Cheap Eats

Pampanguena Inc. Is Asian (Mostly Filipino) Groceries, Take-Out, and Catering

Sisters Elsa Burger and Josie Lacsina have been

feeding the Filipino community, and others who like the cuisine, for 11 years through a business called Pampanguena Inc. This South Dade Asian grocery store also has fresh food made daily. And though it's a small

operation, the sisters keep it open six days a week and still find time

to cater events and take an active role in organizations such as the

Filipino Arts Association.

When the sisters began their Asian grocery, they familiarized themselves with items patrons would request, such as oyster sauce and

Japanese rice.

Goldilocks baked goods, which are delivered every other week,

are big sellers. But it's the

wall of rice that Elsa says will sell out by Monday (today being

Friday). The pan de sal ($3.50 for a bag of 12 rolls), which is

imported from a purveyor out of New Jersey, is also a popular item.

The vendors Pampanguena works with include Southeastern Food Supplies, High-Grow Trading Inc., Everlasting Distributors, and Phil-Am Food. Locally, Leaf Farms in Homestead provides bitter melon, long beans, and Filipino eggplant.

Pampanguena makes its mark with daily hot items and homemade frozen products such as Shanghai rolls ($30 for 26 pieces of beef spring rolls). One favorite, tocilog (or tosilog), is garlic rice with sausage (cured, marinated pork) and eggs. Kids love sinigang, a soup with a pork-based broth that is poured over rice; it's available weekdays except Wednesday. Banana rolls ($1.25), lumpia (spring roll), and boneless milkfish marinated in garlic and vinegar are available at the counter in the back of the store. There are even tables and chairs where patrons can enjoy their meal or one of the homemade desserts such as leche flan.

There is a freezer with imported fish including galunggong ($3.50 per pound), tilapia ($2.75 per pound), pompano ($4.95 per pound), and prepared variations of milkfish ($3.25 to $6.25 per pound). But if you desire catering, they can accommodate parties up to 500 with at least one week's notice. Otherwise, for reasonably sized parties, even one day is enough notice, but all catered food must be picked up.

Pampanguena Inc. Is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It's closed Wednesday.

Pampanguena Inc.
18623 SW 107th Ave., Bay #13, Miami