UAE is home to OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers). In addition to the fact that there are 530,000 Filipinos in the UAE, our culture, tradition and especially food can be seen anywhere you go in the UAE
In UAE, you can have alcohol and pork, unlike other countries in the Middle East. Pork is a major ingredient in Philippine cuisine. When my college friend who works in KSA came to Dubai for a short holiday… I know where to take him…. La Mesa Restaurant!
When we got there, we were not sure if we should eat at La Mesa. The staff escorted us inside and showed every dish that night that made us stay and have a porky dinner.
I have never seen that much pork dishes in my life. La Mesa is a Spanish word which means table in English. Since we were colonized by Spain for 400 years, most of our words and food has a Spanish influence. The La Mesa Restaurant has tables of different Filipino pork dishes. They also have other International cuisine like Japanese, Italian, and Chinese.
Even on a weekday this restaurant is packed. I had most of their dishes, especially, pork. I started with lots of salad to cover my tummy from all the cholesterol I am about to eat. I skipped on the pizza, maki, and sushi to give way to all the Filipino dishes.
They have a live barbecue station that grills different parts of pork. The slices were so thin which is not the usual serving for Filipino pork barbecue. The Pork Sisig and Pork Igado both has the fatty pork among all the dishes that it was oily. Good thing I only took few pieces.
Most of the food is mediocre except for Kare-kare and Lechon Kawali. Kare-kare is pork or beef stew in a peanut curry with different vegetables. It is served with shrimp paste to add flavor to the dish. La Mesa’s Kare-kare is tasty as it is. The meat is so tender that it melts in your mouth. I wanted to skip rice, but because of Kare-kare, I had to eat rice with it. 🙂 Lechon Kawali is another pork dish that’s prepared and cooked overnight. Although there is no difference in the taste of Lechon Kawali, you can tell if it’s good basing it on the crispiness and the layers of flesh and fat of the pork belly. La Mesa’s Lechon Kawali has just the right amount of fat in it that you don’t have to slice off the fat before you eat it.
The desserts were a feast to a kid’s eyes. Colors violet, red, yellow and green starred the show. My friend and I shared the thinly sliced cakes I took from the buffet table. We played guess the flavor before we ate it. Even the desserts have a touch of Filipino cuisine. Green is pandan flavored cake while the violet is ube flavored cake. Too bad I was not able to try other pastries that were served. All the cakes and pastries I ate were too sweet. I had two to three bites before I can guess the flavor because sugar overpowered it.
I am rating La Mesa 3.5/5