes like diniguan, sigsig (roughly chopped boiled, braised and fried pork head) and the more approachable, pork belly in black bean sauce.