Delighting the people of Kansas City with traditional Filipino dishes, Chef Chrissy Nucum shares how she hopes to introduce her customers to new flavors.
Growing up in the Philippines, Chrissy loved helping her grandmother in the kitchen, but her grandmother wasn’t always keen on sharing her secret recipes, particularly to her famous tocino and atsara.
“My grandmother was the official maker of the atsara in our household. We were allowed to peel the papaya and grate it, but she made the pickling liquid, and we never saw the ratio. Five minutes later we’d be like ‘did you do it already? We just missed it again.’”
But after years of begging and pleading, Chrissy’s grandmother finally shared her secret.
“We’ve been trying to get the recipes out of her for the longest time, and in 2013 she finally shared them with everybody. We were like—‘THAT’S what it is!’ So now we have the recipes in a fireproof safe. It’s the first thing I’ll grab if there’s ever a fire.”
Now Chrissy’s guests have the opportunity to enjoy her grandmother’s secret recipes at her new Filipino restaurant in Kansas City, KC Pinoy.
While there are 3.5 million Filipinos in America, until the last couple of years, Filipino food was difficult to find in Kansas City, so it’s taken some time to educate people about the food and the regional differences.
Many people who do know something about Filipino food come into KC Pinoy requesting lumpia, but Chrissy doesn’t have it on the menu.
“Lumpia has kind of had its moment. I always tell people there is so much more to Filipino food. If you ask a Filipino what their favorite dish is, it will never be lumpia. I mean, it’s delicious—I’m not gonna knock it down—but it’s never that dish that takes Filipinos back to their childhood.”
Chrissy hopes guests will come in with an open mind and would be willing to explore Filipino dishes that may be new to them.
“I’ve always stood by the principle of part of the beauty of exploring a new kind of cuisine is that you keep an open mind to the whole experience. I always tell people, ‘just try it’. If you’re gonna go to our restaurant for the first time, and you think you probably will not ever go back, why not try the scariest dish on the menu?”
Address: 1623 Genessee St, Kansas City, MO 64102
To hear more of Chrissy’s story, check out Episode Two of the Open Belly podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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