[ Note : This is one of the few times our favorite Kinoy is not a person but a business / social entity, thanks for reading ! ]
IF THE profit motive is the sole reason for opening a business that targets your kabayan clientele, then you will probably, in the long run, be disappointed. Razor-thin margins on inventory, searching for a thousand-and-one items to keep customers happy, and an extra eye peeled for those extra-strict best-before and use-before expiry dates that Asian preserves are known for : it’s definitely a labor of love.
That’s why it takes a special kind of kabayan who’s able to combine both service and entrepreneurship, just like the people behind Filipino Mart and its newest branch in Lower Hutt Wellington.
Lest you think that this is a (paid) endorsement of the said establishment, we’ve never met formally the owners Keith and Rosita Turner, and have only met the store manager Ms Wynda Balmadrid in passing. In fact they don’t even know us, and it’s probably just as well, as we prefer to be one of the many anonymous admirers of their shop.
They carry an impressive range of products, specializing in Filipino wares that you won’t find on the supermarket shelf down the street or in the mall, and go as far as to peddle bagoong, bangus, tocino, longganiza, even ingredients you might need for dinuguan and kare-kare. They have the complete line of sauce mixes for all the popular Pinoy dishes like adobo, sinigang, kaldereta and afritada. The lineup of brands and packages for chichirya or Pinoy snacks is both colorful and up-to-date. As it should be.
The prices are of course a bit higher than those you’d find on similar products in the mainstream supermarkets but that’s because they go the extra mile to import these goods to Pinoy consumers who miss them terribly. Each slurp of tangy sinigang reminds you of monsoon evenings back home, each spoonful of rice and adobo reminds you of all those lunches in the Makati grind. And each slice of mango (if you can find it) served with a dollop of bagoong saves you from the wrath of your pregnant wife, who can’t sleep until she gets her mangga and bagoong.
I could go on and on but really, it would be much better if you just visited them here in 231 High St Lower Hutt, or in Johnsonville if you’re nearer. I would say enjoy yourself kabayan but I already know you will!