The first Filipino and Chinese restaurant to open in Newport, Nipa Hut offers a wide range of food and drink that originated in the regions of China and the Philippines. It is a small restaurant and takeaway located on the bustling “Commercial Street”, one of the main high streets of Newport. The staff there take pride in offering excellent service to its customers and providing the best food from the Filipino culture.
Not only do they own the privilege of being the first restaurant and takeaway in Newport serving Filipino cuisine to its customers, but they also pride themselves in being one of the best takeaways in Newport, where the food can be purchased through takeaway sites such as Deliveroo and “Just Eat”.
As I arrive to partake in the lunch service, I am greeted by a casual Filipino waiter, who looked as if he was about to head out. However, he seems to be a waiter who always puts the customers first nonetheless. After I sit at the table I was shown to, my attention is drawn to the cosiness of the place.
It makes me think about what it must be like to dine here on a busy evening when the restaurant is full. Around the restaurant are ornaments that came from China/The Philippines, such as the Chinese lucky fortune cat, which looks beautiful on the display over the minute bar area.
I order the sizzling pork ‘Sisig’ with fluffy rice, to come with a can of Coca-Cola Zero. Immediately afterwards, the waitress serving me strolls over to the refrigerator in the middle of the restaurant, which displays all of the soft drinks available. She serves me the Coca-Cola Zero along with a glass of ice.
Fifteen minutes later, I am served the pork Sisig, some thinly sliced pork fried together with some thinly sliced onions and drizzled over with garlic mayo. Served in a cast iron pan, it provides the perfect sizzle for the pork, as though it is finishing its final second of cooking. A large white plate is also served alongside the Sisig, with white, fluffy basmati rice. I am given a knife and fork, as a dish such as a Sisig is not usually eaten with chopsticks.
The sizzling Sisig has a very nice aroma, the kind of aroma you would smell as you were wandering through a Filipino food market, where foods of all kinds are being cooked in front of the hungry crowds that ponder around the food stalls. The flavour combination of the succulent pork, onion and garlic is there, and it certainly feels like an infusion was happening in my mouth as I was consuming the Sisig.
The texture sometimes provides a smooth feel, but I also indicate a crunchy texture at some point, contributed by the crackling from the pork. The rice provides a nice soft texture and is a suitable side to have with the Sisig.
After I finish enjoying the dish, my plate and the cast iron pan are removed from my table, I meander up to the bar areas where I pay for my meal. I thank the kind staff for the meal and I embark from the restaurant.
It’s amazing to think that there are not as many Filipino restaurants to visit on the Western side of the UK as there are on the Eastern side of the UK (I say the Eastern side, but they are mainly in London!). It can be established that it can take some travelling to get to these restaurants if you live a few hours away from them, but for those who are eager to discover what Filipino cuisine is like, yet they have no restaurants serving this particular cuisine near them, they may find it better researching certain recipes and cooking foods such as a Sisig at home. In my opinion, this would be a lot more fun and it will not cost as much as travelling a long distance to get to any Filipino restaurant such as Nipa Hut.