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Restaurants & Bars

Benny's Oriental Foods – Filipino in Vallejo

Melanie Wong | Mar 21, 200401:57 AM    

Another small Filipino grocer, this one is hidden away in a small strip mall in a residential area. Originally named Mekeni, meaning “welcome” in Pampangan dialect, the name changed recently but the friendly service and ownership remain the same. What caught my attention the first time were the posters in the windows promoting natural casings and sausage-making supplies. Turns out that the store makes a full line of Pampangan style sausages available in the freezer case. I haven’t tried any of them, but hope someone else will and report back.

A small steam table offered rice plate lunches, $3.50 for two items. However, this has been recently discontinued and cooked foods are only available by special order from a catering menu. Some of the things I’ve tried and enjoyed -

Pancit – Salty, fermented specks dot cellophane noodles combined with a few egg noodle strands, cabbage, scrambled egg, shredded chicken, carrots, onion, freshly made with flavorful stock. Served with fresh lemon wedges. $5/lb.

Shanghai lumpia – Tiny, tightly wrapped, nicely crunchy, fried in fresh oil and well-drained.

Puchero (or putsero) - Chunks of roasted thigh meat steamed in a hot pot with fried bananas, carrots, cabbage, onions, long beans, tomatoes and lots of garlic with a slightly pungent seasoning complimented by the sweetness of banana. The orange-y oily sauce was great over hot steamed rice.

Pork belly adobo - Nice tart/sweet balance to the spicy dark vinegar-based sauce, meat is still very firm and even dry on some of the chunks, would have liked a softer texture.

Benny’s Oriental Foods
(formerly Mekeni Best Oriental Food)
324 Mini Dr.
Vallejo
707-554-9125

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