Pampanguena Cafe Restaurant Gaithersburg Maryland

DC Flavors review of Pampaguena Cafe!

This review is from DC Flavors website:

“The food here is simply an explosion of exotic flavors.”

Pampanguena Cafe

March 17th, 2008 by jungdae

Dan and I were on a jaunt in the Gaithersburg area doing I-don’t-remember-what, but I got hungry (which is the important thing), and Dan gave me the option to eat Indian, Thai or Filipino. Since I have never tried Filipino, I decided to be adventurous and try it. Boy, what an adventure!

Atmosphere: The restaurant has a bit of a cafeteria style feel to it, with a large buffet counter where you choose your food, and some tables facing a large television showing Filipino programs. We were lucky to catch a Filipino program where lots and lots of beautiful Filipino ladies danced around the screen while a grinning Filipino man commented on their performance. The clientele was almost entirely Filipino, so if you want to get immersed in a new culture, this place is perfect. It’s cozy and unassuming and is great for a casual meal.

Service: Dan and I were talking to each other excitedly, pointing at every interesting-looking item in the buffet and speculating as to their contents, obviously looking like folks who have never tried Filipino food before. The staff and a couple of customers all joined in to tell us the best things to get and gave us encouraging smiles and pats on the back for being adventurous and trying their food. So, don’t be intimidated and head out there! Everyone will jump in to help you out.

Food: The food here is simply an explosion of exotic flavors. We tried “ukyo,” a lightly fried concoction of shredded green papaya and shrimp, that we dipped in an onion vinegar sauce. The “ukyo” is a sure hit for anyone. It’s a delicious fried pancake with just a hint of the unknown with its green papaya. So if you’re scared of trying something new, this is the item to get. It’s familiar in it’s fried goodness, and yet different enough that you can boast to yourself and your friends that you are a culinary risk taker. We also got adobo squid (perfectly tender) and tamarind fish soup (a slightly sour yet sweet soup). I was grinning from ear-to-ear at having gotten such a magnificent feast for such a small amount of money. I am such a sucker for fabulous bargains.

Summary: Cafe Pampanguena is a delicious restaurant filled with friendly staff and customers who are all eager to share their native food with you. At the low prices of the food, you can try one of everything, and you probably should. This is a place I would definitely go to again. I just wish they were located next to my work, so I could go more often.

It’s actually called “Okoy.” Thanks for the review!