Bethany Clough

This new restaurant has Filipino food, boba tea, purple waffles – and Spam

Yes! Waffles can be Filipino!

Boba Silog has opened in north Fresno, offering Filipino fusion, including baby back ribs, boba drinks, and unique waffles all day long.
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Boba Silog has opened in north Fresno, offering Filipino fusion, including baby back ribs, boba drinks, and unique waffles all day long.

Some restaurants open to empty dining rooms and start the long slog of letting diners know they exist.

Others open and are instantly busy.

Boba Silog is the latter.

The little Asian fusion restaurant serving boba tea and Filipino cuisine at Champlain and Perrin is attracting a combination of curious customers and people happy to finally have a Filipino restaurant nearby.

It’s at Champlain Drive and Perrin Avenue, in the same shopping center as Five Restaurant.

The fast, casual restaurant seats 16. Despite rain and little promotion, a line of people waiting to get into the restaurant formed when it opened quietly a few weekends ago, said Jacque Abesamis, who runs the restaurant with her sister Liberty Abesamis. It’s been busy ever since.

There’s a lot going on with the menu here, so let’s start with the basics: This is a Filipino breakfast restaurant that serves hearty breakfast all day. A typical breakfast is garlic fried rice, two fried eggs and a protein, like strips of sirloin, though the restaurant also serves creative waffles.

Adobosilog, baby back ribs with egg and garlic fried rice, served at Boba Silog, a new Filipino-fusion restaurant at Champlain and Perrin in Fresno Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. Boba Silog offers unique waffles and other items including pork adobo tacos with egg. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA

The name of this restaurant is a combination of sinangag (garlic fried rice) and itlog (egg), mashed together to form silog. You can get the dish with a variety of meat: sliced beef, pork ribs, chicken, corned beef, tuna, fried fish, lumpia (a fried Filipino egg roll) – even Spam.

“I love the adobosilog (pork ribs) and my kids love the Spam,” said owner Jacque Abesamis.

If you’re not sure what to get, the “chixsilog” served with five chicken wings is always a safe bet.

There are also waffles on the menu. The ube waffles, for example, are made with ube, a purple root vegetables.

The green waffle, served with coconut strips and red mung beans, is buko pandan. It’s inspired by a Filipino dessert (that’s the buko) and made with pandan, a green plant sometimes called the vanilla of southeast Asia.

There’s also chicken and waffles on the menu, along with french fries.

Part of Boba Silog’s appeal is that there aren’t a lot Filipino restaurants around Fresno. There’s Jowli’s Filipino Cuisine at Cedar and Herndon avenues, Tapsi downtown and food trucks NayNay’s Filipino Flavors and Balisong BBQ.

But Boba Silog is also a boba place. Boba is not Filipino, but was born in Taiwan. It’s the tea served with chewy balls of tapioca sucked through extra-big straws.

It’s got free Wi-Fi and a full drink menu. That includes coffee and espresso-based drinks, milk tea in flavors like rose and taro, and smoothies. Some drinks are more like milkshakes, like the buko shake made with coconut blended with milk and deep-fried brown sugar.

Abesamis realizes her restaurant is an eclectic mix of flavors (there’s even tacos on the menu, adobo/Filipino style). But it seems to be working out.

“Maybe it’s fine to have everything together,” she said. “We cater to everyone. That’s why we call it Asian fusion.”

Boba Silog is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, closed on Tuesdays, and from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.