Yes, yes, and more YES. Mata’s Philippine Cuisine, better known as Mata’s Carinderia at Tampa’s PhilFest, is home to the best sisig in the city. If you don’t know what it is, you’re missing out. The dish is typically made with pork jowls, ears, and liver, and can be topped with a fried egg. It’s seasoned with some variety of calamansi, onions and chili peppers.
Mata’s grand opening is set for October 25 from 11am-8pm at 4350 West Waters Avenue, Suite 102.
Teased dishes include Bibingka, a rice cake eaten during Christmastime in the Philippines that is topped with salted duck eggs, kesong puti, and sugar and brushed with butter.
Halo Halo is also on the menu and ohmygodyesplease. The frozen treat is made with crushed ice, evaporated milk, and flavoring like sweet purple ube. It’s almost too pretty to devour.
The main event is the restaurant’s revered lechon kawali. Savor crispy pork belly deep-fried in a pan and seasoned beforehand, cooked then served chopped into pieces. Cover it in sauce and dig in.
Need more local gem inspiration? Tostones Inc., home of the exceptional jibarito (plantain sandwich), just opened a second location. Michelle Faedo’s Tampeno Cuisine is also set to open a new location in downtown Tampa.
If you’re looking for something tasty on the go, we recommend you visit Forbici and Slice Joynt in Hyde Park Village. The Roman-style pies are divine.